Tuesday, January 29, 2013

High standards and "The Good Life"

It's 2013!
It's 2013, and I've been reflecting on past years.  On the outside, many people would say I lead a fairly sheltered life, but those who know me know better.  No, I don't run around the town, get high, or play poker on the side, but I would say that the "quiet life" can be anything but.  I've lived within 100 miles of where I was born for the last 18+ years, have moved with my family 3 or 4 times, and we've stayed together.  Living in a small, historical, town, walking-distance to the steady job I've had for over 4 years. This was our second Christmas with three young foster children, and we've still kept the tradition of going to the Christmas Eve Service, opening gifts, then breaking into the stockings on our way to Grandma and Grandpa's house.  Never gotten arrested, never touched a cigarette, never wore a mini-skirt, and never even had a boyfriend, for that matter (and that by my very own choice).  And it's not simply that I'm not the wild sort, I'm pretty conservative.  Singing in choir, regular at church, and even take an intense Bible course in place of the "less demanding" Sunday School. I really enjoy it!  I graduated early from home school, (though not without a little stress,) and have my sights set on a Bachelors of Nutritional Science or Psychology, though I must say I haven't applied yet, and don't know if I'll be accepted.  Little bit of a nerd? Yes.  A sheltered life? Maybe...  It depends on what you mean by sheltered, and whether you think it's a good or bad thing.
 Truth is, I may be a pretty innocent legal-adult, but I don't think I'm naive.  I've had my bouts with sickness, and nearly died a couple years back, went through some major depression, and had some repercussions.  I'm pretty healthy now, but that's not all.  My brother - 5 years my senior and my idol at the time - left for a life of drugs when I was 7. We've gone through financial trouble, though God provided wondrously and we never went hungry or didn't have a place to live.  I enjoy running, and some other sports, like down-hill skiing, zip-lining, and ice skating.  I thoroughly enjoy watching murder mysteries, and I almost got a tattoo to go with my 5 ear piercings.
 So what is the difference? Where am I at that other's might not be, and why am I content not to rebel when I have to pay for my own car-insurance and babysit squirrely siblings?  Because I really am very happy. And that without a boyfriend, which most adolescents couldn't imagine!
 I believe that one doesn't have to take part in the immoral to understand the immoral.  Sure, I'm not perfect, but even though my "sinning seasons" have taught me a lot about life, they always do so with with the leaving-behind of another little scar. Us humans can't go through life without wounds and scars, but to know which are necessary and which are sadistic... that is an art!
 So how for the belief that it's a healthy experience to date and break up a couple times in one's teen-age years? Sure, it makes for a better "honey, don't do what I did because..." later on, but I've always thought success stories were better examples than the "do as I say, not as I do (or did)" line.
 Many of my friends have dated and had their hearts broken.  I don't see how that is a valuable life-experience!  Disappointments and failures that teach us about the nature of life will come without us indulging in our carnal desires before denial comes to teach us our lessons.
 In fact, dating skews people's vision of love, I have found, or at least it does for teens. (By dating, I mean going out together, alone or as a couple, and enjoying each other, to whatever degree, because you "like" that person.  I'm referring largely to teen dating.)  Saying that dating and breaking up is a good experience and teaches you about life is like telling a kid to overdose on their meds because sometimes life sucks the morning after, and they need to know that before someone else shows them.  Like I said, leading by example is usually best!  I've found that staying out of the cloud of "educational" emotion that leads to sadness and heartache allows one to see what's going on for what it really is.  Looking in from the outside may not serve to show the little details, but it will give you an outline and a synopsis that those on the inside may completely miss.  Again, just because I haven't taken part in a lot of the things other 18-year-olds have, doesn't mean I wouldn't know what to say or do in certain situations - I've met many interesting characters, and helped teach a children's Bible club in the worst neighborhood in our state's capital city.  I don't giggle and look away when a guy smiles at me. I do have guy friends, but I don't play around with them.  I probably even know them better than one who dates them would, though I keep our relationships casual.  I'm more open in conversation than most people I know, though I make it a priority to keep my speech clean.
 I hope to date/court, get engaged, and be married someday, but to be honest, as many times as I've given in to wishful thinking and wanted to "go out," I'm glad I haven't.  Keeping my mind clear of the mess so many people put themselves into without riding out their emotion first has saved me time, money, and sanity. I'm not in self-denial, but I'm all about self-control.  I know what goes on in this world, and it doesn't shock me; it saddens me.  This is why I'm glad my parents "sheltered" me, and provided me with sound teaching, all while letting me develop critical thinking skills and make my own decisions.  What 12-year-old girl is going to go tame on the makeup, or keep to herself when that really cute boy is in the room, or say no if "everyone else is doing it?"

 Often high standards and "self-denial" (as in denying one's self some of their carnal desires, not denying one's own self and tendencies) will make someone happier in the long run. That is what teaches kids about life! I can honestly say that, even through the atrocities that have happened to me, and the "quiet" life that I lead, I have "the good life!!!"

Blogging

I used to blog almost daily, and then I got a life... and facebook. ;)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Pride and Prejudice Anniversary

 The 200th Anniversary of Pride and Prejudice's publication is this week.  Celebrating an amazing author like Jane Austen calls for some research on her best-known book, which has been made into two or three movies.
  • Her original draft of Pride and Prejudice was titled First Impressions and was rejected by a top publisher.
  • She accepted a proposal from her best friends brother, but changed her mind the next morning.
  • Her deep dislike of the French was fueled by her cousin's husband's death by guillotine during the Revolution.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Fool - lyrics written by me

Fool

Lyrics written by Michaela Danielle

Verse 1-
A fool
That's what they call me
Because of You
Because of believing what I can't see
You can't be proved
But all the evidence points toward You
Truth
Is a worthy calling
To become a fool
In the eyes of the dying
And I am moved
When You touch me I know You're true!

Chorus-
For the sake of truth
I will become a fool
Believing comes at the end of me
Fo the sake of... You
I will give my knowledge too
You created all things;
I'm still learning
For the sake of You, You the truth
I will be a "fool"

Verse 2-
I know
These thoughts in my head
When I say "no"
And am doubting things that You said
They say I've gone mad
For believing in some "Jesus man"
Oh
All of my plans
Tossed to and fro
Until I run back into Your hands
Where have I been?
Chasing after things that others said

[chorus]

Foolish
Are all things earthly
Where wisdom is
Is where they're not seeing
God lives!
All of me for this thing
Because of the truth I see
I am counted as foolish

Verse 4-
I use
Gifts You give me
In serving You
And not to further me
Giving up my dreams
And living for the least of these
It's true
It looks confusing
These things I do
Make it look like I'm just stupid
But I know things
That make the future look heavenly
If I'm a "fool"

[chorus]


"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Because I care...


 To put it bluntly, I guess you could say that part of my job description is to care about people.  On any given day I'm in the shop, a dozen or more persons will come in and share personal health details, asking for advice.  They don't all bare their problems, and I get everyone from completely trusting to overly cynical, but they are there, and asking for my help.  At first this was awkward, but this is something I have come to absolutely love, and I'm not even a big "people person."  This may be my job, but I only have my job because I care.  I get funny looks when I converse with people I'm waiting in line with at a busy store.  One part of it is that people are incredibly interesting - the other is that I really care.  I used to care very little, and to tell the truth, I'm not a very sensitive person; it's safe to say I won't tear up - even at the worst sob story.
 So why do I care? I truly attribute it all to God.  It's humbling to think about - that on my own I'd be stone cold - and I guess that all the grace God has shown me I feel like I should try and show others.  They deserve it so much more than I!  And believe me, I've encountered quite a few grumpy and "undeserving" people!  My friends stuck by my even when I was completely absorbed with my own situation.  They genuinely cared, and even though I honestly didn't care at the time, I am so very grateful now.  I value my friends!!!  I've been so blessed, and not everyone else has been, so if all I get is 10 minutes to help them get their health problems under control, I hope I can make some sort of difference.  Even my job is an incredible gift from God, and not everyone can say that with enthusiasm.
 Why do I care?  Because He cared about me!

1 John 4:19
"We love because He first loved us."