Horrifying Fashion Trends

Just for fun, I decided to look up Spring/Summer 2009 fashion trends. I have precious little money to spend on summer clothes, so if I buy something I'd like to research some of the styles this year so that I can make the most of my purchase.

So I Googled Spring/Summer 2009 fashion trends and I've decided that fashion websites confuse me. I click on a link that looks like it will be an article, and there are either no pictures in the article, or no words, or it really doesn't qualify as an article at all.

I came upon this one website and clicked on one of the articles on trends for this summer. Turns out the article was about how (supposedly) trends are leaning toward sheer fabrics this summer. If you're a modesty-conscious Christian (or any normal person, for that matter) like me you're probably thinking of some cute little ruffled top in sheer fabric with a solid tank top or some such thing under it, right?

Wrong! The article included pictures from some runway show in Paris, and the models were wearing entirely sheer dresses. And I'm not talking about sheer with strategically placed embroidery or embellishments. I'm talking sheer, as in you can see all the way to France, as in they might as well walk down the street naked rather than bother to put anything on.

I'm serious people. You could see everything. There are always those immodest dresses and clothes that tend to be the norm in those fashion circles, but I've never seen anything this blatant. I'm not going to give you the link, because it's totally inappropriate.

If I start seeing girls walking around like that this summer, my husband and I are not leaving the house, or at least not leaving our mountains - people up here at least have enough sense not to expose themselves like that. Either that or maybe if I see girls wearing that I'll just report them to the police for indecent exposure. Our husbands and someday sons should be able to be in a public place without seeing naked bodies, and it really infuriates me that the fashion industry thinks they can go that far in the name of "style".

Just more proof of how far our world has fallen. I don't know about you, but this makes me even more impatient to get out of here, however the Lord decides to take me. (Please come for us soon, Lord.)


For Christmas Derek and I got the movie "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed!". Derek and I saw this movie when it was in the theaters and it was so good that I decided to buy it when it came out on DVD, so I bought it for one of our Christmas presents to ourselves! We haven't really had a good oppurtunity to watch it together until tonight. It was just as good the second time around.

This movie inspires me, and makes me want to stand up for my views, and help with breaking down that "wall" in academia which is discussed in the movie (you know, the one that stands between the acceptable "scientific" theory of evolution, and non-acceptable but still valid alternative theories, such as intelligent design). Re-watching this movie reminded me of a review I wrote after we saw it in the theaters the first time; however, for some reason it never got posted on here. So I thought I would post it now. For those of you who have never seen "Expelled", I think it's definitely worth your time; certainly on my "must-see" list.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I saw the movie "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed!" with Ben Stein last night, and it was excellent! If you care about preserving our freedom of speech and academics in America (which any of you who are Americans should care about), then you should really see this movie!

I thought the documentary did an excellent job of bringing to the viewer's attention some of the inadequacies of the theory of evolution and how scientists are being denied the right of expressing their doubts or exploring any alternative views (specifically intelligent design) for fear of losing their jobs. The suppression of these scientists is only hurting America and those of us who live here, because brilliant scientists are being prevented from performing their research or teaching at our universities, simply because some evolutionists are afraid of a little competition for their theory. However, competition is the catalyst of progress, which is being stunted right now because many brilliant scientists are being prevented from exploring certain scientific possibilities.

This film also touched on the connection between Hitler's atrocities and Darwinism, and included interviews with many evolutionists who pathetically insisted that intelligent design is not compatible with science, one evolutionist even complaining that the theory of intelligent design is just so "boring". These objections are, of course, just excuses to keep theories other than evolution out of the academic system; once again, inhibiting our freedom of speech. Freedom is what our country was based on, and is what makes our country great, and if we care at all about preserving that freedom we need to preserve it at every level, including academic and scientific freedom; this is why this film should be supported.

I'll close my review of "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed!" by sharing a moment in the film which (to me) was one of the most inspiring. At the end of the interview with Richard Dawkins (a devout atheist), Dawkins stated, in response to one of Ben Stein's questions, that if he were to "run into God" after he died that he would ask Him why He took such pains to hide Himself. Ben Stein's narration then continued to explain that intelligent design scientists do not think that God is hidden, but rather think that we may actually be able to encounter God through science: and what could be more intriguing than that?

The above image is from the "Expelled!" website.

Rewards For Obedience

I finished the book "Love and Respect" by Emerson Eggerichs today. In case you didn't read my last couple of posts, there are three cycles discussed in the book: the first was the Crazy Cycle, the second was the Energizing Cycle. If you missed these posts, please check them out, because this post is building on those previous posts! The final cycle discussed was the Rewarded Cycle.

When I started this section I thought it was going to re-visit the idea that if the husband loves the wife it makes her want to respect him more and he is rewarded through that, and if the wife respects her husband he'll want to love her more and she'll be rewarded through that. But I was wrong. This chapter was not about what happens when a husband and wife are both loving and respecting each other and the related rewards - it talked about the rewards a husband or wife will receive if they love or respect the other and are not getting a positive response from their spouse.

Part of the chapter encouraged you to hang in there and keep respecting your husband, because it was likely that your husband is experiencing changes internally where you just can't see them yet. But the main point was that even if your husband never shows love to you, if you continue to respect him you are doing what the Lord has told you to do. You are acting in obedience to God, and you will be rewarded in different ways for that.

By obeying the Lord in this (and in any commandment of God's), you are storing up rewards for yourself in heaven. Respecting your husband or loving your wife should not be done solely in order to produce a change of behaviour or an improvement in the marriage, but our sole motivation should be to obey the Lord. And the Lord has commanded us to do this. If we focus on pleasing the Lord it will help us to respond in a proper way to our spouses, even when they are not responding in a proper way to us. And if we do it unto the Lord, He will reward us for our faithfulness someday.

The second reward is in providing a good example to your children by acting in a godly manner toward your spouse. They learn from the way you behave toward your spouse, and if you can behave in a godly way it doesn't matter what your spouse does - your children will see the way you do what is right, and they will remember you well for it and try to do the same thing in their lives. Obeying God in this is a way to leave a legacy.

And the final way to be rewarded is in eventually winning over your spouse through your obedience to God - this is the reward that was discussed previously.

I thought this section was a good reminder that it doesn't matter what others do - we are called to act in obedience to God in every area of our life, not because we'll get anything out of it, but because it will please the Lord. And that is the most important reason to work on respecting our husbands (or loving your wives).

I really enjoyed this book, and through reading it I have learned alot of ways that I can try to improve my marriage, even though I've only been married eight months! As I was reading the book I was remembering alot of my arguments with Derek so far - and I realized most of our arguments started because of a lack of love or respect. And I will admit, I think i's mostly been a lack of respect on my part - if I had reacted in a more respectful way, the argument probably wouldn't have escalated, or may not even have happened at all.

The only way I can improve in this is with the Lord's help, and I'm counting on Him to help me in this area!

Once again, if you are married or hope to be married one day, I highly recommend this book! Go buy or rent it from the library ASAP! I think it's important to learn as much as you can about how to have a good marriage while it's still early on in our marriages - it will help us to prepare for a lifetime of married bliss, and make a happy marriage much more likely, not only now but for years in the future.

Quotable Quotes of the Week

My goodness, Theodore Roosevelt said so many true things! But I had to pick, so here are a few quotes from that great president.

"Never throughout history has a man who lived a life of ease left a name worth remembering."
-Theodore Roosevelt

"The unforgivable crime is soft hitting. Do not hit at all if it can be avoided; but never hit softly."
-Theodore Roosevelt

"Old age is like everything else. To make a success of it, you've got to start young."

-Theodore Roosevelt

Wordless Wednesday

Columbo, Video Games, and My Odd-One-Out Evening

Well, I got kicked out of the living room tonight. No, that's not entirely true - I went of my own free will.

Have you ever been the only girl in a house with three guys? Who are playing video games? Let me tell you, you start to feel a little bit like the odd one out. I started realizing that my being present was insignificant when I spoke probably three sentences to them and none of them answered me. When I asked if they had heard me, they hadn't. So I decided to leave my husband (white shirt), my brother (jean jacket), and my brother's friend Brad (red sweatshirt), to play their video games in peace.

It's times like this that I wished I had a girlfriend nearby to come rescue me from my boring evening. But no one is nearby or available, so my Blogging Buddies, I write to you! I know you will at least be able to show me some pity.

For the record, before the guys got here my husband did feel bad about hanging out with the guys while I was home, but I told him it was okay. So I'm in this by my own choice.

I did have a lovely day at work today. While part of me always secretly wishes that my last patient won't show so that I can get home early, I must say that having a full day of work in my own office today was very satisfying!

For those of you who may not have realized, I got the job that I was applying for a while back! I'm so happy about it - I know it was all the Lord's doing. He's really taking care of us! Please keep praying that Derek will get another job. He doesn't really want to stay in this job, and he wants to get back in his field. Thank you, Friends! I know your prayers do a ton of good - you were all praying for me to get this job, and I got it didn't I? They do make a difference. But I know the Lord will bring Derek another job in His time.

As I write I am listening to the guys yelling about how in the world someone's character lived! It's rather fun to listen to when you can't see the TV.

Well, the evening is stretching ahead of me, and this is what I have to occupy me!

My lovely laptop in which I can at least communicate with the outside world.

Season Two of Columbo! I love that show. If you've never watched an episode you should come over to my house and watch one with me!

The "Love and respect" book that I'm almost finished with (and I'll write that last post on the book ASAP).

And a lovely bowl of cereal, with berries and honey no less!

I might have to grab a cup of tea in a little while too. That is if I can brave walking through the war zone! I hope all you ladies are having a wonderful evening. I intend to make the most of my time tonight, and I'm looking forward to an evening with Derek tomorrow!

C.H.A.I.R.S. - Advice For Wives

The next cycle in the book I'm reading ("Love and Respect" by Emerson Eggerichs) is called the "Energizing Cycle". The firt cycle, if you'll remember, was the "Crazy Cycle" - please see my previous post on the Crazy Cycle.

The Energizing Cycle can start with just one spouse following the command in the Bible to either love their wife or respect their husband. If one person in the relationship does this then it's more likely to bring about a loving or respectful reaction from the other spouse. The book calls it the energizing cycle because it says if the wife is respecting her husband it "energizes" him to treat her in a more loving way, or if the husband is loving his wife it will "energize" her to react in a more respectful way.

What I liked about this chapter is that it actually gave practical advice to husbands and wives on how to get on the Energizing Cycle in the form of acronyms. I kind of skipped through the section for husbands on loving their wives (though I may go back through and actually read it), but I was more interested in reading the chapters written for wives on how to respect their husbands.

The acronym for wives is C.H.A.I.R.S.

The "C" stands for Conquest, because a man is wired to work and achieve. We ladies aren't wired exactly the same way, but this chapter talked about how a man's job is very important to him. Derek once made a comment to me about how he wouldn't understand it if we didn't have any kids and I didn't want to work at all. At the time I felt a little unsupported - I'm the type that I would want to work just to have something to do, but I wanted his hypothetical support if I would someday decide that I didn't want to work. He kept saying that he would support me, but he wouldn't understand it. Looking back on that discussion of ours I realize perhaps why he wouldn't understand that. Working and achieving and "conquering" are so tied into who men are at their core, that I'm understanding a little better why he would have a hard time with me not wanting to work (if we have no kids at home - he totally understands me not wanting to work when we have kids).

The chapter also emphasized how crushing it is to a man if you even indirectly belittle his work. And it gave practical advice about how to be supportive - I can't tell you everything though, you'll just have to read the book yourself.

The "H" stands for heirarchy and it discussed how we women need to appreciate our men's desire to protect and provide for us. Men are called to be the "head" in the relationship. That doesn't sit well with the feminist idea of the world we see most today, but it's what the Bible teaches. One line that I appreciated in this chapter was "The problem many women have today - including Christian wives - is that they want to be treated like a princess, but deep down they resist treating their husbands like the king." And apparently one does follow the other - when we treat our husbands with the respect they deserve as the head of our households, they are more likely to respnd by treating us like princesses. And what wife doesn't want that?

The "A" stands for authority. This chapter also talks about how a man is to be the leader of his household and serve his family by leading them. We women need to respect their authority - there needs to be a distinct leader within any organization, and according to God's Word, in the family the husband is it. We women are called "to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored." (Titus 2:5).

"I" stands for insight, and this chapter talks about how our husbands desire to help us by analyzing and giving us counsel. And we need to be willing to take their advice to heart - they look at the world from a different perspective, and they often react to situations in a less emotional way. They are able to give us wise advice from a man's perspective, and we would be wise to heed their advice, and not belittle their thoughts or counsel. Once again, this is easy to do inadvertantly, so we wives need to constantly be on our guard and look at how something will come across to our husbands from their point of view.

The "R" is for relationship. This chapter talks about how men and women are different in ow they form meaningful relationships. Women like to talk and discuss what they think about this and that, and talking makes us feel closer to our friends. But men are different - they don't form bonds through talking so much as through shared experiences.

Has your husband ever asked you to just sit with him and not talk? This is a question the book addresses, and at first I didn't think Derek had ever wanted me to just sit there with him. But then as I thought about it I realized that he did once suggest that I come downstairs and watch him work on the desk he's making me. But I didn't really want to because there were other things I wanted to do. I realized that when Derek suggested that he wanted to build that "shoulder to shoulder" friendship with me.

The book talked about how your husband will feel closer to you if you have some "shoulder to shoulder" time without talking. I decided to test this concept, so I tried it yesterday and here's what happened.

Derek had gone outside to chop some firewood for us. I let him be out there for a couple minutes alone, then I grabbed a chair and took it outside. I plopped the chair down close to where he was chopping and sat on it. Derek smiled at me and asked if I was coming out to read, and I said "Yep, and to watch you." He joked about being nervous at being critiqued, and I told him I wasn't going to critique him, I just wanted to watch.
He proceeded chopping wood, occasionally grinning at me - I smiled back. You have no idea how many times I wanted to say something, or comment, or ask a question, but I exhibited amazing self-control and kept my lips sealed. After about ten minutes he looked at me and said "Are you sure you aren't bored just watching me?" I said no, because I really wasn't. He grinned and said "Well, good. I would just think it would be boring." He chopped for a couple more minutes, then set his ax down and walked over to where I was sitting. Without a word he bent down and kissed me. Then he went back to work for a few more minutes, then turned and grinned again and said "well, I'm glad you like watching me." I nodded and smiled, saying as little as possible (it was so hard). He came over and gave me another kiss a few minutes later. After a while he said he needed a break and came over to sit next to me. Then he just started talking about how we should go to the museum (he knows I love the museum, even though he isn't as crazy about it) or at least we should go out to my favorite restaurant for dinner and a movie!

I could really tell that Derek just really enjoyed having me sit there and watch him, and just be with him. Not only did my watching him fulfill that shoulder to shoulder friendship need, but I think it also showed him that I still admire him, and I'm interested in what he's doing. That's a big part of showing him respect - and it resulted in him showing me love by suggesting we go on a date!

Finally the "S" stands for sexuality. I never thought this would come up in a post (my cheeks are turning red as I type)! This chapter talked about how we wives need to appreciate our husband's desire for sexual intimacy and not withhold that blessing from them because we're just "not in the mood" or whatever other excuses come up. I never really had a problem in this area, at least not so far, because my mom advised me before we were married that it was important to fulfill that need of your husband's. If they want to, do it with a cheerful attitude (even if you're tired), and they will often respond by showing love to you. Being the wise daughter that I am, I took my mother's advice, and I've found that she was right!

Like I said, I didn't really read the acronym for the husbands, but I'm sure if I go back to it later there will be many pieces of wisdom there too. But as I'm lady, and I'm writing this series of posts to all you ladies out there, I'm just going to cover what we women need to focus on mostly.

The next post will be on the last cycle it discusses in the book. I was tempted just to do posts on the first two cycles, but when I read the first part of the last section it said the third cycle was very important, so I figured I better not skip it! I'll read the rest of the book and report back as soon as I can!

Cartoon Me

I found this website on another girl's blog and just had to try it out! This is how I would look as a cartoon! I did one of Derek and me together too. The website is www.designhergals.com. You should all make one of yourselves and post it on your blogs too, so I can see!

The next "Love and Respect" post is coming soon, so check back! I'm off to the movies with Derek for the rest of the day, but I just had to post this today for fun!

Please, Stop the Craziness! (To Be Continued . . .)

It has been quite a week. I feel like I've had hardly any time at home the last few days, and I'm so glad I don't work this much regularly. I'm telling you, dental hygiene is a difficult job, because your entire day is crazy - there are no slow moments. That can be a good thing, but sometimes those slow moments can be nice; so don't take them for granted!

Lately I've ben reading a book called "Love and Respect" by Emerson Eggerichs. It's a marriage book that Derek and I got for our wedding. I'm sure you've heard of it! If you are married and haven't read it, you should go buy it and read it ASAP.

I'm still in the middle of the book, but I've learned alot from it. The basic premise of the book is that a man's basic need in the marriage is to be respected, and a woman's basic need in the marriage is to feel love. It seems so simple, right? Before I read the book I had heard that men value respect over love, and I tried to show my husband respect, but I wasn't really sure how that works in a marriage, besides obviously trying to respect and love each other.

The book breaks it down very nicely.

I think I'm going to do three posts within the next few days on the three "cycles" that married couples go through, according to the book. I'm doing it this way mainly because I haven't read about the last cycle yet, and I don't have time over my lunch break here to read the rest of the book and post. So the first cycle is aptly named:

The Crazy Cycle

Basically the crazy cycle is when things are going crazy in the marriage. He doesn't feel respect which is what he wants most - he knows his wife loves him, but he needs to know that she respects him. Likesise she's not feeling as if her husband really loves her. The clincher in this section is how they explain that the wife feeling unloved and the husband feeling disrespected are interconnected. If the husband isn't feeling respect from his wife, he'll shut down and not talk, or perhaps yell, or react in any number of unloving ways. The wife feels unloved, which in turn may cause her to criticize her husband, perhaps yell, nag, or react in other disrespectful ways, which makes the husband feel even more disrespected. And round and round it goes!

The first part of the book may feel like the author is coming down hard on us women, but try to look past that. I don't think that's what he's trying to do, I think he's just trying to emphasize how almost every marriage talk you hear focuses on how you need to love each other more and in better ways, etc. Let's face it, these messages are mostly for men - we women may not always act in loving ways, but we are wired that way, so it comes easier to us. But there are not very many messages out there about wives showing respect to their husbands - and I think the author is trying to establish that this lack in instruction for us in this area is a major reason why marriages today have gone crazy and are breaking up all over the place. He'll make you feel guilty, but I don't think he's trying to, so bear through this because the book gets better.
As I read, to my astonishment I realized that Derek and I have already had a few revolutions on the Crazy Cycle! What, I thought, shouldn't newlyweds be exempt? It should take at least five years to get to the craziness, right? Ah, wrong! In the process of living with our husband for a few months, we wives realize that our husbands are not perfect. They leave toothpaste in the sink. They don't wipe their dishes off before putting them in the dishwasher. They unwittingly leave the house a mess. And what do we do? We ask them to please clean this, put that away, etc. At least that's what I did. I thought I asked very nicely, but I recently realized I was pointing out the things that he wasn't doing too much, and Derek was starting to feel disrespected, because I wasn't appreciating the things he was doing (and he does alot for me! I don't deserve that man).

That was just for every day life - our arguments were a completely different story. When we were in the middle of an argument I realized some of the things I had been saying - and as I tried to look at them from Derek's point of view, I realized how disrespectful that sounded. Sure, I was feeling unloved, but did that give me the right to disobey God's word and react in a way that showed disrespect for my husband? Here is where the guilt from the book comes in.

Yes, I guess it is possible to be in the Crazy Cycle this early in our marriage. We had one week that we argued practically every time we were together, and I started to realize just how much of that was my own fault (I can get rather self-righteous during an argument - does anyone else out there struggle with that?). Because of my sporadic reading of this book I was trying to show him more respect in ways that made sense to me - like sending him notes telling him why I respected him. It was a good idea, a good start, but I needed to not just say "I respect you". I needed to show it in my everyday manner, and especially in our arguments. Ah, the epiphany! I've been trying, but it ain't easy.

So I've been reading this book more lately. Thankfully the next section gave solid advice on which areas Derek needed to feel respected in, and how I can do that! Thank goodness, there was finally a solution!! I'll cover that in my next post.

"Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband."
-Ephesians 5:33 (NASB)

Wordless Wednesday

By The Things That Are Made

I recently read the book “Case For A Creator” by Lee Strobel. I tend to be a science geek anyway, so this book was very interesting to me. Our God's imagination and power just amaze me, and studying science has always reminded me of that. This book allowed me to read about many more ways that our God has shown just how amazing He is through His creation. It consisted mostly of interviews with various scientists who are experts in their given fields and who are inclined to lean toward intelligent design as a viable theory of how the world originated.
Reading this book put me in my “science geek” mode, and inspired this post. These are some interesting quotes that I found not only in the book but through my own searches as well, and I’ve compiled them according to basic topic for you here. Please take time to read through them – these kinds of quotes are always encouraging and inspiring to me, and I hope they are to you as well.

“Exquisite Order”

“It is hard to resist the impression that the present structure of the universe, apparently so sensitive to minor alterations in numbers, has been rather carefully thought out . . . The seemingly miraculous concurrence of these numerical values must remain the most compelling evidence for cosmic design.”
- Paul Davies, Physicist

“The exquisite order displayed by our scientific understanding of the physical world calls for the divine.”
- Vera Kistiakowski, Physicist

“Through my scientific work I have come to believe more and more strongly that the physical universe is put together with an ingenuity so astonishing that I cannot accept it merely as brute fact . . . I cannot believe that our existence in this universe is a mere quirk of fate, an accident of history, an incidental blip in the great cosmic drama.”
- Paul Davies, Physicist

“A commonsense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature.”
-Sir Fred Hoyle

“Created For Man to Live In”

“Would it not be strange it a universe without purpose accidentally created humans who are so obsessed with purpose?”
-Sir John Templeton

“All the seemingly arbitrary and unrelated constants in physics have one strange thing in common – these are precisely the values you need if you want to have a universe capable of producing life.”
-Patrick Glynn

“If the universe had not been made with the most exacting precision we could never have come into existence. It is my view that these circumstances indicate that universe was created for man to live in.”
-John A. O’Keefe, Astrophysicist, NASA

Designed To Do Science

“What intrigued me was that the very time and place where perfect solar eclipses appear in our universe also corresponds to the one time and place where that are observers to see them . . .What’s more, perfect solar eclipses have resulted in important scientific discoveries that would have been difficult if not impossible elsewhere, where eclipses don’t happen.”
-Guillermo Gonzales, PHD

“Our main point is that there’s no obvious reason to assume that the very same rare properties that allow for our existence would also provide the best overall setting to make discoveries about the world around us. In fact, we believe that the conditions for making scientific discoveries on earth are so fine-tuned that you would need a great amount of faith to attribute them to mere chance.”
-Jay Wesley Richards, PHD

“One purpose for which we were designed is to do science itself.”
-Lee Strobel in Case For A Creator

Fanaticism of Evolutionists

“It has been my experience . . . that the ones who oppose the theory of design most vociferously do so for religious reasons.”
-Michael Behe, Biochemist

“Scientists propose hypotheses all the time. No big deal. But if I say ‘I don’t think natural selection is the driving force for the development of life; I think it was intelligent design,’ people don’t just disagree; many of them jump up and down and get red in the face. When you talk to them about it, invariably they’re not excited because they disagree with the science; it’s because they see the extra-scientific implications of intelligent design and they don’t like where it’s leading.”
-Michael Behe, Biochemist

"I wish I were younger. What inclines me now to think you may be right in regarding [evolution] as the central and radical lie in the whole web of falsehood that now governs our lives is not so much your arguments against it as the fanatical and twisted attitudes of its defenders."
-C.S. Lewis

A Sure Path to God

“It may seem bizarre, but in my opinion science offers a surer path to God than religion.”
-Paul Davies, Physicist

“Only a rookie who knows nothing about science would say science takes away from faith. If you really study science, it will bring you closer to God.”
-James Tour, Nanoscientist

“Nothing we learn about the universe threatens our faith. It only enriches it.”
-George Coyne, Astrophysicist

"...as I became exposed to the law and order of the universe, I was literally humbled by its unerring perfection. I became convinced that there must be a divine intent behind it all... My experiences with science led me to God. They challenge science to prove the existence of God. But must we really light a candle to see the sun?"
-Wernher von Braun.

"Nature is too thin a screen; the glory of the omnipresent God bursts through everywhere." -Ralph Waldo Emerson.

“Beyond Those Stars”

“Many have found that the awesome sight of the star-studded heavens evoke a sense of wonder, and awareness of transcendence, that is charged with spiritual significance. Yet the distant shimmering of stars does not itself create this sense of longing; it merely exposes what’s already there. They are catalysts for our spiritual insights, revealing our emptiness and compelling us to ask whether and how this void can be filled.
Might our true origins and destiny somehow lie beyond those stars? Might there not be a homeland, from which we are presently exiled and to which we secretly long to return? Might not our accumulation of discontentment and disillusionment with our present existence be a pointer to another land where our true destiny lies and which is able to make its presence felt now in this haunting way?
Suppose that this is not where we are meant to be but that a better land is at hand? We don’t belong here. We have somehow lost our way. Would not this make our present existence both strange and splendid? Strange, because it is not where our true destiny lies; splendid, because it points ahead to where that real hope might be found. The beauty of the night skies or a glorious sunset are important pointers to the origins and ultimate fulfillment of our heart’s deepest desires. But if we mistake the signpost for what is signposted, we will attach all our hopes and longing to lesser goals, which cannot finally quench our thirst for meaning.”
-Allister McGrath

"For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse . . ."
-Romans 1:20

Just Lovin' On My Dogs

A few weeks ago my sister and I had a girl's night and paid a visit to our local dollar theater. We just call it the dollar theater - you really have to pay three dollars and fifty cents to get in. We decided to see "Marley and Me".

I wasn't sure how the movie would be going into it, but I actually found it rather enjoyable. There were a few parts that we could have done without, but it made my sister and I laugh several times. I must warn you though, this review is a bit of a spoiler, and the movie isn't really a kid movie - so don't take your little cousins or nieces and nephews to see it. However, it was an enjoyable movie, and worthy of mention on my blog.

The movie is about a couple who gets married, and the husband decides to buy his wife a dog for her birthday, in hopes of pushing off having kids for a while. They get a "clearance puppy" at a discounted price from the breeder. They quickly realize that he isn't the easiest dog to work with, and label him "the worst dog in the world". Eventually the couple has children and move into different houses; all the while Marley is there, adding stress and laughter to their lives together.

Near the end of the movie you start to see the signs that Marley is getting older; he doesn't run as often as we used to, he struggles up the stairs. I wanted to cry as we neared the point where the family must put Marley to sleep - the husband assures Marley before he dies that even though they always called him the worst dog in the world, he's always been there and he's been a great dog. My eyes teared up when Marley finally slipped away . . .

The reason I decided to post on this movie is because when we saw "Marley and Me" it brought to my mind how much of a blessing our pets really are. Sure, it may not feel like they're much of a blessing when they're having accidents on the floor, or barking while you're trying to take a nap, or waking you up in the middle of the night to be let outside. But I think God gave us dogs as a way to bless us, because dogs are always there to greet you, to cuddle next to you when you've had a hard day, and to make you laugh with their antics. They love you no matter what. I think maybe God knew that sometimes we need a creature that will love us, even when we feel unlovable. It's one of the ways God shows how much He loves us.

I think that maybe the pets you have in these first years of marriage are extra-special too, because they are there through your most significant life changes. We got our dog Ralphie when Derek and I were first engaged. We got Quincy shortly after we were married. They are there during this time when Derek and I are still getting used to being married, through all our firsts as a married couple. They'll probably be there as we have children, and continue to be there as our kids grow and learn to love them too. Their aging will serve as a reminder of all we've been through in our lives together.

It will be a terrible, heartbreaking day when Ralphie or Quincy leaves us. Sometimes I wonder if the heartache that I know will come someday will be worth it. But as I consider this, I realize that yes, it will be. Our dogs add so much richness and joy and comfort to our lives while the Lord allows us to have them - they are a huge blessing. No matter how much stress or frustration or heartache they may cause us, the blessing outweighs it all, and "Marley and Me" was a good reminder to just love on your dogs and enjoy every minute with them that you can.

My Most Awkward Stage - For the World to See

Did any of you have an awkward stage? You know, that awful stage between being a child and a teenager, when your body starts throwing you all sorts of curveballs? I sure did - from age twelve to about fourteen and a half.

Tap into those great imaginations of yours as I describe to you myself as an adolescent. I was always a fairly pretty child - not the most beautiful girl perhaps, but I wasn't half bad. At least according to the pictures I see of myself up to the age of eleven - until that time I was also completely unconcerned with my appearance. I don't particularly remember ever brushing my hair in those early years, though I'm sure my mom made me. I had my favorite clothes that I thought I looked better in, but other than that I wasn't too worried about keeping up with the other kids.

Then I hit the terrible year that I turned twelve. I think my mind must have sub-conciously filed away the fact that puberty starts around the age of twelve, because it threw everything at me at once! At the time I decided that my body had decided to fall apart that year.

Suddenly everyone was noticing that I was holding my book closer to my face than usual - and you know what that means! That's right, my eyes suddenly decided to go bad! Awful, is it not? A kid's worse nightmare - glasses. But thankfully my parents bought me contacts so no one had to see me in them except my family.

If that little change wasn't tramatic enough, my hair suddenly started behaving very strangely. I had straight hair as a kid, mind you. When I turned twelve it suddenly turned frizzy. Since then it has gotten a more defined curl to it, but from twelve to fourteen it didn't curl - it just frizzed. Hairdressers always used to think they could make it smooth and pretty with a blow dryer; but ah, I knew better. If I used a blow dryer on it, I looked like I was from the 1980s. At that time I comforted myself by thinking that if I had grown up in that decade, my hair would have been the envy of everyone.

And then of course, the lovley braces. It couldn't be avoided because I had a pretty bad overbite, but goodness, it just had to happen the same year as all these other bodily changes! I actually wanted the braces though - I was excited to see how I would look when I had straight teeth. But notice that the awkward phase of my life didn't end until I had them removed at fourteen.

All this combined with the fact that I've always been tall, and at that point in my life I was taller than most boys my age - now, don't you all feel sorry for me?

Got a good mental picture now? Good. I'm sure I must have you all beat, because I think my awkward stage was somewhat worse than anyone else I've met. My sister claims she had an awkward stage, but I must have missed it, because she was only awkward in the sense that she had to go through puberty like everyone else. She was very graceful about it - I on the other hand was very obviously awkward. If you think you can beat my awkwardness, please share!

The reason I'm talking about this is because occasionally I participate in a weekly meme (what does meme mean, anyway?) at Cafe Chat (please see the button in the side bar). And this week the topic is insecurity. We're supposed to share our most insecure moments, and why we felt insecure.

I suppose this could be a big, deep topic for some, but for me it's rather light. Although I felt very uncomfortble and awkward in my skin, maybe a little insecure about my appearance, I've never really felt a terrible insecurity in who I am as a person - I grew up in a Christian home, and I think the Lord always just blessed me with a sense of who I am as His child. I've always been a Christian girl, just trying to do my best to please Him, and that gave me a security through my most difficult times. Even when I was the most awkward girl I knew.

Don't worry, there's a happy ending! At about fourteen, I got the braces off, my hair actually started to curl and was actually cute, and all those boys started getting taller than me. On top of that, I developed a fashion sense and got to wear makeup. Yep, I started to look halfway decent.

When I was twelve, I used to imagine how beautiful I would be when I was sixteen and twenty, and now that I've been sixteen and twenty, I realize I made it. The awkwardness was only for a season, and I think I always knew it would be. I knew the Lord was there for me when I was just a child, He was there for me through that uncomfortable season, and He would be there for me when I got out of it too. And even though I had every reason to feel insecure, knowing who I was in the Lord, and that He would always be there for me, gave me a great sense of security and self-worth - even with frizzy hair, awkward limbs, and braces!

This is me with my younger brother and sister, posing with the Sheriff of Nottingham at Disney World. I believe I was seven here. Lucky for me my mom picked out great clothes for me!

This is me on my thirteenth birthday with my friend Catie. I'm the one on the right. I think even though I don't look very good, I think I still look pretty secure in myself. Or even if you can't see that from the picture, you can take my word that I was on the inside.

And this is me with my husband Derek On Thanksgiving. I think I turned out rather well - I escaped that awkward stage! Yay!

Conflict In Marriage - Don't Worry It's Normal

Derek and I have our disagreements; I am secure enough in our relationship to admit this. I would say we are still in the honeymoon stage of our marriage in some respects, but in others we are slowly working our way out of that stage. A marriage must eventually leave the honeymoon phase just in the natural course of growth, and with that sometimes comes conflict (well, not sometimes; I would say almost always). I think there are probably those newly married couples out there who will say that they have never had an argument or disagreement. Pardon me for being frank, but I think if they truly have never had an argument, then they are either still in their honeymoon phase or one or the other of them must be playing the doormat.

It doesn't matter if your living with your immediate family, your husband, a roommate - when two human being are coexisting in the same house there are going to be annoyances. Whether they choose to adress those problems is up to them, but if they are truly honest with themselves they will admit that they do not always have warm fuzzy feelings toward those with whom they share a house. Human beings are innately sinful and selfish, and no matter how hard you try you won't find someone who does everything exactly the way you like it.

And you know what, I think that's okay. Surely we should try to minimize conflict, and ignore the little things, but when a significant concern presents itself it should be addressed; in fact, I would say that to not address it would be unhealthy for the marriage.

I like the way my pastor says it; "The depth of any relationship is not determined by the abscence of conflict, but by the level of conflict you are willing to journey through together." It's okay to have conflict within a marriage - just because there is conflict does not mean that you don't have a good marriage, or that your marriage is falling apart. I know even in the midst of the worst argument that my marriage is secure, because Derek and I are willing to do whatever it takes to work it out and journey through that conflict together - and in the end it makes our marriage stronger, and we are closer as a couple because we understand each other better.

As with so many things, if there is no struggle there is no growth or strength - but if you can make it through the struggles together, your relationship will be stronger and deeper than it could ever be if there was no difficulties at all.

Wordless Wednesday

Working Interview Round Two - Prayer Request!

I have another working interview tomorrow for the same office I interviewed with last week. Derek says a second working interview is a good sign. I hope so! Please be praying for me tomorrow from 10-7. I really want this job. Thanks guys! I'm working on another post soon, check back!

Quotable Quotes Of The Week

I decided to start posting some quotes each week that mean something to me. Here is the first installment.

My God! How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy!
~Thomas Jefferson

Where liberty dwells, there is my country.
~Benjamin Franklin

Why Haven't I Heard About this Until Now?

I was driving home from my six month dental cleaning and grocery shopping this afternoon, and I turned the radio to my favorite talk show host Rush Limbaugh. I'm a Rush baby and I listen to hime whenever I can. However when I changed to the correct station they were on one of those news breaks at the top of the hour. I wasn't really paying much attention to what was being said until I heard something about Obama and embryonic stem cell research.

Yes, that's right people, Obama signed a bill today which removes some of the funding limits on embryonic stem cell research that President Bush instituted and allows more tax-payer money to go toward this. So more of our hard-earned money is going toward killing human babies. What kills me is that I haven't heard about this bill until now. Everyone has been so focused on these ridiculous supposedly "economic stimulus" spending bills, and Obama just snuck this research bill in there while no one was looking. I'm pretty outraged at this! I do not want my taxes going toward something that I don't believe in, that I believe is morally wrong and unnecessary!

I knew there was a reason I was so depressed when Obama got elected. This is how America, and all she stands for, will die; not with a bang or a battle cry or shout. Only some will try to save her or mourn for her, because most won't even realize what has happened until it's too late. No America wil not die by any outside force - she will die by gradual, oh so gradual, internal wounds, as by a cancer that has hated what she has stood for from her foundation. And I don't think it will stop until everything we have loved about our country is eventually gone.

Let's do everything we can to try to save her - my fellow Christians, it is our responsibility as American citizens to try to preserve everything that is decent about our country, fight for all that is right and good and God-given, and save our country from these sneaky, deadly policies. I could do a better job of this myself - staying informed and getting involved. Will you join me?

Trying My Hand At Home Decorating

Here are some of my new decorations! I had a burst of inspiration last week, took some of our unspent wedding money and bought all kinds of cool stuff on Monday, and finally put them in my house today! There are still some bare walls and I haven't done a thing with either of our bedrooms - still working on that - but I'm starting to whip my house into shape! After living here for about seven months (since we got married in July), it's about time I actually did something with it. Here are some of the decorations I've put up so far. It's kind of hard to get a feel from them just from the pictures without seeing them in my house, but it will give you an idea.

I'm so proud of myself on this last one, because I made it all myself! The idea struck me last week - I think it was an idea in an old JC Penny catalog, and it changed in my mind to my own version and suddenly presented itself to me with no sign of its coming. I bought some ribbon and found an aspen tree branch outside, and I took some of these great frames that I bought and put them all together. It looks better on my wall than in the picture, but you can kind of see it there.
I found some stuff that I could hang in my bathroom too. I had a bit of a hard time thinking of stuf for the bathroom, but once I got a starting piece that I liked I tried to work around that.

I put a nice little vase with river rocks and flower stems in it on our coffee table, and I bought "dried naturals" for the wooden bowl. And that's me and Derek in the frame. I got almost everything there at Hobby Lobby, except for the bowl, which I got at Target. Isn't Hobby Lobby great? They have all kinds of great home accents there!

The rest are arrangements on my walls, and they're kind of hard to see, but it turned out rather well. The quilt is on the big wall above the staircase, and Hobby Lobby had this cool three-picture frame and metal crosses that I thought were beautiful, so I just put those around the quilt.

My mom gave me that little iron shelf, and I put a figurine on it and bought some artificial flowers for the vase from the first flowers Derek ever gave me. My sister gave us the figurine for our wedding, because Derek is always picking me up like that, and she remembered I had said I liked it. She has a great memory, because I forgot all about it until I got it for our wedding, and I love it!
I finally have hung some of our wedding pictures on the wall! I've been wanting to for a while, so I'm glad that I finally got around to it. I love dried flowers too, and I found that fun "Love" metal hanging at Hobby Lobby too. If you haven't gone home-decorating shopping at Hobby Lobby before, they have some nice stuff! I already have something else in mind for our room when I start working on the bedrooms.

Anyway, that's some of my decorations, for those of you who haven't been to my house! My grandma is dropping by and I still have to frost some brownies, so until another day!

P.S. For my blogging buddies - if you all have pictures of your residences, I would like to see! I have pictures in my mind according to how I picture your states, but I'm sure my mind-images aren't entirely accurate. *smile*

An Encouraging Bit of News, and Other Updates

Well, I finally have a day at home to put up my new decorations (yay!). I'm about to get started, but I wanted to do a quick post.

Thank you all for praying for my working interview yesterday. I think it went pretty well, but I won't find out if I got the job or not until next week. Please keep praying that I can get the job! It would be really nice to know we can pay the bills each month.

I saw an encouraging bit of news this morning while I was watching The Fox News Channel. Apparently some textbook board down in Texas is discussing how they want evolution to be taught in textbooks, and they are discussing wanting to address the theory's strengths and weaknesses in future textbooks. This is exciting news because if they succeed in this new approach it will probably filter through to the rest of the country - Texas is a big state, and a lot of the textbooks that are made for Texas schools are used across the nation. Textbook companies tend to tailor the books for Texas because the state is a big market.

I thought this was really encouraging! If it's brought to the students' attention that the theory of evolution is not proven or perfect, it will not only improve their minds (because they will be forced to weigh the evidence and make a decision for themselves, rather than just accepting everythng they're taught as fact), but it will encourage them to have open minds when it comes to other theories of origin (like creation)! This is probably a story to keep our eye on, my fellow Creationists!

Wordless Wednesday

Another Busy Week

Well, it's super late at night (at least for me), but I wanted to give you all a quick update. My week is packed with jobs (yes, again) which is a good thing. But on the other hand I don't get very much done when I have weeks like this. The house falls apart, which leaves me with a lot of cleaning and srtaightening up to do when I finally do get a day off (which will hopefully be Friday). But then I also have a bunch of pretty decorations for my house that I want to try to arrange, and I have to take Ralphie to the vet (poor thing - I'll get into that another time). I can't do all that on Friday! Things like that take a lot more time than you would think they would. Why can't I just live in fast-forward for a few hours?
Anyway, I ended up having a job today with the temporary agency, and I'm spending the night at my parents house because Derek is gone at a training for work. Then I have my regular Wednesday job tomorrow, and I have a working interview for practically the whole day on Thursday. I would like to request your prayers! The job is for Mondays and Thursdays, and if I can get this job then it means Derek and I won't have to wonder every month if I'll get enough jobs to pay the bills. We'd know how much income we'd have each month, which would be such a blessing because it would allow us to budget, and pay off bills, and actually be able to have some extra money to save for the first time in almost seven months! Please pray that I won't be nervous or too worn out, and that I'll do a great job with all my patients, and that they'd hire me! It would be such a relief to have enough steady work to pay all the expenses we need to cover, and to not have to rely on the temporary agency from month to month anymore. I work from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM on Thursday.
Thanks guys! Just knowing you all will say a prayer for me makes me feel better already! Maybe if I ever get enough time I'll post some pictures of my house decorations. And I'll keep you posted about Ralphie!
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