Thursday, August 28, 2008

No Regrets

I have the wonderful privilege of being related to Bethany Anne. She is my cousin and she, her siblings, my brothers and I have practically grown up together. Recently, Beth emailed me her thoughts on a study her church was doing. I found the email profound and incredibly thought provoking. I believe this is worth sharing and I hope you take something from this.

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"At church tonight, we started a new series called One month to live. It gives insight into how one would live their life if they knew they only had one month left to live. Tonight's lesson was called, Living the dash. Our Associate Pastor, Shane, said how sometimes he drove through one of our cemeteries and looked at the inscriptions that were on the stones. He observed that no matter what was written about the person, there was one thing that was synonymous throughout them all. they read something like this. Bethany Bell
1993 - _______
And from the time you were born to the time of your death was simply represented by a single dash. Though we have no control over when we are born or when we die, what we do in between is entirely up to us. He then gave several scripture points on how Jesus lived his life, and how we should attempt to mirror how he lived and eventually died. So, I thoroughly enjoyed the service, and it gives one alot to think about.

What would I do if I only had one month left to live?

One Month:

1. I would cry for about an hour because, well, duh! I am dying.
2. I would call( text, email) everyone I know and care about and tell them how much I love and care about them.
3. I would apologize to the people I have wronged, and ask for their forgiveness, and do the same with God.
4. I would go outside on a rainy day with my iPod and just dance till I passed out.
5. I would enter a 100 contests, because ( what the heck) I might win something.
6. I would take every penny I had and go to Europe. Mainly France, Italy, Cuba ( I think that's in South America), and to Jamaica where my mother was born. I would take my family with me.
7. I would track down some TV show host or somebody and make them put me on TV.
8. I would blow off all my homework and forget about the PSAT!!!
9. I would go to CA and visit my friend Rachel, who I have know for five years and never seen.
10. I would finally go on a real roller coaster. Sure, I would scream bloody murder, but it would be worth the experience all the same.
11. I would pray for inspiration and try and write MY song, the song I feel expresses who I am completely.
12. I would visit the Sistine chapel, and the Louvre in Paris.
13. I would pack up the majority of the things that I own, go to a third world country and give them all away.
14. I would go to Africa and hold an orphan child in my arms, and whisper to them that it was going to be all right.
15. I would thank God for giving me such an amazing life.
16. I would put together a video of myself for my family to look at and always remember.
17. I would smile as much as possible, laugh even more, love as hard as I could, and dance to all my favorite songs.
18. I would kiss someone, because really, is it fair to die with out being kissed?
19. I would visit the Grand Canyon, and Niagara Falls.
20. I would buy a grand piano and play more beautifully and fully then I ever have before."

What would you do if you had one month to live?

Strive to live your life in such a way that you harbor no regrets at the end of it.

"Life is too short for drama and petty things, so Kiss slowly, Laugh insanely, Love truly and Forgive quickly..."

blessings,
Alena

Friday, August 8, 2008

Isaiah 49:14-17, "But Zion said, The LORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her suckling child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me."



When I read this for the first time, my eyes filled with tears. Of late, I have been tempted to think that my Yaweh had forgotten that I existed. But, how could I think that? The God who created the entire universe, has counted me as something of extreme importance. I matter to Him. He never forgets about me. He permanently impressed me on His big hands. OH, my heart swells at the thought!!

Dear sister in Christ, remember these verses. I am going to memorize these verses, so in an hour of feeling forgotten, I can recite this verse to myself. I encourage you to look for other verses that remind us that our great God cares for us and is always with us.

If you are curious about this Jesus I love, and you know you do not know Him, let me help you get introduced. The Bible says in John that God sent His "only begotten Son", Jesus, to die for you and me. The Lord loves you dearly and wants to be the love of your life. Christ is the bread of life. He is knocking on the door of your heat. Let Him in. Tell Him you are sorry for your wrong doings. Tell Him you want Him to inhabit your heart, mind, spirit, and soul.
Jesus said in John 10:28, "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." HE LOVES YOU! Don't wait another day. Tomorrow may not come. Offer yourself to Him.
I will be keeping you in prayer.

His peace be with you.

blessings,
Alena

Friday, May 16, 2008

Journal Entry

Finally. No, not really. See...I was one of those people who looked at graduation as just another milestone. Not a gravestone with "RIP (not) SCHOOL" engraved on it. School isn't over. Life is not just beginning. In fact, it's been going for 18 years now. We're just stopping for a bit to celebrate. So no, not finally. But I am glad it happened :)

It was a humid rainy day. I never want to wear one of those robes again. Or those hats. Ever. Until college. By then I'll probably be so glad to be out of college that I'd gladly parade around in a robe all day if I had to. Rehearsal went great. There was something like 67 homeschooled students graduating at the ceremony in which we chose to participate. My job was the welcome speech. There were about 900 in the audience...so I'm not going to lie to you and say I wasn't nervous. Because I was. Anyone in their right mind would be just a little bit nervous to talk in front of almost 1,000 people. Goodness. But it went well. I didn't stutter or play fast forward. I also did not trip when mom and dad came up to give me my diploma. It was a good day.

Over the weekend, I went to an after party. Instead of just dancing the whole time (hip hop dancing for hours on end is really NOT in my best interests...) I talked theology with a few friends, had a jam session with a couple guitars outside in the dark, and yes, I did a bit of swing dancing. It was awesome.

Some of you may have seen a "Ryan" commenting on the blog here and there. There was also a link to the "Screen Watchers" blog for awhile before the site went down for maintenance. Over the weekend, we were blessed to spend some time with Ryan and his mother. It is always so wonderful to be around like minded families...and stay up into the late hours talking about it :) While they were here, Ryan, my sisters and I took a trip downtown to wander around before they flew out. While we were in the Rivermarket, we made a quick video for you guys to enjoy. Sorry for the recent absence, I will try to make up for it now that I have a little more time on my hands!

-Paige

Saturday, May 10, 2008

To The Mothers

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY TO ALL THE MOTHERS!

God bless you all on your special day. May you continue to get all the love and resepct you deserve.

Blessings,
Alena

Thursday, May 8, 2008

True Images

Hello, everyone. I'd like to introduce a wonderful young lady I know. Her name is Sarah Elizabeth, and she is actually good friends with Grace and Elizabeth(Caitlin and Paige's younger sisters). The other night Sarah Elizabeth emailed a bunch of her friends. I found the email a blessing. It's always wonderful when the Lord reveals something to His children. Especially something so wonderful as this!


Hi gals! I decided to approach a subject that, for a while, I've been silent about. I was reading my devotional tonight and prayed that God would just get it through to me tonight. Well, He did! I was reading this new book my mom just bought me called "Lies young women Believe, and the truth that sets them free" by Nancy Leigh Demos and Dannah Gresh. (This is an amazing book and EVERY young lady should read it. :D ) I read the whole chapter on guys and our standards of relationships and felt SO convicted! I realized how mediocre I had been on the subject and am asking you to forgive me for it.
I'm going to say it up front now and not beat around the bush. I made a commitment to the Lord tonight. I've been believing the lie that the world has been throwing at me! The lie that says I need a boyfriend or a relationship to make me valuable. That, at the very least, someone desirable by worldly standards has to like me for me to be an individual.

The Lord showed me that there's no room for compromise in a relationship. I wish every young woman could see that God did NOT create our hearts to be broken! But rather to be locked in a box, with God holding the key, to be opened in HIS time for HIS glory! God's standard of purity is high, but the rewards are worth the price of self-control!
I have made a commitment to the Lord: I purpose to NEVER become involved in a relationship with a guy who is not a true follower of Christ and does not meet my standards of the man the Lord would want me to marry. Meaning, he MUST be a leader, spiritually and physically. He MUST have his own commitment to stay pure. And he MUST love the Lord with all his heart and soul. I'm going to say up front, that I will NOT enter into a relationship until the Lord has unlocked my box with all my love for that man until HIS timing. Not mine.

You don't have to agree with me. But, I encourage you to make this decision for yourself. I can't make it for you. I'm not judging anyone at all! This is just something I'VE chosen to do. I can't hide behind the curtain of mediocrity anymore. This is what God wants me to do :D, and strangely, I'm at peace about it!

I love and care for you all so much!

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I pray no matter how young, or old, every woman would come to the same realization that Sarah Elizabeth has come to. It's never too late, for we have a merciful and understanding Father. He is in love with us and wants to be the Keeper of every part of your heart.

Proverbs 139:14, 17- "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well."
"How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!"

Blessings,
Alena

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Grass is Greener???

The first time my family saw our future home in Florida, we all responded with different degrees of dismay. We thought the place ugly, and very dismal. I was sure I'd be perfectly miserable living here, and I missed my old life in Arkansas. I couldn't wait to get out, and go somewhere. Anywhere.
As most of you know, I just returned from visiting Caitlin and Paige. I had a wonderful time, and enjoyed every moment of it. But, when I returned home, I was ecstatic. I screamed as loud as I dared, when the plane landed. Then, I saw my family!!! I jumped up and down with delight. As we drove home, past all the familiar landmarks , I drank in the sights. I was SO glad to be home! I didn't even think it was possible to miss Florida as much as I did! Honestly, I hated this place, not too long ago. Now, I love it. Don't want to be anywhere else. Imagine that. From abhorrence to joyful acceptance.



The grass is greener on the other side? I think not.

Blessings,
Alena

Journal Entry

"Is dawk ouside".

Her two year old voice was too young for her vocabulary. But still she talked on. It was about eight o'clock, and I had just rocked her little sister to sleep. The recliner made a soft ticking sound as I kept rocking, just to make sure she was fully asleep before I attempted to put her in her bed. Her two year old sister, tan,
gorgeous dark curly hair, and the cutest eyes you have ever seen, was leaning over the arm wrest beside me. She loved her little sister so much. But she was preoccupied with what was outside. So she told me again.

"Is dawk ouside. We can no go pay ouside."

She told me so matter-of-fact, shaking her head and pursing her lips, that I couldn't help but smile.

"That's right. It's too dark to go play outside right now."

She looked down for a minute. I glanced down to see her little sister open her eyes a little bit, so I continued rocking. She was so precious. Then the silence broke. Her big sister looked up at me with a soft glimmer in her eyes, that matched the tiny smile on her face.

"The dawk is good!"

I paused and looked at her. Most two year olds are frightened of the dark, or are at least annoyed by its presence because it interrupts their playtime, and is the cause of baths and bedtime. But she was still smiling at me, and an excited look was dawning her face. I looked at her for an answer.

"The dawk is good. God made the dawk!"

The dark is good. God made the dark. I repeated it to myself in my head, staring at her in disbelief. She was still looking at me, bouncing up and down a little bit. At that moment, I think I got goosebumps all over. It was one of those warm shivers you get when something amazing happens. I looked at her and smiled. It was genuine. God has many ways of teaching us life lessons. This one hit me hard.

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As I relayed the story to my mom and sisters, I started choking up. I began thinking about all the times I had questioned God's goodness. Why? Because I didn't understand. I didn't like not being able to grasp everything, or put things in little boxes. Over time, I was more able to accept the fact that the more I can't understand, the more powerful God becomes in my eyes. It's hard to step back and say "God is good" in the middle of trials. Maybe I was about to question things, and this saved me from it. I don't know. But I do know that God's power is revealed every single day. In the big things, but also in the places I least expect them. Like in the voice of a two year old girl. I am weak, and I don't understand. But I will step back and say "it is good". Because in my inability to understand and utter weakness, God is good.


To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.


2 Corinthians 12:7-10


-Paige