Monday, December 31, 2007

End of One Year, Beginning of Another

Okay, so maybe the next year hasn’t "begun" quite yet, but just another three or so hours and it will...

Each New Year’s Eve/Day, I find it hard to grasp that it has been a whole year since the previous December/January. Sometimes I don’t think it has been long enough, and sometimes I think it’s been too long for only one year. This year it’s the latter. I think back to January 1st, 2007 and all that happened that month. And then I look to May, and they seem so much further apart than five months. I look from May to September. . .Only four months? Impossible! Not really, but still, those months seemed so long... And from September until now, I think it’s been so long, but at the same time (unlike the others) I think it was just yesterday.

So, that all equals: 2007 was a full year. Very full.


Want it in a nutshell?
- I fell away from God.
- I got two new siblings.
-I fought change tooth and nail.
-I fell down, and even further down.
-I lost hope.
-I watched friends, saw them at places with God I was not, I saw some reach that place when before they weren’t there... They all affected me greatly and God used some of them to call me back to Him.
-I found new hope.
-More struggles,
-Then I finally started focusing and surrendering to God.
Since then, its been uphill (work) but still up, not down. . .So different.

Nutshell over.
I will now continue to ramble and think, be warned that I like to talk. =)


I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was watching my friends, seeing how they lived. The friends I’m talking about have come from different circles, but they all cling to God. None of them pretend to be perfect, which makes them even better friends, because I know that I don’t have to be perfect either.

Over the summer, at my lowest points, I wonder now what I clung to. I think it was a knowledge that there was more than darkness. That there is light. Also what has been reinforced all my life, as long as I can remember; God is real. And God is good. I didn’t give up believing in Him, I just stopped believing Him. Does that make sense? I knew He was real, but I gave up hope that I could find peace in Him, that I could really make it out of darkness. So, even though I lost hope, I still clung to the things I considered facts. I wasn’t ready to let go of them. And during the time I seemed like I was just about ready to let go of them, to forget that there is light, I received hope. I’m not sure what exactly happened. It was during communion at church, and I found myself assured of God’s presence. At that moment, there’s was no doubt. That kept me going for another month, when some other things turned the tables and helped me start heading back uphill instead of downhill.

Daniel and Camila... I look at them now, I see their smiling faces, I hear about Camila saying (while talking about Mom and Dad) "And they love us!" And I don’t regret. I don’t regret going through the pain, I don’t regret the times they’ve lashed out in anger and hurt me. They were so hurt, they had so much anger built up within them, and they still do. But slowly that has come out, the hurt has begun to heal. They’ve grown more secure, and there’s no way I would want them to go back to their old life. What did they have for them in Colombia? Really, I can only see very dark prospects, I shudder to think of where Camila might have ended up, and Daniel.. He was definitely headed for a bad life, he likes gangster looks, he used to think stealing was cool/fun. I am so glad they have a new life here.

All I can say, is that the more I think of last summer, and then now, the more I am grateful to my Creator. It has been a hard year, for all of my family, but it’s been good. People say "Being in God’s will is the safest place" I would change that to the best place. Safest makes you think of easiest. God’s will isn’t always for the cushy and easy life, I would venture to say that it’s normally not. (Who sacrificed his only son?)


There is so much more to say about this year, but that would take way too much time and space. And besides, this isn’t a diary. ;)



Now next year... I wonder what it will be like? I was introduced to some many new things in 2007, but what does 2008 hold? I pray that I won't forget the things God has taught me this year during the next year.




...



I just thought of another name for this blog entry, "Midnight Confessions" I haven't really talked about this year nearly as much as I did in this entry, and it's almost midnight... By the way, Midnight Confessions is the name of a song, but the song doesn't really fit.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Mixed Langauges

"Hey! No quit my jacket!"

Now, the quit may seem like the give up kind of quit, but it's really pronounced "Kit" and it's a tense of the verb Quitar. Spanish for take off, I believe. It may also mean cut, not positive. But either way, it's used for things like "quitar your shoes" and such. The quote above was Daniel's response when I pulled off my jacket from the chair he was leaning against. He turned around, saw it was my jacket and not his, and apologized. You may not realize it, but that's a big improvement. Used to be you'd never hear a sorry coming from him unless it was forced, or if he was doing something like saying sorry and then bumping into you. (I think he was getting it confused with excuse me...)


What's the point of all that? Simply this, I was observing today how mixed our speech is around here, and how I accept it as normal.


I didn't even blink when he said that, I understood him and didn't think anything of it. It wasn't until later that it dawned on me that unless you know spanish it might have been a little confusing. Daniel and Camila use quit a lot, and also lo. Which means it. So they'll say things like "give me lo" or "throw lo." There's probably other spanish words that they mix into their speech, but none of them come into mind.



So, that's just my little thought of the day. =)

Monday, December 17, 2007

"Further in and further out"

Okay, so I've been told several times by both Julia and Sarah that I need to blog... I've been back online for what, over two weeks now?

I suppose y'all probably want a report on how my time offline went. Or maybe that's just what seems in order. Except, half the reason I haven't blogged yet is because there really isn't anything to say about the time offline. At least, nothing big. But does there always have to be something big for the time to have been good? I don't think so. Yet I'm not even sure saying that the time was good would be true. Well, without some explanation that is.

Okay, enough rambling. (I like to think through things a lot) It was good to be offline. It was wonderful to feel free of the 'need' to get on and coordinate my time so I'm online when my friends are. I had hoped to refocus on God during that time. It didn't work that way. Why? I don't know.

These past two weeks though. . . I don't know exactly how to describe it, but I know that God has been doing something. It's been a rough few weeks, I've felt like I'm fighting something and I didn't know what. Bit by bit, God has been bringing things up, pointing them out, and slowly teaching me that I do know what to do with the knowledge. Ever tried to get away from something with the excuse of "I don't know how"? I sure do it a lot.

I feel like God's been calling me to go further in with Him. (Kind of like in the last book in Narnia... "further in and further out" or something like that) Eric Ludy said life is an endless frontier, I agree. God's been saying "Okay, you got over trying to completely forget about me, now I want you to fall in love with me." I've learned that life without Him is worthless, miserable, and lifeless, now I need to learn what life with Him is like.

Last night, one of my friends asked what I was up to while talking in G-chat. One of the things I listed was "thinking." It was then I realized that I really have been thinking, that there's been a lot that I've been sorting out and trying to decide how to react to. Writing in my journal last night about what I've just said here, I started getting excited. Last time God gave me things to mull over, like now, and I felt the conflict I've been feeling, things changed. And I'm so glad they did. I can smile now and mean it, who knows what's in store next? I want to give in to God's will, because He is so much more capable than I am, and I know that He always has great things in store. Whether or not they're painful doesn't matter. He is so amazing, I want to live for HIS glory.




Now, I will leave you with a poem I wrote last week.

Have You Seen?

Can you see the clouds outside?
Up in the sky they reside.
Casting shadows and filtering sun.
So beautiful and wonderful each one.

What about the night sky?
Stars shining and a meteorite on the fly.
So calm, so peaceful and mysterious.
The bright moon, so imperious.

And the sun on a clear day?
Bringing hope in many a way.
The blue sky so clear,
chasing away each fear.

Have you seen the rain falling?
And as you watched felt a calling,
to go and walk and dance in flurries,
to let it wash away your worries?

And on each amazing day,
do you ever stop and say;
“Thank you, Lord,
for this world.”
?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Break

I'm taking a break from the internet. I won't be online during the month of November. I decided today that I've been spending too much time online, and that it's getting between me and God. So, I won't be posting in here until Decemeber.

Hope you all have a good month, and see all of you in person sooner later :)
-Mary

Sunday, October 28, 2007

God is good.

Yes, that’s been said a lot, but I think it’s worth repeating. God is good.

He came down to earth. He gave up His inconceivable world for our little world.
He loved us, and we rejected Him. We hurt Him, betrayed Him, beat Him, killed Him. Yet He still loved, and He still didn’t turn in anger on us. He didn’t have to save us…

I can’t help but think how truly amazing He is.

The sun during the day, sometimes I stare in wonder at it. The blinding light, it holds something in my heart. The stars at night, aren’t they amazing? They’re God’s handiwork, yet He considers humans to be His most amazing work of all. Holding a small child in my arms, I feel that it’s true that God’s greatest creation is humans, but it humbles me to think of that.

Tell me, who is better than God? Who can compare?

He rescues us from our sin, and He gives us second chance upon second chance. He shows us mercy by forgiving our sins, and He shows us grace by giving us more than we deserve. Yet through it all, He is just, righteous, and awesome.

God is good.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Sewing!

I'm surrounded by sewing. Constantly thinking of it, talking about it, doing it, dreaming about it... And all by my own choice! I'm making a Jedi costume for two, actually three, reasons. First is for next Wednesday, Peter and I will be taking Daniel and Camila to the LeTu halloween thingy. Second is for my nephew's, Conlan's, birthday party with is a costume party. Third is because I like the outfit and know I'll have fun with it in the future. =P And to add to that, I love sewing, which is motivation enough in itself almost.

The costume is a light tan tunic with a broad belt, a dark grey cloak, (which I have dubbed a "Jedi Traveling Cloak" because it's not like the cloaks I normally make) probably pants and boots, and of course, a light-saber.

So I started on Wednesday. At this current point in time I have the cloak and tunic both mostly put together. With the cloak, I need to hem it, (oh, what fun! I'm putting that off because I don't like the complications involved) do the hood, and put on the neck band thing. With tunic, I need to make the belt, (which I'm stalling on because I'm a little confused) maybe add velcro, and maybe do this different hem thing.

Daniel and Camila are both going as Darth Vader! So Mom's been making them each a cloak for that, then they'll wear black, long-sleeved shirts, black pants, and gloves. On the front of the shirts we'll attach some black plastic things with "lights" glued on to mimic his chest piece. Mom's having fun doing that, but I think we may get Camila to do some of her cloak. Daniel got excited this morning and worked on his chest piece, he did a good job. =) I was so relieved that he woke up in a good mood this morning because I've been watching them since about 10am and will probably keep watching them until around 1. Mom is at the ladies' bible study and then she'll go shopping. It's no fun watching a "holy terror", but a little boy that's being really sweet? Now that I enjoy.


I think I am going to take a well-earned break from sewing and read the Return of the King and watch some of Star Wars Episode IV that my siblings are watching.

-Mary

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Poem

Written October 24, A.D. 2007

Driven down bitter roads,
I wish no longer for quiet.
Only for peace in my heart,
For calm inside it.

I know well that yell.
It means Daniel's upset,
And Mom is holding him--
Oh how that noise I regret.

Things they* seem to get over quickly
Fester and kill inside of me
Leaving me hurt for days
Keeping me from who I want to be

"If I raise my hands just to lift the shade,
Will I reveal a sky heavy and gray?
Will last night be a memory sweetly fading?
How I hate a morning starting out this way."**

On this lonely rigid morning,
I can feel the cold descending,
I can feel that weight pressing.
But I'm turning... turning...

Oh Lord of Heaven and of Earth,
A thousand times I fail,
And I don't feel of any worth,
But I know You will avail.

So here I am,
Crying out to You,
Have Your way with me.
I don't care what You do.

You know all my thoughts,
Every worry and each strife,
But they're not important anymore.
All I want is Your life.

Your Peace overflowing--
It makes me want to live.
Your Joy and Hope--
They make me want to give.

So whether a cold wind blows,
Or the sun warmly chooses to shine,
With You through it all,
I know everything will be just fine.


...

*My two younger siblings.
**Beginning of "Hands in the Air" by The Waiting.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

More about Camping

So I said I’d write about the camping trip today, which I will. But I thought I’d start with a question that I came up with Friday night, and talked about Saturday. I was also told it was a “blog question“.

Say there was this place you visited often with a friend, and at the place there was also a cliff that you knew was a long drop and had nothing to stop a fall at the bottom. Now, the place you often sat and talked at is in sight of the edge, but not so close as to see over the edge. My question is, is there anyone who if they told you that they wanted you to jump off the cliff that you would do it for? If you hadn't been to the edge that day and all they said was “Hey, I want you to go run and jump off that cliff. Just trust me.” … Now, don’t get me wrong, I do not think anybody has the right to say that except God, my question is only hypothetical.

Cassie said “I don’t know if I would be able to trust someone that much” Me? Well, I finally decided that there were some people who I trust enough. But I cannot imagine them even thinking of asking me to do that. The thing with me is, I don’t find it hard at all to trust people. That worries me at times, because I know many people have their trust betrayed and don‘t trust easily, but that hasn’t happened to me yet. Yet… it worries me because I don’t see how I can escape that much longer. Have I just been lucky? Is there a reason? I really don’t know. Because I trust easily, I often have a compulsion to pour my heart out to just about anybody. That’s been changing the past year, especially the past six (or so) months.


On to camping.

I mentioned that camping trips have recently become “un-fun”. That would be because of the trips changing, and me changing.

It used to be, I’d want to go camping, we’d go on a couple short hikes, go swimming a lot, play card games, row around in boats, make walking sticks, and other things. All of which I did because I wanted to, and I loved. It was great family time.

Then with Camila and Daniel things had to change. Lately when we’ve gone camping we’ve brought the motorboat and gone to nearby lakes. We’d go out in the boat, swim, play some card games, etc. I reacted badly to being around them constantly. I would get irritated, I started disliking boating, and card games because I didn’t like Daniel and Camila’s behavior. I would read all I could in the camper, try to get out of all boating trips, try to participate the least possible, etc. Except everything became mandatory, which I highly disliked. But I did still like swimming… Over all though, the trips were not fun.

The time before this recent one was good. I enjoyed it, had some great times with my siblings, and came back with a good view on it. Although I still read my books a lot I read less, which was good.

This time, Daniel and Camila had friends to play with all the time so I barely saw them. And when I did it was fine because they were in good moods. Before leaving I had been worried. I didn’t want to go. I figured better safe than sorry. In my opinion staying home would be safe. I know what to expect here, and I know when I’ll be able to hang out with friends. Camping, I had no clue whether I’d be forced into stuff I didn’t want to do, I didn’t know if there would be anybody I’d enjoy hanging out with, I just didn’t know how it would turn out. And going by past trips I decided it would probably turn out badly. Friday afternoon I found myself with free time so I went on a walk on campus because I needed to do something about the way I was feeling. I knew I wouldn’t be able to concentrate enough to talk with God if I were at home so I figured a walk would help. It did. I gave the trip to Him and basically said “do what You will, You know what would be best.” I said that down at the pond, I was surprised on the walk back how much lighter things seemed!



I’m telling you all this, why? So maybe you’ll understand why I didn’t expect it to be good, and why I was so glad it turned out well.

Saturday consisted mainly of hiking, swimming in freezing water during the middle of the hike, and resting afterwards. The swim was fun, it was where we stopped for lunch at a waterfall. Two of the men went in, then Gracie, then me, then Camila, then Avery. I almost didn’t go in after seeing Gracie’s shocked face. It was refreshing. I thought I’d regret it after I started hiking, but I didn’t. My clothes dried for the most part by the time we got back, and the kept me cool on the hike because they were wet. That day my brother and his two friends went up to the watch tower on Tall Mountain (The tallest mountain in the area, though not tall compared to other mountains in some places) and slept there. They said it was so windy the hardly got any sleep.

Sunday started out as a very lazy morning, by my dad started trying to get people together to go on a three mile hike to the top of Tall Mountain. Eventually we had most of the people going. Some drove up most of the way and then hiked on a road for one mile the rest of the way. Others, like my parents and me, hiked the three mile trail up. Once at the top all of us had lunch, and then everybody went down again. Needless to say, the group on the trail down was less than the group on the trail up. That was the trip I picked up a walking stick, which I soon was very glad of. After making a handle I’m now very pleased with it. I’ll have to remember it on other trips.

Sunday night it was the girls’ turn to sleep in the watcher tower. Mr. Walters went with Gracie, Mattie, and I so we would have some protection. It was windy, but I was able to sleep. In fact so soundly once I got to sleep that when Gracie tried to wake me up to look at the stars once the sky cleared up that I didn’t wake up! I find that amusing, since I normally am not hard to wake up.

Monday was mostly packing up. I was really worn out that day, emotionally; I hadn't been by myself hardly at all the whole trip because it didn't feel right when I was. And physically; it was a tiring trip! Due to being so worn out, I was glad to get home. It started sprinkling while we packed, and raining right as almost everyone was ready.


Sorry for the humongous post, if you read all that, I applaud you.
-Mary

Monday, October 22, 2007

Camping

I went camping this weekend, it was a lot of fun. I'd been worried that it wouldn't turn out well, since camping trips have recently become rather un-fun for me, but I had no need to worry this time. There were several other families with us, so that meant that Daniel and Camila had friends to hang out with, as did the rest of us.

I have to get off now, so I'll try and make another post tomorrow, which shouldn't be a busy day.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Silence!

Ah, how I love silence now... Mom is taking Camila and Daniel to Dallas, they're on the road now. We're overdue for a social worker visit, because they're in Dallas it's harder to stay on schedule, so they'll be doing that while they're there. After that they plan on going to the children's museum there, and possibly stop by the store that sells Colombian food. All this adds up to one thing that is prominent in my mind-- Silence all day! Or rather, only the noises I choose to make. (Such as music and singing) Peter will be in and out, but that doesn't bother me.

Some time ago he and I reached a point where we came to an "understanding" on computers and stuff, I let him on this computer if he's around and I use another one, neither of us bother the other person, but sometimes make comments about stuff we think the other would enjoy. To put it plainly, spending a day at home, with Peter around, is something I consider ideal. I enjoy having him around, we rarely disagree, and the company but not company is relaxing. He's a great brother, even though we don't interact on a huge level I've recently been realizing how amazing and patient he is. How much he's been growing in the Lord, and just overall how great, thoughtful, and nice a brother he is.

Okay, I'm done bragging.

I was noticing the other day that at the beginning of the summer I wrote in my journal that if I had ballet four days a week in the afternoon I wouldn't do it. Because that would cut into time with friends, and I just didn't think that was worth it. Well, what am I doing now? Having ballet four times a week and more than half the time I can't see friends because of it. And am I annoyed and not wanting to go? Nope. I look forward to ballet, and the sacrifice is worth it. Over the summer I realized just how much I enjoyed it, and how enjoyable it could be when you start to improve. So yeah, my view on ballet has changed majorly in the past few months, isn't it funny how things like that happen?

Lately my toes keep getting stepped on, it's very painful, this morning it happened again and caused my toenail to start bleeding. <_< Although I go around barefoot or in flip-flops all the time, getting my feet stepped on is not common, though it does happen :P



Well, I'm off to work on my story I started in July.

~Mary/Linny

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

"Starting Fresh", Babysitting, Tuna Fish...

I decided a few days ago to start this blog up again, and see about maybe doing it a little differently. So I finally got around to it today and went and got rid of the previous posts, excluding the first, so I could "start fresh".

While I babysat this morning the 8-month old I had started crying, which caused the two-year old (Lillyann is her name, though I don't know about the spelling) to get upset and want me to hold her. For the rest of the time, which was half an hour, she was wanting to be with me and me to hold her... which was a little trouble because Faith (5) and Noah (7 or 8, not sure) both wanted to play with her but she only wanted to be with me. =)

Tuna fish! We finally got some more, so upon returning from babysitting I got to have a tuna and egg salad sandwhich for lunch... that was nice, we've been out for a while now, and both Peter and I have been wanting them. So I ate to the sound of Daniel on the computer, playing this flight-simulator game. He's been enjoying having computer time again, after not having any yesterday.


Well, I'll leave you with a poem I wrote last night:



Here

I am weary and burdened
As I come into this place
But I'll wait and praise You
Longing to see Your face

I fall on my knees
I know You are near
You restore my life
And Your presence is here

So many times I cry to You
Having once again fallen astray
Each time You welcome me back
And slowly change me each day

And here on my knees
I know You are near
You return my hope
And Your presence is here

Discontent with this world
I turn to You who can satisfy
You are all I need
Your well never runs dry

As I cry out on my knees
I can know You are near
Come and fill me
For Your presence is here

For when we truly seek You
We will find You
You have many plans for us
If we'll only give in to You

When we're on our knees
We can know You will be near
You hear our cries
And Your presence is there

...

Monday, April 2, 2007

Wandering or Following?

Wandering or Following?

That's a question that came to mind as I was thinking up of a title for this blog. Am I wandering or following?

Here's a poem I wrote awhile back that is the main thing that inspired this thought.


Wandering

I’m wandering, wandering...
Through this world where I live
I’m wandering, wandering...
Wondering which ground to take or give

I’m wandering, wandering...
Trying to find where to go
I’m wandering, wandering...
As I struggle to find the day

I’m wandering, wandering...
I find I need a guide
I’m wandering, wandering...
I need someone by my side

I’m wandering, wandering...
I need one who knows each pit and fall
I’m wandering, wandering...
Need one to help me through it all

I’m wandering, wandering...
I look for a guide but none I see
I’m wandering, wandering...
But then Christ calls to me

I’m following, following...
Through this world where I don’t belong
I’m following, following...
He is there to help me on this journey long

...

These past few weeks I've been wandering. Trying to find my own way through this world, not His. I realized that yesterday during worship, we were singing "Prince of Peace", and we came to the part "You're my Prince of Peace/And I will live my life for You". There's such a major difference between living our lives for ourself, and living it for Him.


So, I know that living my life for him is what I should do, but that still leaves the question--Will I?

I can say "Okay, Lord, I'm going to live my life for you now." But that's all I'm doing, I'm saying. The question comes after I say that, it's what will I do. What will my actions say? What will my inner thoughts say? What will my talks with others say?

I really don't know the answer to that question.

I'm wandering... A guide has offered to help me, will I let Him lead?