Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Complete Christmas Story




   The lovely Kaitlyn from The SoCal Gal invited me to do a guest post for her blog series: 12 Days of Christmas. I was more than happy to oblige. Hope you enjoy!

~

   The little girl slowly opened her eyes. The sun had yet to peep over the horizon. She was about to snuggle back into the covers when the faint smell of bacon caused her to sit up.
Why is Dad making breakfast so early? We don’t have to do school… oh!”
Suddenly remembering the significance of the day, she leapt out of bed and ran to her siblings’ rooms.
“It’s Christmas guys, get up!”
Three pairs of feet tumbled down the stairs and breathlessly wished their parents a “Merry Christmas!” before carefully examining the presents beside the tree.
“Eat your breakfast first kids,” their mother said, smiling at their eager faces.
Breakfast was dutifully consumed, but there was yet one thing left to do before tearing into the colorfully wrapped presents. Picking up a Bible, their father led them to the family room where they all sat next to the fire and listened as he read the Christmas story.

   This scene is one which replays every year at our house, as it undoubtedly does in numerous other Christian households. While we no longer exchange gifts, one tradition still remains: reading the opening chapters of Matthew or Luke. I heard the Christmas story so many times growing up, that I knew it by heart.


   At least I thought I did.

   Several years ago, I decided to read through the Matthew account on my own. To my surprise, Matthew doesn’t start with the familiar words, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise:” No, the opening verses of Matthew are, “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; and Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar;…”


   The Christmas story starts with a genealogy!




Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The 5 Sola Heartbeat of Luther's Message




   In this second post of a three-part series celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, my sister Victoria explains the heart of Luther's message and what the Reformation is really about.   


~

     The heart of Martin Luther’s message is dynamically portrayed in the five Solas of the Protestant Reformation: Sola Scriptura, Solus Christus, Sola Fide, Sola Gracia, and Soli Deo Gloria. They identify our final authority on spiritual matters, especially in determining how man is justified (made righteous before God). Written during the Renaissance period, these Solas countered the Church’s mandate for universal submission to Roman Catholicism’s three-fold authority: church leadership (consisting of the Pope, cardinals, bishops, and priests), tradition, plus the Scriptures—in Latin. When tradition contradicted the Bible, tradition overruled. Of course, the Reformers strongly disagreed and wrote Biblical rebuttals, resulting in the five Solas. These succinct doctrines express what we Protestants believe, give discernment between truth and error, and help us defend our faith.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

God's Man in God's Time - Reformation 500





   In this second post of a three-part series celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, my brother Gabriel shares some interesting information about the man behind the Reformation.  


~


     Martin Luther was a man that had a profound influence on the Reformation. Martin Luther was born in Germany to Hans and Margarethe Luther on November 10, 1483. His father, Hans, worked diligently at a copper mine. Mr. Luther had plans for his oldest son, Martin. He sent him to Latin school for a time and then to the University of Erfurt at the age of thirteen. Martin’s father wanted him to be well educated in order to become a lawyer. Martin, however, wanted none of this. Though Mr. Luther knew that his son did not like training for a lawyer, he still enrolled him in law school.

     One day, as Martin was going to the University, he was overtaken by a mighty thunderstorm. Before he reached his destination, a lightning bolt struck near. In his distress, he cried, “Help! Saint Anna, I will become a monk.” The thunderstorm subsided, and he was able to make it to safety. True to his word, Martin stopped school and put everything away to become a monk. His father was enraged. He complained that he spent money on his education, and Martin wasted it. However, Martin Luther did not listen to his father’s words. He focused on living the religious life of a monk.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Stroke Heard 'Round the World - Reformation 500




   In honor of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, I'm temporarily breaking my blogging fast to share a series of posts over the next two weeks on the impact of the Reformation, who was behind it, and what the Reformation's main message is. 
Hope you enjoy!

~

     Flickering candles cast irregular shadows on the room’s walls. A mouse cautiously emerged from a hole in the corner and scanned the floor for crumbs. All was silent except for the soft scratching of a quill pen being applied to parchment. A stout monk sat hunched over his writing desk laboriously working out the details of his document. His face was twisted in concentration. Years of studying the Scriptures had brought him to this point. He could no longer stay silent. With a final stroke, Martin Luther laid aside his writing instrument. Tomorrow morning, he would nail his treatise to the church door.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Taking A Break - 3 Reasons Why




     I'll be taking a temporary blogging hiatus over the next school year. But don't worry, I'm not dropping off the blogosphere completely! However, my posts will become more irregular and you may notice some changes on the blog. Why am I taking a break?


1. College

     While I graduated high school a year ago, I decided not to enter college immediately. Instead I took a Gap year. During that time, I grew this blog, helped my dad start creating a website for his teaching ministry (check it out here), and worked on a very special project (more on that later). All the while, we prayed for the Lord's direction in choosing the right major and searched for an online Christian college. The Lord has finally made the path plain for me. Last month I started college with Lumerit Unbound pursuing an Information Technology major. Your prayers would be appreciated as I start the next phase of my education.


2. Taking time to improve this blog

     For years I've tinkered with this blog's layout, design, colors, and content, but have never been able to get it quite how I'd like it. Hopefully with the skills learned from Computer Science, I'll be able to perfect this blog to my liking.


3. A special project

     I can't say much about this yet as it's still in the early stages. The Lord planted an idea in my mind during worship services one Sunday morning. Hopefully within a year or so I'll be able to tell you all about it!


     Please, please, please pray that the Lord would guide me as I seek His will for this project and for my future career. Thank you all so much for your support!



 - Gloria
Soli Deo Gloria




Saturday, July 22, 2017

An Interview With My Grandmother, pt 3




     Last week, Grandma told us about her first full time job at Consolidated Handbags, meeting the man who would become her husband, and the various mishaps her two children got into. If you missed that post, click here. 
     In this final interview with my grandmother, she shares some closing words about how things have changed since she was young, what she would tell her younger self, and what legacy she hopes to leave for her children. 

~


Gloria: So how has the world changed since you were young?
Grandma: Oh, tremendously! It went from… laughs Just to put it very briefly, it went from a wall phone in the general store that you had to crank up, to now, I have a phone in my pocket! Laughs So there's been a lot of technology since I was little girl. Cars were not as plentiful as they are today. Washing machines, dryers, were not available at the time. They are so common now, that people just don’t even appreciate them. The most spectacular thing was to see the man on the moon. That was awesome.
Gl: What was that like?
Gr: Well... chuckles. My husband George was very interested in it but I was so busy being a homemaker that I didn’t really pay much attention. But on the day that the man landed on the moon, I had the flu. And I was halfway asleep and George woke me up, he says, “You got to watch this, you got to watch this!” And it was the landing on the moon. That was just… I mean whoever heard of man going to the moon?! And there it was right before my eyes.

Gl: That is so neat! So what is your opinion on modern technology?

Friday, July 14, 2017

An Interview With My Grandmother, pt 2




     Last week, Grandma told us about her run-in with a wild goose, some of the prejudices she faced as a Mexican, and the time she told a neighbor girl Santa Claus isn't real. If you missed that post, click here.
     In this second part of a three-part interview, Grandma tells us about her job at Consolidated Handbags, meeting her husband, and life as a stay-at-home mom.

~


Grandma: I started working the summer that I graduated. It was terrible because jobs were hard to find because all the high school kids were out looking for jobs. So I took any job, I took part-time jobs, it didn’t matter, I just wanted to be working. By this time, Mother had stopped working at this plant that made clothes for the military. For some reason, that summer, at the end of summer, she quit working for those people. Instead she got a job with this handbag company. So here I was that summer looking for jobs everywhere. And toward the end of the summer… let’s see when was it? In November, right before Thanksgiving, Mother says, "Well you know, they’re hiring people where I’m working, you might want to go and ask for a job there." I said "Ok, that’s fine, sounds good." Well I did, and because I was her daughter, they hired me. And they kinda liked me because I was doing the job. The company was growing really fast, and so they decided to have a department for small items for women. And so they put me in a little cubbyhole, a little space there. They were primarily going to go into the gloves, so I was to receipt the great big cartons of gloves that came in. They were different styles and they had to be sorted out by style, by color, and all this. And I delighted in doing it, it was nothing. I got an order and it came on a piece of paper, they want this, this, that, and that. And I just whipped through, I got the order, and filled it up. And I had it in a basket, and the people that did the packing, they’d come and take it, and they knew what store it was going to, and all that. That was fun! Laughs That was fun, I didn’t mind doing that at all. And I just did it very quickly, and I did it so quickly that I got my orders filled up real fast. And everything was marked and all in its  proper place where I could find it. So they decided to take me out of that little bitty place that I had and they made a bigger area for me. And they started building it up with gloves, with the wallets that women used to carry, the small ones, bigger ones, and evening bags, real small evening bags, jewelry boxes, just all these little items. And so, I had a place for everything and everything in its place! 



Friday, July 7, 2017

An Interview With My Grandmother, pt 1



     Recently, my lovely grandmother agreed to do an interview with me. She told me all about her life growing up and offered some wise advice for growing up today. This is the first post of a three-part interview with my grandma.

~


Gloria: So first off, where were you born?
Grandma: Steel Store, Texas, but on my birth certificate it’s Robertson County, Texas.
Gl: Ok, cool. What was it like growing up?
Gr: In my real, real young years we lived out on a farm, and it was just farm life. You know in those days, most everybody was raised on farms. It was fine, I grew up, I learned a lot as a little girl. At that time I only had two brothers and two sisters, and the sisters were a lot older than me. 

Gl: So when you were on the farm, what were some of your chores?
Gr: Carrying water, because we didn’t have running water in the house. We had to catch rainwater, or we had to go this well and it was made into a pump. And we usually filled up the barrels or whatever container for water for bathing primarily, for washing clothes, for drinking, and cooking. That was my job. I had two pails and I had to go to the pump and bring water to the house for the drinking water.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Book of the Month: The Basket of Flowers




Summary:

     Mary and her father James Rode live comfortably as gardeners in the service of the Count of Eichbourg in Germany. Adored by all, Mary is an especial favorite of the young Countess Amelia. However, when Amelia's mother discovers her diamond ring is missing, young Mary is accused of stealing it by the jealous maid Juliette. Hence, Mary and her father are banished from the kingdom.
Will they ever return home? What happened to the ring? Will Mary's faith remain intact through this fiery trial?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

God Uses Flawed People



“God can’t use me. I’m not smart enough. I’m not strong enough. I’m not bold enough. I’m not _______ enough.”

     Have you ever thought this? I have. Fortunately, God doesn’t think like this. There is a remarkable theme found throughout Scripture of the Lord using the most unlikely individuals to accomplish some of the greatest tasks.

Peter was a rough fisherman with an unfortunate tendency to stick his foot in his mouth. When Jesus plainly told his disciples they would all forsake Him, Peter persistently declared he would never do so. Yet, in the hour of Christ’s greatest trial, Peter not only forsook his Lord, but denied Him as well.

Paul (formerly Saul) was one of the early church’s greatest persecutors. He hunted, captured, and tried hundreds of Christians. By Paul’s own admission, he was the chief of sinners.

Moses spoke directly with God out of a burning bush and was given the ability to perform several miracles. But when God commanded him to speak to Pharaoh, Moses insisted he was incapable and ineloquent.

Jonah was sent to preach to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, but fled in the opposite direction instead. After being spewed back in the right direction, he finally delivered God’s message… but became furious when God actually saved the Ninevites.

In the eyes of many, these men were unqualified and unable of ever achieving success. They were fearful, weak, uneducated, spiteful, ineloquent, disobedient – in a word: flawed. Why would God use flawed people to enact His will? Wouldn’t He want those who are skilled and knowledgeable? The answer is in 1 Corinthians 1:27-29.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Loving Your Enemies




     Have you ever met someone you just couldn’t stand? The moment they walk into the room, your smile fades, your heart sinks, and the day suddenly becomes gloomier. Sometimes, even the sound of their voice can make your stomach churn. Maybe it’s their personality. Maybe they have radically different views than you. Maybe you don’t even have a legitimate reason to dislike them, or, maybe you have a very good reason. Jonah had several reasons to hate the Ninevites. Nineveh was the capital of the Assyrian nation and the Assyrians were infamous for two things: their skill in battle and their cruelty in dealing with defeated nations. Common were their barbaric practices of dismembering, skinning, or burning their captives alive. Often displayed atop the walls of Nineveh were the decapitated heads of conquered kings and princes. Besides all this, the Assyrians were Gentiles who worshipped numerous false idols, many of which required abominable sacrificial rites. Israel and Assyria were diametrically opposed. Thus, we can understand why Jonah was so averse to delivering God’s message to them.

“What? Preach to Nineveh, to those Assyrians?! No! Let them die in their sins. Why should God save them?”

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

When God's Commands are Unpleasant




“I can’t do that.”
“But God told you…”
“Maybe I heard wrong. God would never ask me to do that.”

Perhaps these thought swirled in Jonah’s mind as he hailed a ship headed for Tarshish. The Lord had asked him to do the one thing he abhorred. The one assignment he refused to undertake. The one task he would not do.

Preach to the Ninevites.

Those wicked, violent, rich Gentiles. No. He would not do it. He would go in the complete opposite direction: to Tarshish. But as we all know, Jonah’s plans were abruptly reversed by a mighty storm and a great fish with an appetite for stubborn prophets. After several miserable nights in the fish’s belly, wrestling with God, Jonah eventually did what the Lord commanded him to do: preach to those wicked Gentiles.

How often we read this story and chuckle at Jonah’s foolishness in trying to run from the Lord. “What was he thinking?” we ask pretentiously. But have we ever run from the Lord’s will? Has the Lord ever commanded you to do the very thing you loathed doing? How did you respond? The Lord made such a request of me, and my reaction was not unlike Jonah’s.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Book of the Month: Mothers of Famous Men




Summary:

     Why do some children grow to be highly respected and godly individuals while others amount to nothing more than wayward miscreants? It can arguably be stated that it is because of the loving care, or lack thereof, provided by their mothers. This book is a collection of short biographies focusing on the Christian character of the mothers of famous men. The author states in the introduction, "My purpose in writing this book was not to extol a few mothers but to pay tribute to the countless number of unselfish, devoted mothers everywhere."

Monday, May 8, 2017

Blogiversary Survey Results!





     Thanks so much to everyone who participated in the reader survey last week! Here's what y'all had to say:



     Apparently, the advice I'd heard from other bloggers was true: the more you involve yourself in other's blogs, the more likely it will be for others to find your blog.



     Personally, I would've rated my blog's layout and colors a 3. So I'm not sure if y'all are being nice, or if I need to be content. :P



     This question was the main reason I wanted to do a survey. Now I know what kinds of posts I should focus on creating.



     The question following this one was "How do you think this blog could improve?" I got quite a variety of answers with most saying they loved the way it currently is, others saying they'd love to see more and longer posts, and one person suggesting funner fonts.

     Thanks once again to everyone who voted and voiced their opinions! They were duly noted and I will be seeking to implement them in future blog posts. :D






Monday, May 1, 2017

2 Year Blogiversary + Reader Survey




     Yesterday was the two year anniversary of this blog. Woohooo!!! Has it really been two years?? Anyways, I thought it would be fun to host a survey (after all, who doesn't like giving their opinion). The following poll has only five questions so it won't take you too long to complete. I'd really really appreciate the feedback!


powered by Typeform


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Book of the Month: Who Moved the Stone?







Summary:

     Albert H. Ross (who wrote under the pseudonym "Frank Morison") was a prolific writer during the late 1800's and staunchly skeptical of the Biblical claim that Christ rose from the dead. So he set out to disprove, in his mind, this irrational claim. Using the synoptic gospels, Ross retraced the events leading up to Christ’s death, burial, and supposed resurrection, trying to determine if the accounts are a faithful retelling of actual historical occurrences, or if they were fabricated some time after. Ross' discoveries shook not only his world, but that of thousands who read the result of his journey: a powerful book entitled Who Moved the Stone?.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Messy Love of Easter - Guest Post



   The wonderful Belle from Seeing Everything Else agreed to do a guest post for this Easter. After reading, be sure to check out her blog here, for which she consistently posts encouraging and convicting articles. 


~


Horrifying. Scandalous. These aren't the words we usually associate with Easter.


Our normal thoughts fall more along the lines of pastel flowers, cute chicks and bunnies, and Precious Moments kids kneeling gently beneath a brown ceramic cross.


And those are sweet. Those are cute. Those are clean. But they're wrong.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

// Christian? //





Sitting amongst the cream of my generation
my soul was filled with lamentation.
Here, supposed Christians
flirt with temptations
display carnal affections
consider vain imaginations
lust for worldly commendations
seek ungodly occupations
forget Scriptural meditations
shirk Bible memorizations
reject sound admonitions
ignore godly exhortations
despise Biblical limitations
on the road of continual degradations
are these really Christians?

So to any reading my composition
let it be a call for self-examination.
Do I obey the Lord without indignation? 
Honor my God without fluctuation?
Serve my King without hesitation?
Love my Savior without reservation?
Cry out to Him amidst temptation?
Am I on the road of heavenly sanctification?
Am I truly a Christian?



"Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?"
- 2 Corinthians 13:5





Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Playing With Perspective

     I haven't been doing much photography of late so I decided to get back into it. The theme of this photography spree is perspective, particularly, looking at things from a different perspective. 


Inside a grain silo

Monday, March 20, 2017

Book of the Month: Alone Yet Not Alone





Summary:

   Autumn has come to the Blue Mountains of Pennsylvania and the Leininger family is harvesting their crops in preparation for the long winter ahead. But their lives are suddenly shattered by a series of raids encouraged by the French and led by Allegheny Indians, culminating in what became known as the Penn's Creek Massacre. The two Leininger sisters, Barbara and Regina, are captured and sent to live with separate Indian tribes. Will they remain true to their faith while living in a pagan society? What has become of their family? Will Barbara and Regina ever meet again?

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Touching History - Philadelphia, part 2

     In the previous post about our trip to Philly, we saw Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell (check out that post here). Today, we'll take a look at three more of the dozens of historical sites in Philadelphia.


     Standing right next to Independence Hall, is the Library Hall of the American Philosophical Association (APS). The organization was started in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin and numerous others. Still in existence today, it's purpose is to "promote useful knowledge."


     The building displays a marble statue of Ben Franklin holding an inverted scepter in one hand, an open book in the other, and is wearing a toga (because togas are a must-have if you want to look philosophical).  :) 


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Book of the Month: Faith and Freedom Series





Summary:



Guns of Thunder (book 1)
     In the first book of the Faith & Freedom series (the sequel to the Crown & Covenant series), we're introduced to the great grandson of Duncan M'Kethe: Ian. Colonial America is on the eve of the French and Indian War but between tediously tilling the family plot of land, defending the corn from hungry birds, and attending grammar school, Ian has little time to worry about the pending conflict. But when his best friend, Roland, is captured by the French during the Raid on Canso, Ian enlists in the army and along with his Indian mentor Watokoog, sets off with the colonial army to capture Louisbourg and hopefully free Roland.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Touching History - Philadelphia, part 1

     Being near to many of our nation's key historical locations has afforded our family numerous fascinating field trips. In this blog series, Touching History, I'll share with you some of the places we've visited.


     Recently, we took a trip to New Jersey and stayed in Philadelphia for a few days.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Book of the Month: Crown and Covenant Series




Summary:


Duncan's War (book 1)
     Duncan M'Kethe loves his family and his faith and is willing, even eager, to defend them from the vicious talons of King Charles II. Yet his father insists that the Scriptures instruct us to love our enemies. How does he balance this with defending his fellow Covenanters?

Monday, January 2, 2017

My Year In Pictures




     This year was full of amazing moments and several sad ones as well. But I wish to do as the hymn writer Johnson Oatman said: "Count your blessings, name them one by one. Count your blessings see what God has done." 
     So crack your knuckles and prepare your index finger for a lot of scrolling!