Sunday, March 16, 2014


I wrote this for school in tenth grade (2010).  The assignment was to tailor my writing to how Hollis Woods would write in the book Pictures of Hollis Woods.  

Grandma framed this picture and placed it in her living room above the cabinet filled with teapots.  She sometimes served us tea in her cozy green kitchen, the panoramic picture lying in the background.  It's a special picture for more than one reason.  It was a picture of our family, and our cousins were in it, too, the ones who were living in Korea.  They didn't get to visit us much, so this was special.  Our grandma and grandpa were in the picture, and Andrew was snuggled in Grandpa's arms.

Then there are the pictures of the crabapple tree in front of grandma's house, four pictures in all.  Well, not quite...the fourth one hasn't been taken just yet.  Grandma wanted to capture the tree in all the seasons.

I could try to match the first picture, the one with our cousins, to the ones in front of Grandma's tree, but I wouldn't be able to do it exactly.  First, the background's different.  We were all crunched down in that first picture in front of Lake Superior, smiling and young.  It was taken in Bayfield, Wisconsin.  I remember playing on the beach nearby the place we took the picture, by the rented condos on the sand. "Let's build a sand castle that will last till next year," we said, piling up huge Lake Superior rocks like a castle fortress.  It was a good technique, but hardly suitable to withstand the waves for a whole year.  There were fishing boats, too, in Bayfield, lots of them, almost too many to count, and there were fireworks on the Fourth of July.

But there are seven of us in the tree pictures instead of thirteen.  Of course, our cousins aren't in them, but there were others missing, too.  Grandma was taking the pictures as she backed up each time to get closer to the wooden fence.  She mostly wanted to get the tree on the screen, but we can be seen, too, at least our shapes under the shade of the sprawling tree.

But there's someone else missing: Grandpa John, and while he's in the Lake Superior shot, there is someone in his place in this picture.  In between two sturdy branches of a tree, the crabapple tree, sits a little girl.  Grandpa never got to meet this new addition to the family, but she's my sister, four years old.

And it's not just in this picture that we can be seen together.  There are actually many, many more of Brooke, of us.  When she colors pictures, usually, her name accompanies it somewhere.  The big bold letters of her name, known to her, are announced on paper: B-R-O-O-K-E.

Sometimes she has even tried to capture the family in her drawings.  "This is mom," she's says, pointing to a figure engulfed in a mass of curly hair, "and I'm in her tummy."  Then we all ask her who everyone else is.  The huge figure with the big feet is dad, so similar to how I drew him on the driveway when I was about Brooke's age.

So now there are seven of us: a father, a mother, two brothers, and three sisters...a family.

Monday, March 10, 2014

my journal from the 2012 National Bible Bee

All my hope is in You, Lord!
Tonight I was feeling very defeated.  I truly want to be away from these trials/rise up with wings like eagles and strong and courageous and knowing God move truly and getting victory.  I've given in to temptations to think thoughts I know are evil.  Forgive me, Lord.  I do not pretend that I am mastering living by grace.  I know my failure is so huge that it not only encompasses many failures but also the inability to see how exactly I failed or what sin led to the failures or how I might fix things.
Greek words that have encouraged me:
kalen (used so many times in 1+2 Timothy!---This one I call my favorite Greek word right now!  It is flooring to think of this word being in Greek with this simple and beautiful meaning and purpose.
charis-grace, kindness
I AM BEGGING God for his grace and kindness.  I've heard that I am not to come to Him as a beggar but as a child.  But I'll humble myself and first come as a beggar.
Am I really a child of God?
Where is the proof?
God has lavished His love on me!
So thankful for all the people who've worked behind the scenes for the 2012 National Bible Bee, Convergence, and "As in the Days of Noah."
Another Greek word meaning:
makrothumia-when you could get revenge, not going for that; patience, long-suffering (an attribute of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5:23!)
-from 2 Timothy 3:10 and 2 Timothy 4:2
How can I get victory like Israel did?
How should I march around the walls 7 times?
How must I be foolish to be wise?
Where is the Holy Spirit leading me?
Will He use Nationals to provide the finances to go on His missions?
We left our house in record time!  Dad and I are very excited about that!
Are the obstacles I'm facing merely giants in the land that I am not to be afraid of?
Huge obstacles:
No matter how hard I try, it's never good enough.  I'm sure God delights in my weak love, but it's just that-weak.  All the smart homeschooled people who can recite word-perfectly when I cannot!  I just wish I could stop placing 49th + 60th + 70th.  I didn't even know that Dad drives 45 minutes to work every day.  I know this, but when picking him up from work to head on our way, I realized how long he drives day after day for our family.  I'm so thankful for him and proud of him.  He is amazing!  He really loves God and leads our family to honor and love Him.
I don't want people to praise me.  I want people to have a high opinion of God.  I want to win for legitimate reasons, but are my reasons not great enough?
All my delight is in Him, but I fear I am not abiding in Him well enough.
Set a tract from the red ones from Ignite on the counter for the gas station worker around Wisconsin Dells!  praise Jesus for boldness.  One down.  A lot to go.  That was our first gas station stop.
I'm so sorry for all my sins, and I ask him for the strength to change.  I know that even if someone else has set a bad example for me and scared me into thinking God is still against me even when I humble myself truly before him.  I know this isn't true.  I know God is for me!  God loves me, even when others don't have the time to help with real needs I face.  God loves the humble.  He crowns the humble with salvation.  He doesn't close the door on them and turn them away.  He loves us.  He loves the humble.  I want to be humble.  I want to humbly see people come to the light out of darkness.  I'm ready for you to use me God.  By your strength, I courageously ask you to break me, mold me, cleanse me, and use me for your noble purposes.
I still desire to win, even though it looks impossible, even when it's already Tuesday and so much review is necessary on my part to be fully RESPONSIBLE before the Lord.  I strive to be a champion.  I strive to not give up.  I strive to repent.  I strive to be true.  Through Jesus Christ, my Savior and LORD.  I strive to be a blessing to others.
I can't just give up.  I can't just let myself do poorly or not make it.  Jesus, come renew that closeness we once had that gave me such uprightness and true life and true victory.  But add to that the humility and kindness to others unlike me that I lacked.  I want to have studied hard, so hard I gave every last drop of myself.  I want it to be said that I gave my very best.  i am so lousy.  I need to do my best job!  My absolute ALL!
Great.  Just realized I left papers at home.
Fill me with faith, hope, and love Jesus!
Destroy how the enemy's trying to destroy me!
Reason I shouldn't win in the natural: I post too much on FB and blog to be a winner.
Stop the pity party.  It is my responsibility to be strong.  I am COMMANDED to be strong, to strengthen my weak legs + feeble knees, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
Natural reason: it took me all fall to even finish the summer study.
Grateful: they're (my family) coming on this trip for my sake!  Wow!
So thankful!  Of course, they're all glad to come together on a vacation, but their support + love for me is tremendous.
My "man of self"=ungratefulness NOOO!
let's pursue righteousness!
Remaining plan of action:
perfect all verses
perfect all notecards
last 11 pgs. of Bible study
study 1 Timothy inductively
Perfect current Greek words
trust God's Word
be joyful
AND...ALL cross-references
11.14.2012  Set out 13 gospel tracts in the bathroom and building of the rest (truck) stop in Indiana.  One more left on the telephone booth.
One left under U of T shirt.
So thankful for the massive prayer support that has gone into this.
Tried to sleep last night but didn't (had slept all day on Tuesday thought, but after being up late packing Mon. night).
I've just been doing nothing, feeling like one who is losing, not winning, one who has lost, not won, who lost, who didn't win at all in any so many aspects of life.
Accidentally/unintentionally through Knoxville.  Gospel to homeless man.  Tons of homeless people.
I love you, LORD.
2012 National Bible Bee Journal Ends Here :)

This place is seriously like heaven on earth.  When I'm not with everyone, it feels like it was a dream a bit thinking back on it.

All my delight is in you, Kurios.