Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Ten Years...

It was ten years ago today that a little six year old girl surrendered her life to Christ. That girl was me.
As little as I was, I understood what it meant to become a Christian.
Up until that point, I said I was a Christian because my parents were. Isn't that how it was supposed to go? No. I can't remember very clearly what changed my mind about that.
What I do remember though was...

I was upset and in a bad mood. Mom had told me to go upstairs and clean up the entire room. Us girls shared a room so not all of it was my mess. That made me upset. I stomped upstairs and threw myself on my bed. A flood of tears filled my eyes as I cried, "Jesus, I need you. I can't do this. Please come into my heart and take away all of my pride and bossiness. In Jesus name, Amen"
God granted my plea.
I remember running downstairs and telling Emily what I had just done. I could not wipe the smile, that seemed to be growing by the minute, off of my face. I told mom, she called dad and pastor. I got baptized that Sunday.
  That evening a friend from church was over. We were outside and our friend was telling us that this lightening bug's name was Bob, and this one's name was Jane. I laughed and then looked at the setting sun. As I gazed at the Western clouds I caught my breath. There in the clouds was the shape of a cross. It was purple and blue. In my heart I knew that that was my covenant with God. That was Him telling me that He had me.

I don't remember growing much, in the spirit, when I was little. I do remember getting up at 5:30 and reading my Bible in the living room. That awesome feeling of knowing that I, a little seven-year-old, was all alone spending time with my Lord.
As I've gotten older, I've grown a lot. Yes, I have a looong way to go, but the Lord is ever faithful. He walks beside me all the time. At times, when the Devil likes to throw darts of mistrust and doubts about my assurance of Salvation, I always go back to that cross in the sky. For me, that is God's promise that He will never leave me, nor forsake me.

What's your testimony? I would love to hear it!

Friday, June 22, 2012

I'm Busy

That question may be floating around your head right now, or here of late. I know I usually post once a week, and that's usually on Wednesday. So you're probably wondering why I didn't. I'll just give you the honest to goodness truth.

I hate that word: Busy. It always reminds of a bunch of bees flying around with no heads. Not sure why. Anyway. You probably want to know what I've been busy with. I'll accommodate your wonderings. 

Summer is always the craziest time of the year for my family. Due to our singing ministry we constantly have singing gigs and things like that lined up for us in mom's planner. A long with that, Mackenzie, Corrie, Isaac, Eric, Destiny, and I all have a bunch of 4-H projects to get done before the 18th of July; if not any sooner. That's kept us crazy busy. If you're that curious as to know what projects we have to finish, here is the condensed list:
Scrapbooking, 32 pages between us
Woodworking projects
Foods and food preservation, I think four of us are doing that
Needle work, that's mine. I, the ever procrastinating one, started this huge cross stitch a month and a half before I'm supposed to turn it in. 
Painting and Drawing
Small Engines

So yeah, a bunch of us are doing the same categories as some of the other siblings. Needless to say, it's crazy around my house. 

What else I've been doing...
My small baking business. That takes a day out of my week, for the baking. Not that bad. 

Stephanie, Emily and me are part of a small ensemble group that we formed with Steph and Emily's best friends. We get together once a week and practice our orchestral music. It's really fun at times. We still don't have a name yet. We've had some comical suggestions though. 

I recently had an audition for the State Fair Piano Competition. I'm not sure whether or not I passed. I hope I did! If I did I will be competing at the State Fair in August. 

There's other things in between that aren't really important to anyone else, but me. So I won't mention them. 

I suppose I'll share with you what God has been teaching me here lately so that you (hopefully) won't feel like you wasted two minutes of your life reading this. That's the last thing I want people to feel when reading any of my blog posts. 

I'm too busy all the time. I say that. Mostly. I've been busy, I'm sorry I haven't talked to you in a month. I've had this and this and this going on. If you want I can try and schedule you an appointment with me sometime next month. My planner is already filled up for this month. I'll try to fit you in for next month, ok? 
Seriously, how ridiculous does that sound? Pretty darn ridiculous if you ask me. (I can say that because that's pretty much how I sound like) I like to use the word, busy, as an excuse for not doing things sometimes. On many occasions I truly am busy, but more often than not, I just blurt out, "I'M BUSY! Sorry!" Not quite like that, but you get the gist of what I'm trying to say. 
I just need to S.T.O.P.
Spend Time On People.
There are only two things in life that truly, honestly matter. God's word and people. I need to make those my priorities. I need to realign all of my 'priorities' and see which ones really need to be the focus of my life. I already know the first one: people. 
God created them. They are here, we are all here for a purpose. We aren't here on this planet to make money, get glory, and die. No, we are here to glorify God. One way we can glorify God is by being a testimony for Him. 
I'm sorry, but I can't necessarily be a testimony for Christ when I'm way too busy doing something so irrelevant than what He considers important. People are important to God. He made them, He died for them, He saved them, and He loves them. 
Should that not be the same for me?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Determination is the Key

Thirty-one days ago mom, Stephanie, Emily, and I all embarked on a new adventure. Well, it wasn't new for anybody else but me. A juice fast. Yeah, unheard of, right?
Well mom read this woman's blog post, A Wise Woman Builds Her House, on how her husband had lost sixty-four pounds in sixty days. Mom bought his ebook and read it quickly. She was instantly interested. She decided that her and Emily would go on the juice fast for sixty days. Well then Stephanie and me told mom that we wanted to do it as well. She agreed and we all decided to start the day after Mother's Day.

That whole week before, we loaded up on all of our favorite foods. The idea was to get so sick of food before we went on off of it completely. It worked. By Sunday night I couldn't even think about food without getting nauseous. When Monday morning rolled around I was more than glad that I didn't have to worry about eating!

I didn't know how long I would go. I wanted to go thirty days. Maybe more if I could manage it. Mother dearest, however, told me plainly that she doubted I'd make a week. The reason being that I had never fasted before. I was determined to go more than one week. Call it defiance, or perseverance, but I was going to make it for however long I needed to go.

Here is our before/starting out picture:

The first three days were the worst. I admit it. My body was going through a detoxification period. I had a headache for three days straight. I felt really irritable. I didn't want to be around anyone, least of all around people who had food. I was weak, sleepy, and exhausted. I didn't feel all that terrible actually. At least, not as terrible as I thought I might. By day four, I was good.

The first two weeks seemed to drag on. When I made it to day seven I remarked to mom
"Mom, it's been seven days"
To which she just smiled and said, "Yep"
Day by day I drank my juice and lived life. Day fourteen rolled around. I grinned a little haughtily and told mom, "Mom, you said you didn't think I'd make it one week. Now it's two!"
She just smiled and replied, "Yeah, I didn't think you would make it this far."
By two weeks, I had decided to go a full thirty days. I didn't go the full sixty days because I didn't have sixty pounds to lose.

On Memorial day we went to a friend's house for a cookout. The smell of hamburgers grilling was really, really enticing as I stared down into my bottle with basil flavored watermelon juice. However, I quickly fought the urge to forsake the fast and go dive in to the food.

After the third day, cooking didn't become a problem. Preparing food wasn't a chore anymore. It was more like a delight, which really helped considering the fact that I have my own baking business to keep up. It was like aroma therapy. A lot of people felt sorry for us and apologized for mentioning how good this dish, or that dish was. I told them not to be sorry, it was enough to smell it.
I, well we all noticed it, but when you are on a fast you suddenly become way more benevolent. If the kids were hungry we were all quick to give them something to eat. It was quite comical.

The changes I noticed in my body as the fast progressed were quite amazing. I felt more energetic. We had mental clarity. As bad as this is, I could go to bed extremely late then get back up really early and feel fine. I don't recommend doing that three times in succession though. I no longer had panic attacks. The pain in my right leg vanished. I was/am able to run with no problem. The swelling still hasn't gone down, but the pain is gone! The acne on my face cleared up. My piano teacher told me that my skin literally glowed. I was excited when she told me that. :)

We didn't just drink juice per se. We were allowed to have fruit and herbal teas. We were even allowed to have certain sweeteners such as Stevia, vegetable glycerine, and a small amount of honey. Oh, and spices! We were allowed to season our juices. That was awesome.

Last night, me and Steph, she only went thirty days as well, were literally squealing and jumping up and down because we were going to be eating actual food today.

So this morning finally arrived. It could not have dragged out any longer. Mom wanted to take our group picture and then she would take a picture of me and Steph eating our apple. Well some things came up and we didn't end up getting the picture taken until noon.

As you notice, Emily is wearing mom's clothes, Mom is wearing Steph's, Steph is wearing mine, and I had to borrow a shirt out of my 12-year-old sister's wardrobe. 

Finally, the moment had arrived....

An apple never tasted so good in all of my life. I downed my apple within five minutes. After that it was like my body was yelling at me to put more food in it. 
Of course, when you come off of a fast you have to ease back into regular food. All I've eaten today is two apples, a pear, a half of a cucumber, and some carrot slices dipped into some seasoned plain yogurt. That was divine! 

The changes I am making in my diet are quite drastic, er, well sort of. I am going to be juicing once a day. I'll be eating a lot of vegetables. 80% raw and 20% cooked. I'll have grains, nuts, and yogurt. Yes! Yogurt!
 I won't be drinking coffee everyday. I firmly believe that caffeine was what was causing my panic attacks. I'll have coffee as a treat. Surprise, surprise.
 Two meals of the week I will have whatever I want, in moderation, of course. And! I'll be exercising and losing the rest of the weight I want to. (I lost twenty pounds)

I hope that I have encouraged you to go on a fast, if possible. Some people can not fast to save their life. I didn't think I could either, but I went thirty days with nothing but juice. 
Determination is the key! 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

My Dad Is a Genius

My mom has been wanting an arbor with a swing in her herb garden for awhile now.
This past mother's day, dad decided to build one for her.
Now here is why my dad is a genius. He didn't have a pattern. All he had was pictures from the internet.

Check it out:

That's not the complete thing, of course. 

Here it is:

Is that not awesome!! 
All from scratch. Including the swing. 

And since you might be curious, I'll post pictures of the rest of my mom's herb garden. 

This is the pond that us kids helped daddy dig out, and build. Mom's wanted one of those for a while too. That was fun making. Especially lugging all of those rocks from the creek. :D

We decided to ditch the water fountain and make it into a pretty flower fountain. 

Here's the entire scope of the garden. That bare patch in the front is being reserved for strawberry plants

And last, but not least, a better shot of the arbor. 

I love sitting out here with a book and a cup of tea, or coffee. It's so peaceful. 

I know this was a bit late in posting, but dad hadn't quite finished the arbor yet. 
I can't wait to post the father's day gift that mom is making for dad! 

Ta ta, for now!
Haley Rose