Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas :) :)

Well, as you might have guessed from my lack of blogs, a lot has happened this month. In fact, so much as happened that as I sit here trying to recall everything I find myself at a loss. So I guess I will just tell you about the few things I do remember doing :).

SCHOOL!!! 3 weeks of school and so much to do!! As the Semester raced towards finals my pen raced to keep up with it and the requirements of a large research paper, 2 speeches, and other finals-type activities. In the end it only cost me one night of absolutely no sleep and the whole week averaged out to about 4 hrs a night. But it is over and we have 2 weeks off :) :) :)

Sports: Basketball has been fun. We have played 1 game (loss to Gem State Academy) and we have 4 more games this week in a Christmas/New Year's tournament (yay!!.... well, playing at 9 am= not yay ;) ). I have also been doing Indoor track and had a race last week :). Volleyball practices for city league are starting soon :) :) :) :) :) :) .... as you have probably guessed, I am dreading the start of volleyball.... ;) :).

Singing/ Piano: I was able to participate in 2 caroling groups this December!!! I have never had so much fun as I did getting to sing out with all my heart to my Savior!! I also had a Piano recital... it went ok...

CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Christmas is one of my most favorite times of the year. Not because of all the presents (although those are super cool), but because of the meaning of Christmas: Jesus. This Christmas Season has been one of Spiritual difficulties... but, then again, isn't that what Christmas is all about? Showing us that we cannot even begin to think we could run our lives, that Jesus is the only way to true peace and happiness.

This Christmas, my family hosted our 2nd annual Christmas Eve Brunch. It was truly an amazing time and I thank God for all the people he brought!

Christmas day was quiet and family oriented... my favorite :) We went to a church service and then opened presents. The afternoon was a time for games :) and then we got a quiet time for sleeping and reading :). Our friend, Dave, was able to come over in the evening and we played more games and just had a merry time!!

I was not expecting many gifts, but for some reason I ended up with a pile on my lap :)
My brother, Josiah, surprised me with a super cool breast collar for my horse! My parents got me lots of books :) (of which I have already read one :) ) Liberty got me some pretty cool yarn that I have already started using to make a baby blanket :). From friends I got: a coffee mug, a necklace, hot chocolate mix :), a super cool scarf (green :)), a china tea cup, and an assortment of clothes :).

Random facts of the month:
Most random question I was asked: At a Christmas program, the photographer asked to take a close up of my shoes.
Got to see my first 3d movie: Hugo :)
Was told twice in two days by 2 different people that I would be in their prayers :)

Book Review:
"Doomed Queen Anne" by Carolyn Meyer 230 pg. Youth historical fiction.

This book traces the life of Anne Boleyn, her rise to power and her descent to death for treason.
Written in the first person, you enter the mind and heart of Anne, the younger sister in a power- hungry family. Her father sends her to the dutch court at age 6 and the French court at age 8. He is willing to sacrifice everything, even his daughters, on the alter of ambition just to rise one more rung on the ladder of influence.
Anne, the ill-favored child, with dark hair and other "blemishes", who has always been hated by her sister Mary, the pretty one. With Jealousy and hatred against her sister and her family, smoldering in her heart, she decides to use everything in her power to capture the heart of the most sought after King of her day, Henry VIII.

This book does an excellent job showing how Anne turned all her friends into enemies on her way up to the position of queen and so when she got there she was utterly alone. There was only one person that was not yet her enemy and with her "failure" to give him a son and her consequent rising panic she succeeded in turning him against her as well.

The author does a very good job at showing at the beginning, Anne as the young and beautiful sought after belle and Queen Catherine, the old, forgotten woman and at the end Anne is the forgotten one as King Henry has moved on to others.

The other thing that is clearly shown is the fact that power does not satisfy. Even though anne is queen she has no friends and no Savior, in essence, she has nothing.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Merry Christmas & the "Rest of the Story"

From David Barrett...

A Story for Christmas

Years ago, I was introduced to Paul Harvey by my wife's grandfather. Paul Harvey was a conservative radio commentator that had a daily news program and a daily story telling program called "The Rest of the Story." There were no other radio programs like the Paul Harvey programs then and there are no programs like them today. They were definitely unique, entertaining, and informative.

At Christmas time, Paul Harvey would often tell a story - a modern parable, he called it - that captured a key facet of why we celebrate Christmas. The story is better heard than read, and if you would like to hear the 1965 Christmas Day broadcast, you can use the following link:


Below is the script of the story: "The Man and the Birds"

I have designated this as my Christmas Story of the Man and the Birds. You know, THE Christmas Story, the God born a man in a manger and all that escapes some moderns, mostly, I think, because they seek complex answers to their questions and this one is so utterly simple. So for the cynics and the skeptics and the unconvinced I submit a modern parable.

Now the man to whom I'm going to introduce you was not a scrooge, he was a kind, decent, mostly good man. Generous to his family, upright in his dealings with other men. But he just didn't believe all that incarnation stuff which the churches proclaim at Christmas Time. It just didn't make sense and he was too honest to pretend otherwise. He just couldn't swallow the Jesus Story, about God coming to Earth as a man. "I'm truly sorry to distress you," he told his wife, "but I'm not going with you to church this Christmas Eve." He said he'd feel like a hypocrite. That he'd much rather just stay at home, but that he would wait up for them. And so he stayed and they went to the midnight service.

Shortly after the family drove away in the car, snow began to fall. He went to the window to watch the flurries getting heavier and heavier and then went back to his fireside chair and began to read his newspaper. Minutes later he was startled by a thudding sound. Then another, and then another. Sort of a thump or a thud. At first he thought someone must be throwing snowballs against his living room window. But when he went to the front door to investigate he found a flock of birds huddled miserably in the snow. They'd been caught in the storm and, in a desperate search for shelter, had tried to fly through his large landscape window.

Well, he couldn't let the poor creatures lie there and freeze, so he remembered the barn where his children stabled their pony. That would provide a warm shelter, if he could direct the birds to it. Quickly he put on a coat, galoshes, tramped through the deepening snow to the barn. He opened the doors wide and turned on a light, but the birds did not come in. He figured food would entice them in. So he hurried back to the house, fetched bread crumbs, sprinkled them on the snow, making a trail to the yellow-lighted wide open doorway of the stable. But to his dismay, the birds ignored the bread crumbs, and continued to flap around helplessly in the snow. He tried catching them. He tried shooing them into the barn by walking around them waving his arms. Instead, they scattered in every direction, except into the warm, lighted barn.

And then, he realized, that they were afraid of him. To them, he reasoned, I am a strange and terrifying creature. If only I could think of some way to let them know that they can trust me. That I am not trying to hurt them, but to help them. But how? Because any move he made tended to frighten them, confuse them. They just would not follow. They would not be led or shooed because they feared him. "If only I could be a bird," he thought to himself, "and mingle with them and speak their language. Then I could tell them not to be afraid. Then I could show them the way to safe, warm ...to the safe warm barn. But I would have to be one of them so they could see, and hear and understand."

At that moment the church bells began to ring. The sound reached his ears above the sounds of the wind. And he stood there listening to the bells - Adeste Fidelis – listening to the bells pealing the glad tidings of Christmas. And he sank to his knees in the snow.

This is exactly what God did. Philippians 2:5-7 tells us this fact:

"…Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men."

He became one of us; He became a man.

But, He did not enter this world as a fully grown man. No, He came in the delicate, fragile form of a newborn infant. He was born to Mary, a poor, lowly young lady, and his first bed was a manger – the feeding trough for animals.

It amazes me that God would enter the world in this fashion. We cannot fathom the humility it would entail to move from God of the Universe to a frail child among sinful mankind. Most people today are embarrassed to be around someone who is of a lesser "status" in society than themselves. But, there is not a status change in the economic, social, academic, or any other area that can be used to compare with the change of condition with which Christ had to undergo.

Yet, God, in Christ Jesus, did just that. He came to the earth to dwell among mankind. It is His birthday, into humanity that we celebrate.

And, now, as Paul Harvey would so often say, "The Rest of the Story":

As amazing as it is that God would become a man – what theologically is called the "incarnation" – to celebrate that act alone misses the true Christmas story. Just as the man in the parable above had a purpose for wishing he could become a bird, God had a purpose in becoming a man. The man in the parable wanted to provide a way for the birds to be saved from the winter blast. God, in Christ, had a purpose in providing salvation for mankind from the onslaught of sin.

God’s purpose for man's salvation, however, would require something never mentioned in the modern parable, and something likely never imagined by the man in the story. Philippians chapter 2, though, does include this most significant fact.

"And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." (Phil. 2:8)

Jesus came to the earth as a helpless baby in order to grow to be a man and die on the cross. If he had not died on the cross, then the real purpose for becoming a human being and being born in the Bethlehem manger would not have been fulfilled. If Jesus had been born and lived among mankind, but never died on the cross, then God would have spent time with man, but man would never be able to spend eternity with God. Only through the death of Christ on the cross is the penalty for man's sin paid, and the way for man to dwell with God opened to him.

Remember this Christmas season, that the celebration of the birth of Christ, God incarnate, is not the complete reason for our joy. Yes, Christ, God in the flesh, dwelt with mankind. That is an amazing and joyous thought. But, He came with a purpose which He did fulfill. Matthew, in his Gospel record of the birth of Christ told us of that purpose in the words of the angel who spoke to Joseph.

"…behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins." (Matt. 1:20-21)

The baby born in the manger, became a man, and the man Jesus freely humbled himself to death, even the death on the cross, that you and I might live.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas time is here!!!!

December is finally here which means that most people start "checking off" their Christmas lists, decorating their trees, setting up nativity scenes, and getting ready for Christmas in general. Does this mean that this is what Mercy Faith is starting to do??


Why is that?

Well maybe because she STARTED getting things ready for Christmas in.... oh.... September :P

Seriously though I am very Excited for Christmas.... (just ask HBC)....
but more than Christmas I am excited for all the things that Christmas represents... Jacob coming home in 10 days...Christmas Eve brunch with Family and Friends (held on December 24th :P)...lots of music (especially TSO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHioIlbnS_A&ob=av2e).... Family and Friends and everyone generally "jolly".......

But why is this time of the year SO special? Why do we give gifts? Why do we get together at this time of year? Why do we decorate? Why are we so happy? The answer to all these questions can be summed up in 2 words.............. JESUS CHRIST. He is the reason this time of year is so special; as believers we celebrate His birth because it represents the whole of his existence here on this Earth that culminated in that never forgotten 3 days in history in which He died AND rose again. We tend to be more joyful than usual because this time of year gives us cause to look at all the things He has given us, the most important being the gift of eternal life. When we look back and take the time to remember this last year, the last 10 years, the last 100 years, even to the beginning of time, we are just overwhelmed with his abiding Love and Mercy for us! Christmas is that time of year that God gives us as a special blessing to celebrate HIM with family and friends.. without HIM there would be no reason for this and it is all in vain. In the same way, if we let ourselves look away from Him and look to ourselves there is no reason for it all, it is all in vain, and we are left in a worse place than we were....

Last weekend and this weekend I was able to watch "The Scarlet Pimpernel" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Scarlet_Pimpernel_%281982_film%29) for the 6th and 7th times (oops... did I really admit that.. ;) ) and I thought that I would provide all of you with a review that would encourage you to watch it for yourselves... I am warning you that there are some spoilers in here so if you would like you can watch it for yourself starting right now with this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TU2RLwEsxT4

As the movie opens we are met with these daunting words "Paris, 1792 The Terror Begins", in the backdrop to these words is an even more ominous sight.... Madame la Guillotine. We are thrown into the midst of the French Revolution with its mass murder of the aristocracy by the New Republic which shouts for "Liberty, Egality, Fraternity!" and then looks the other way searching for more victims to send to the Guillotine. They have the bourgeoisie so stirred up that they care not for the river of blood that runs through their streets out of their own hearts.

Yet in the midst of this madness, a single group of men headed by a man who chose "nothin' more than a simple, wayside flower" to be their emblem, stand against this river and seek not only to change its course but to stop it all together. "Who is this elusive Scarlet Pimpernel?", is the question on everyone's tongue from the poorest beggar to the man who yesterday was an aristocrat and today is sitting in the Temple prison; from the man who directed the executions to Citizen Robespierre himself. One man is commissioned to find out the answer to this question.... Citizen Chauvelin.

Ah, citizen Chauvelin with his scheming mind and injured heart. His mind filled with images af siting on the Committee for National Security. His heart full of scars from the recent turning of his love Marguerite St. Just to that idiotic fop Sir Percy Blakeney, Baronet. But, of course, it is his money, more money than Chauvelin could dream of. Driven by his will for revenge on Marguerite and hatred for Percy, he will stop at nothing to get to the Scarlet Pimpernel... even when it could mean the death of the woman he once loved.

Sir Percival Blakeney, Baronet.... now here is a man who knows all there is to know about.... fashion and style and nothing else... with enough money to get everything he needs, except a wife, ... until he meets the beautiful Marguerite St. Just, who is not as enamored with his money as she is with him... With his identity as the Scarlet Pimpernel firmly masked, he confidently woos and wins "the most beautiful Actress in France" all the meanwhile, saving as many aristocrats as he can from Madame la Guillotine's bloody hands.

Marguerite St. Just, a simple bourgeois girl who has risen to fame as an illustrious actress in Paris. With her world spinning as she realizes her love for Percy and the man she seeks "behind the mask", she also encounters the twisted heart of Chauvelin and his unquenchable desire to ruin her... She is caught like a fly in Chauvelin's tangled web of deceit and try as she might, she cannot break free...

Alongside these three stunning characters, you also encounter their friends, each interesting in and of themselves.... Lord Antony Dewhurst, Sir Andrew Ffoulkes, Lord Timothy Hastings, Armand St. Just, and many others... each of them playing their part in this suspenseful story.

It is a story full of love and hate; envy and suspicion, courage and cowardice; and most importantly noblesse oblige.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Birth in America: What you haven’t been told

I was born at home. So were all my siblings. The older I get the more I realize that my parents were ahead of their time. In an effort to follow the Lord’s leading and apply His Word to their lives they made choices that were once considered outrageous, but are now almost mainstream.

The last 8 years I have spent much of my time and energy invested in pro-life projects - a crisis pregnancy center, and now The Morning Center - a pro-life maternity hospital and mobile care units which Samaritan Ministries plans to launch in the next 18 months. At each turn I seemed to bump in to questions about how modern Americans approach birth. I began reading articles, talking to friends, and casually informing myself about birth statistics in our country. The more I studied, the more I became fascinated..and horrified. And, the more I began to wonder if God was calling me to take the birth process in America on as more than a casual study.

What I have discovered has been shocking. American birth has gone from a process that was once reverenced and valued for bringing the next generation in to the world, to a process that is characterized only by pain and fear. Giving birth used to be surrounded by hope and plans for the future. Now it seems little more than a procedure that is rife with parental selfishness, medical greed, and a ever-increasing rate of risk - at least in mainstream birth practices.

One of the documentaries I just watched, entitled The Business of Being Born (please use discretion if watching), pointed out that the new “type of birth” being embraced in the lives of higher-end Americans is called “Designer Birth”. Yes, that’s right. A woman goes to her local doctor’s office and picks out what day she’d like her baby born, what time, and pretty much everything else - except the baby’s gender. What has our world come to?

The truth is this: God made women to bear children. That statement is pregnant with much more than meets the eye. Biologically speaking, however, it means that women’s bodies were designed to grow, nurture, and deliver a child. The bearing of children is not a result of the fall. Quite the contrary, a woman’s desire to have and bear children is part of God’s perfect plan for our universe and his ultimate redemption of and glory on earth. Rather, it is the pain and challenges of birth that are a result of the fall. Pregnancy and birth is natural. It’s the gestational diabetes, “morning” sickness, and pain of labor that is un-natural.

Unfortunately, modern American culture treats pregnancy as an illness, rather than a natural process. In a different documentary I watched, Pregnant in America (also use discretion), it was fascinating to me to see the difference in American and European (specifically, Dutch and German) approaches to child birth. Over 85% of babies born in Holland are born at home, under advisement of a midwife. When one of the new Dutch moms was asked if she’d rather be like an American woman that goes to the hospital, she was shocked and said, “But...I’m not sick.” Exactly.

In our culture we are told rush, rush, rush. But, the reality if something is worth anything, it is worth waiting and laboring for.

All of this, and we haven’t even broached the economic aspect of giving birth. I have a friend who runs Crisis Pregnancy Centers in New York City. A few of his clinics are actually located in hospitals that have Labor & Delivery. When I queried him on why his clinics were placed there, he said that doctors are actually paying him to operate there. Why? Because they make more money (whether being paid by Medicaid, a 3rd party payer, or self-pay) on live births than abortions. In other words, to these OB/GYN’s, it was economically advantageous for them to deliver a baby rather than abort one. It horrifies me that their business practices were based solely on economic grounds, and not moral. Who of all people should know the joy of bringing new life in to the world than a doctor who specializes in delivering babies?

Still, many times I am afraid we underestimate the economics of birth. It is always so important to figure out the economic motivations of any institution in society. Figure out where the money comes from and where it’s going, and you’ll know how to change it for the better - or the worse.

And, the greatest thing driving the economics of birth is the c-section rate. If a woman is convinced that she can’t have a natural birth and she needs surgery then the doctor can charge her more, the hospital can charge her more, and her risks go up, her recovery rate is going to take longer, and it provides more paperwork for the insurance companies - so it keeps them in business. In other words, it’s a winner for everyone...except Mom and baby.

The other thing that controls medical decisions by OBGYN’s and doctors at a hospital is that the are the puppets of Insurance companies. Why is this? Because they don’t want their malpractice or other insurance rates to go up. When do their rates go up? When someone calls foul. So, a doctor does what they must to protect themselves. They don’t want any decision they make in caring for a patient called in to question, so a doctor almost always takes the most extreme measures which means doing the radical c-section surgery (where they are fully protected and justified by their insurance).

Even if a c-section is not performed, other extreme measures, such as artificial induction often takes place. Pictocin is the most commonly used drug for inducing labor - it’s artificial oxytocin which causes distress to the women and the babies. And the scariest part of it all is that no one knows the permanent effects of this popular drug.

I could write on and on about this. Have you guessed that by now this is a topic I’m very passionate about...but, I don’t want to do all our research for you. I encourage you to read books, read blogs, and learn more about this very important topic.

As for me, I’ve launched in to studying to be a doula and midwife both on the side. In fact, I’m meeting with a local midwife this week to explore the possibility of apprenticing with her. Knowledge and experience are so vital in this field. And, the way I look at it even if I just accumulate knowledge for my own sake or for the sake of friends and family the studying and experience is worth it.

My mind keeps wandering back to the Israelite midwives in Egypt. Their knowledge to quickly assist the women and their wisdom in responding to the authorities of their time saved the lives of babies and preserved God’s people. Perhaps its time for medical professionals who are focused on high-quality health care, focusing on women and babies, to once again stand in the gap and change the face of birth in America.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

26.5 hours

As we pulled into our driveway at 6:30pm this Sunday, the thought occurred to me that I had been gone from Home for 26.5 hours.... that is a long time if you were not even gone on a trip :) This random thought reminded me of what I did in those 26.5 hours....

Last night, my good friend Becca picked me up and we stopped for Hot Chocolate and then went down for the City of Boise Christmas Tree lighting ceremony. It was a great 2 hours of Constant Christmas songs to sing along to. We sang everything from Silver Bells(My favorite :) ) and Jingle Bell Rock to Silent Night and Away in a Manger. We met up with my sister and her friends for a night of Thai food and Apples to Apples. It was a late night and we had church this morning. I got to drive Elysse's car for the first time to church... it was a lot of fun!! (only problem is that her car makes it way to easy to speed :/)
Church was a thankfulness service and it was amazing to listen to the testimonies of young and old alike (all the middle aged people too :) ) and see the hand of God throughout 2011.
After church was a shared meal and Ultimate Frisbee!

I was also able to go with my mom and visit my Grandmother... she has had some severe health chalanges this year and it was amazing to see her so improved, in very good spirits and praising her Savior with her every breath for His gift of life to her.

After our visit we went to Liberty's house for dinner and we finally made it home after a few other stops along the way....

26.5 hours is a long time but it is also a short time... makes me think of other timelines...

such as....

17 days until Jacob comes home
16 school days left in the semester
28 days until Christmas

Speaking of Christmas.... I am super excited... I have been playing Christmas Music as I have been moving rooms as well as any other chance I get. I have been planning all the goodies I am going to bake as well as getting ready to send out invitations to friends and family to join in the festivities. I am going Christmas Caroling this Friday as well as the 17th and attending a Christmas Concert on the 18th.... etc.....

Oh, did you notice I mentioned Iwas moving rooms.... yep... I am moving from my itty-bitty 8x10 "room" (that had no closet so I squeezed a wardrobe in it as well as a bed a dresser, a desk, and a nightstand) into an 11ishx12ish room that makes my twin bed look like a doll bed (it is quite amusing actually)... I am about a third of the way moved and am looking forward to getting to decorate "all myself"...#1 thing I am loving about my room right now: my space heater which I set to keep the temperature at 80 degrees..,. it is heaven :) (well... not quite, but I think you get the idea...)

Speaking of hours... I have to be moving in less than 5... so I better sign out...

In Christ,

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

... ... ... ...

As all of you who wait with bated breath each Sunday to read my weekly update have already noticed, I failed you this past Sunday :(
But why would someone such as myself, who knows how eagerly you all wish to read these little nuggets of Gold, why would I wreck your entire weekend....

Well, If you haven't noticed by now, I am a very sarcastic person.... but there is truth in the fact that I did not mean to not blog, I just found myself in a situation last Sunday where blogging was in effect impossible, namely, I found myself in the midst of the last practice/dress rehearsal for the 2011 Christian History Program (coming to Meridian THIS evening!!! -- aren't y'all so excited you can't wait ;) ) Anyways, as I was saying, as the indispensable actor/actress that I am, ahem I mean the fact that I play the vital role of Martin Luther (and others: court physician/soldier/bishop), made it impossible for me to skip this practice for the sole reason of blogging.... :sigh:

On a serious note, if all of you find yourself with nothing to do this evening around 6:45, please make your way to 925 N. Cloverdale Rd to see "The History of the Making of the King James Bible (an original production)" This highly dramatic series of skits involves a betrayal and a kidnapping, a death and a coronation, the plans of man and the hand of God.
P.S. Did I forget to mention the pie social afterwards ;) :)

This last 10 days have been just as busy as usual. Yesterday was the start of the Basketball season for the girls :) yay! I think that this season is going to be wonderful... the girls are all super cool!

However, I did find a snippet of time to read this week. As I did not have the time to go to the Library I took out one of my all-time favorite books "Carry on, Mr. Bowditch" to read for the 4th (or is it 5th) time. And I thought that for all of those unfortunate enough to have not read this book, I would try to give you a little taste of the wonderful story that unfolds on these pages.

As you open the cover, you enter the life of a 6 year old boy. In the middle of a family of 7 children that is struggling to survive during the depression caused by the American Independence, Nat's favorite escape is into the world of Mathematics. Through his amazing accomplishments,, Nat is noticed by Salem's preacher who encourages Nat's Parents to send him on to Harvard. But alas, with the death of Nat's Mother and Grandmother and the increasing depression after the War is over, Nat's father find's it necessary to indenture Nat to apprentice in the local Chandlery. ( a company that outfits ships). With his hopes of Harvard dashed, Nat learns how to "sail by ash breeze" through the trials of life. He finds solace in learning about all there is to know about sailing, recording it into notebooks, as well as learning French and Latin in order to study books such as Newton's Principia, even as he watches all of his brothers leave for the sea that he longs to explore himself. Even shut up in the safe environment of the chandlery, the cold winds of the storms of life have not yet left Nat's side as he watches his most beloved sister, Elizabeth, die from a fall, as he hold her hand, willing her to live if only for him.

Nat's life seems to be looking up as his 21st birthday comes and he is at last free from his indenture. He signs on a surveying crew and does that for about a year until he asked to go on a voyage as supercargo (navigator) and 2nd Mate. It is on this voyage that Nat starts teaching the men "before the mast" the art of sailing and navigation, a tradition he would keep up on each of his voyages. On each of his voyages in which he sails as navigator there is the imminent threat of danger from French and English ships. On each of these voyages Nat has his triumphs, such as finding a new way to work lunars (to find the ships longitude), and his defeats, like when he heard the news from home that his wife of less than 2 years had died from consumption. After his 4 voyages Nat settles down to working on his own book on Navigation. One that would explain that art to any common sailor. With his new bride, Polly, at his side and an honorary degree from Harvard, Nat is indeed set up to show the world that you can "sail by the book". And on his 5th voyage, Nat does just that. As Captain, Nat sails to the Sumatran Islands and back coming into Salem Harbor, one of the most dangerous in America, in so thick a fog the men could not see there hand in front of there face.

The most amazing things about this book is the fact that if you read it as a 12 year old or a 17 year old, it still holds your attention... you can still cry as well as rejoice with Nat on each step of his life.

Hope you have enjoyed this little synopsis and do find the time to let Nat into your own life someday,

In Christ,
Mercy Faith

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thoughts on life....

In life there comes moments where you get to watch as a loved one is honored for a certain accomplishment or talent. A lot of these moments come at a graduation but also for our family a lot come in connection with sports. I think that a memory I will always cherish is the league awards the year my brother Jacob was a Junior. That night I watched as he was awarded not only his Team MVP but also was voted unanimously by all the team coaches as the best player in the entire league. This weekend brought another CSAA all -league awards to the Barrett household. I had the pleasure of being able to sit back, smile, and cheer with all my heart as my two little brothers (who aren't very little any more :) ) were each honored by being chosen on the CSAA all-league teams. The Awards are a testimony to their talent and hard -work, but what is an award without anything of proof behind it? My brother, Joel, certainly proved his worthiness of the award on the first drive of the all-star game later that evening. Joel dove to catch a ball that was going out of bounds, kept his toes in bounds and still came up with the ball.... that play, I believe, embodies the reasons he was put on 1st team all-league: effort and aggressiveness (leaving it all on the field even when the play looks like an impossibility), brains and field awareness (knowing where you are on the field and what you have to do to make the play happen), and finally Joel has a heart for the game that enables him to play well purely for the sake of enjoying of the game.

All of this would count for nothing unless I also knew that all of my brothers, besides being great athletes they are on their way to being great men of God. They are learning to live life to the fullness as a way to glorify God.

Sports can be great fun as well as great tools to learn more about God as well as life lessons in general. When you ask God to give you a heart for Him he will in turn give you the brains and the ability to give the effort that he needs to so that you can glorify him with everything we are.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sunday Afternoon Ramblings....

Well, here we are, Sunday afternoon and guess who's blogging ;)

This week was one that was jammed full with activities!!!

1st round of the volleyball tournament that ended in a loss to Emmett in 4 sets. :(
Hanging out with friends for the rest of the night. :) :)

2nd round of the tournament, CA wins over River of Life in 5 games :)
Staying up late till all the games are over :(

Got out of school to go to volleyball Practice :)
Made my German teacher mad :(
Got a nap :)
Went Pie-selling :(

3rd round of tournament, lost to CHAMP in 3 sets

Azure :(
Play Practice :)
Watched the final volleyball games :) :( :)
Hung out with friends :)

Slept in :)
Worked :(
Gym :)

All - in -all this year we had a great volleyball season. I grew alot spiritually and mentally as well as learning alot about volleyball. Caleb is an awesome coach and I am so thankful that he gave of his time to coach us!!! Besides being a spiritual leader for the team, he made two of my volleyball dreams come true: 1) We got to run a 6-2 for most of the year (in this rotation I was able to pass, set and hit) and 2) I got to hit right-side :)

Today I was supposed to get my senior pics taken as I wanted to have the changing of the colors as my "theme". however with the weather, the photographer rescheduled for Thursday. I was kinda disappointed (especially when the sun came out an hour later) but it was probably for the best since I have been sick all week and am still running a fever :(

I have a ton of homework to do so I better hop to!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Well, in light of the fact that I took my personality test and it came back as a ESFJ (Extroverted, Sensing, Feeling, Judging) and one of the big characteristics of my personality type is that I like to uphold tradition I felt that I should blog today sice I have blogged the last 2 Sundays.

Yesterday, my brothers led the Covenant Academy Rebuilders to a victory over the Hope House Heroes which earned them a 3rd place trophy in the CSAA. After going out to dinner with the cousins we decided to go bowling. I was still in my Business skirt that I had worn to The Idaho book Extravaganza that morning, but I managed. Besides the fact that I did fall over once while bowling and that I did look slightly strange in a "pencil" skirt with bowling shoes, I still was able to pull of a victory in the second game with a score of 117.

Tomorrow is my volleyball team's first tournament game. We are the fifth seed which means we are playing #4 Emmett. We are pretty evenly matched with them but I am confident that if all of us girls stay mentally and spiritually strong that we can win. But as they say.... "time answers all questions."

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Book Review: Deception

Hey everyone!!

Being a senior and all that I have been hard pressed to find time to get books from the Library much less read them. However, when the feeling of stress did nothing but increase I knew I had to face the situation head-on with my "old-as-time, Mercy fix-all" i.e. reading a good book. (Usually when I am feeling OVERWHELMED I do one of two things: 1. pound on the piano for at least 20 mins if not an hour until I know I am not scowling anymore or 2. disappear into the enormous landscape of a most amazing novel)

So this time I decided to "make" myself sit down at the computer and put "Deception" (by Randy Alcorn), the book I have been waiting almost 4 years to read, on hold at the Library.

I proceeded to read it over a span of 4 days (on a big-Azure weekend that my sister came home) and I thought it would be cool to use this blog to write a book review.

I am going to start this highly questionable post with a disclaimer: This is the First book review I have ever attempted and so please do not judge too quickly or harshly.

After 4 years of edge-of-your-seat anticipation, you would think that the book would have a hard time meeting those highly placed expectations , but this book passed the test with flying colors!

As you open the pages you enter the world, life, and even the mind of one Detective Oliver Justice Chandler. With his dog Mulch and his trusty guns Ollie faces murder every day. As a homicide detective with the Portland police he is one of the 10 criminal-catching masterminds that that city keeps on their toes. This beer-drinking, double cheese, double pepperoni pizza loving crime-fighter is also fighting the notion that a good God would allow the evil that he sees every day into this world. Haunted by the death of his wife to cancer and his subsequent dysfunctional relationships with his daughters, he fights on to serve the victims, and their families, the justice only he can bring about. When the mysteries of an elaborate murder continue to close in on him, he still refuses to look to God yet cannot deny the things that Jake Woods and Clarence Abernathy continue to point out as God's fingerprints.

Deception has many qualities which I admire in a novel:
The story's telling itself was absolutely superb.
One minute you think you have the case all figured out and the killer has got to be nailed down on the next page... you just know it... but alas, the next page comes and not only is the person you had already convicted cleared another suspect is definitely the killer and then on the next page after that you are wondering how anyone in the story could be such a devious schemer.

The Character development was amazing.
Not just Ollie's journey as he works through thoughts about Christianity but also the development of the sub-characters even to the personality of his dog.

The shifting of moods was very good.
I remember at one point (about 2/3 rds through) crying through one page and laughing at the next. The measure of suspense was moderate throughout yet fluctuated enough to keep your heart beating different rates.

The Parallels drawn were incredibly thought out and eye-opening.

The showing of the influence parents have on the out comes of their children I think can be convicting for anyone.

The truth that "things are not always as they appear" and that "deceptions" lurk everywhere could not have been more clearly shown.

I liked how quotable it is (almost as much as a movie :)) and I loved the Sherlock Holmes quotes that started each chapter.

All in all it was a fantastic read that I would recommend to readers above the age of 15 or 16.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

10 Blessings

I was very amazed as I looked back over this last week and realized how many blessings God has given me and I just wanted to share a few of them:

1. A loving, understanding, and supportive family
2. Friends that make me laugh when I get down
3. An opportunity to go to School to learn more and more
4. An opportunity to play sports with some of my best friends
5. The freedom to go to church and worship Him
6. The gift of a consistent job
7. The ability to run
8. The rain... so lovely
9. The most amazing piano teacher in the world!
10. The biggest and best God who actually cares about such a small person as me and is actually interested in not only being involved in but using my life for His purposes....

And the list could go on......

I encourage you to take a minute this morning to stop and count your blessings and I am sure that the number would be greater than you would have thought. :)

Have a wonderful week,
Mercy Faith Barrett

Monday, October 3, 2011

400th Anniversary of the KJB, Part 1 by David Barrett

400th Anniversary of the KJB

(English Authorized Version)

Part 1

“The apple of my eye”; “A man after God’s own heart”; “Don’t cast your pearls before swine”; “At their wits end.” These and a multitude of additional sayings have entered the English speaking cultures worldwide from one book. They show the great impact that one book, the Bible, and more specifically, the English Authorized Version, has had in the lives of English speaking people. The English Authorized Version is more commonly known to us and throughout history as the King James Bible.

The King James Bible has united kingdoms and divided kingdoms. It has been accepted overtly and promoted covertly. It has inspired authors, play writers, housewives and athletes. The King James Bible has shaped the English Language and it has been a tool to teach the English Language. Many authorities would consider it the finest work in English Literature.

For almost its entire existence, it has outsold any other work. Only in the last 30 years have other versions begun to surpass it in annual sales. No work of the Bible will likely every pass it in total sales.

Only in the most recent generation are there a significant number of children being raised who are unfamiliar with the KJB. Yet, their language, the expressions they use, the version of the Bible they read from and the world they live in, has all been impacted by this monumental work.

The year 2011 marks the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible. Few people know its history, yet this work has been a major part of their lives and their history. The history of the bringing forth of the KJB is a fascinating history of political intrigue and religious conflicts; yet, an ultimate uniting of followers of differing factions. A uniting under a single task to which all who participated in could agree. The history of the KJB is definitely a story that identifies the Providence of God. God is at work in all that occurs. There are times, however, that special acts seem to take place that, if they had not, the resulting historical events would never have taken place. This is the case for the coming about of the KJB. When the full history of that momentous event is considered, though the intrigues and designs of men are clearly evident, the hand of God cannot be denied.

The King James Bible was the result of 7 years of work involving 47 scholars working at times individually and in 6 separate committees. That alone is astounding, especially when one considers the factions within the Church of England ranging from committed Anglican to ardent Puritan. However, to start the story at that point, would be to miss so much of what had occurred previously to bring the history of England and its state church to that point.

One could begin the history of the King James Bible with King James I, the reigning King of England at that time and the one who approved, sanctioned and had the ultimate oversight of the plan. This would be a better point of origin for this story. However, to begin with his reign, which started less than a year before the idea was conceived, would again miss many great opportunities to see God’s Hand at work. For, you see, how James became the king of England is a story in which the Hand of Providence shows clearly. Additionally, to understand James as King can only come about through understanding his background and upbringing, which is a fascinating story in and of itself.

The make-up of religion in England at the turning of the 16th to the 17th century was quite unique. The primary Church was the Church of England, the State church. However, within this Church was a growing and influential faction of individuals called Puritans. The Puritans were gravely concerned with the external ceremonial aspects of the worship in the Anglican Church and wished to purify the Church of these and bring it back to what they saw as the more simple and pure worship of the early Church. Those that were impatient with the attempts at purifying the Church of England had taken a further step and separated from the Church. These Separatists met in homes and pursued “individual reformation with our tarrying for any.” They
also experienced the wrath of the Church and State causing many to flee England and some to journey to America as our early Pilgrim settlers. There was also in England a strong Catholic subculture. This group also had an influence upon what was happening in England in both the Church and the State.

In England, the king is head of both State AND Church. This unique united headship was what King James inherited. This dual headship had been formed almost 100 years before James was offered the English crown. Though the beginning of the Church of England would serve as a good starting point, to begin our story there would leave out one last and crucial element. An element that shows the dedication of committed Godly men and the mysterious, yet majestic workings of the Providence of God.

You see, the history of the making of the King James Bible is certainly a part of the history of the Political movements of England. It is also most certainly part and partial of the history of the Religious developments in that country. But, more than any of these streams of historical events, the history of the making of the King James Bible is the history of individual men responding to the call of God to bring the Word of God to the eyes and ears of every individual. The history of the King James Bible is His Story – God’s Story – of causing His Word to begin covering the
earth as the waters cover the sea.

Where do we begin? We begin with the life and work of one, solitary man – a man who heard and responded to God’s call to bring His Word to the common person of England, a man who risked his life to make that call a reality. This man preceded the event we are celebrating by more than 200 years. Yet, it is to John Wycliffe, the Morning Star of the Reformation we must turn to appropriately begin the relating of the history of the making of the King James Bible.

John Wycliffe was born in Yorkshire, England in 1328 and grew to become an excellent scholar at Oxford College. There, at Oxford, he obtained his bachelor’s degree in theology and later his doctorate of divinity. He was a serious student of God’s Word, believing that it contained all truth and was to be the final authority in the Christian’s life. As a result, this belief led him to positions that were contrary to the Catholic Church. He did not hold the Church as the final authority because that was the place of Scripture. He did not hold that the Pope was the head
of the Church, because that was the place of Christ. And, he believed in a type of separation of spheres of jurisdiction between Church and State. The Church should be over the state in matters spiritual and the state was over the Church in matters temporal.

These and other positions held by Wycliffe put him at odds with the Catholic Church and he was eventually forced out of his influential position at Oxford and into a small country Parrish. But, what men had meant for the purpose of silencing Wycliffe’s voice, God determined for the advancement of His Word. For, it was under these conditions that Wycliffe could give his full attention to the ultimate conclusion that flowed from his conviction that the Word of God is the final authority in the Christian’s life. What was that conclusion? It was this, put the Word of God into the hands of people.

At that time, God’s Word was read, spoken and explained in Latin, a language few commoners understood. The little they knew of the worship of God was the ceremonial formalities of worship and the little scripture spoken of in English. Few could read English, let alone Latin. Wycliffe was determined to change this. So, he set about translating the Holy Scriptures into English from the Latin Vulgate Scriptures of St. Jerome. He began with the Gospel of John.

However, putting the Bible into English was not enough, for, as I mentioned, few could even read their own language. Thus, Wycliffe had to have a greater plan involving a number of helpers. These helpers came in the form of individuals that were called Lollards. The Lollards would carry out into the communities portions of Scripture that Wycliffe had translated into English. Wherever they could get people to gather, they would share the Scriptures with them in their own language. Even more importantly, however, they would find eager and bright individuals and teach them to read. In this way, their efforts were multiplied as those individuals could continue sharing God’s Word with their friends and neighbors even after Wycliffe’s Lollards moved on to other communities.

Thus, the Wycliffe Bible of 1382 became the first of the English translations. Being the first such translation, then, the Wycliffe Bible is in a very real sense the origin of the King James Bible.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

20 down, 120 to go

The countdown continues....

As I make my way along the twisted and treacherous highway that has been labeled "Mercy's Senior year", I cannot help but wish it would slow down and speed up at the same time. Slow down so that I can enjoy the views and take in the scent of the rain as well as the glorious rays of sunlight. Speed up so that I can reach my destination and start on the next path that God has for me. Slow down so that I can enjoy the times with family and friends, take deep breaths of life- sustaining air and drink deep of the water, that is Christ. Speed up so that I can see the end results, so that decisions will have to be made............... and on and on........................

So as I come to Today, Sunday, September 25th, a day filled already with fun, food fellowship, and friends ; and one that promises more of the same, I see that it is worth it to make myself slow down... Slow down to give a smile, a hug, and a pillow pet to my sister as she turns 22. Slow down to text with my brother who is on the front lines of the culture war as he goes to college. Slow down and spend 20 mins on the phone with my sister I haven't seen in over 2 months. Slow down to give my brother a hug as he congratulates me after a close volleyball loss. Slow down to make those memories with my family, slow down to remember them.

With only 120 school days left, the highway speed limit keeps increasing and my vehicle, that is life, is keeping right up with it. With School 5 days a week, Volleyball 4 days, Running 3-4 days, work about 2 days, Piano once a week, and Choir every other week it seems as if I only get to blink in between Sundays when I get a respite and come before God to find peace among the craziness. but despite the intense speed, God has been good, teaching me a new life lesson every day and giving me time to nurture my relationships with family and friends...

In school, I am taking aton or super interesting classes, one of them being German Studies. I thought to give you a taste of what I am learning I would share with you the paragraph I wrote last week.

Ich ging einkaufen. Ich fuhr mein Auto zum Supermarkt. Im Supermarkt kaufte Ich Milch, brot und andere Lebensmittel. Auserhalb des Supermarkts, sah ich meine Freundin, Rebecka. Sie hat auch Lebensmittle gekauft, Ich ging aus den Supermarkt und ich ging auf die Bank und die Post. In der Post, fand ich einen Brief von meiner Schwester. Ich fuhr nach dem Park, um meinen Brief zulessen. Gegenueber dem Park gab es ein Cafe. Ich ass in dem Cafe. Ich trank Kaffee und ass Schokoeis mit Schlagsahne. Ich wurde krank, nach ich ass. Ich ging nach hause und ich lag mich in meines Bett. Ich schlief acht Stunde. Wann ich wachte, war es shon Morgen.

(If you don't understand any of this you can email me and I will give you a translation ;) :) )

I am also taking an Oratory class for which I have a speech due tomorrow which I have not done/finished/started yet...............................

Besides this somber fact, the weather outside is calling my name even as it makes me smile...


Friday, August 26, 2011

Adventure in the Big City!

This afternoon as 2 of my brothers and I sped through town, as fast as 5 o'clock traffic would allow :), I was imagining a nice quiet late afternoon in a nice restaurant with my Aunt, Friend, and Brothers with lots of good food and a time for creating memories for each of us to carry in our hearts through the long months of separation that begin as of this Saturday as my brother Jacob will be headed back to Hillsdale to undertake his sophomore year of undergraduate studies. However, even though the evening took some unexpected twists and turns, there were many memories made and 5 smiling faces at the end of our little adventure.

The adventure began the moment we stepped foot in the Restaurant....

As the door quietly swished to a stop we were informed by the head waitress that since we were under 21 and this restaurant was technically a bar (they had a bar area but it was not a "bar" and our Aunt already had a table reserved on the patio) that we had to leave the premises. When I them pointed out my Aunt seated at her table and informed her that we were here to meet her, she said the rule still stood and that we needed to leave. My aunt saw us and came over to see what the hold-up was; she then decided that she would pay for the food she had already ordered (the appetizers) and we would take it to go. The waitress said that that would be fine but that Jacob, Justin, and I needed to wait outside....

So we waited outside and tried not to look too awkward (quite a feat as we felt quite awkward :))

Our food and ourselves were ready to go in about 7 minutes, so the next decision we had to make was where to eat. There were some park-type benches along the curb across the street so we sat there and began to dig-in while my Aunt picked up the tab. When she came to join us, we saw that there was not enough room for her on the bench so we decide to walk up the street about 30 feet and sit on the "Thomas Hammer Coffee Co." Patio and enjoy our food a wee bit more comfortably. But alas, the sign on the window informed us that the Patio was for "valued customers of THCC only". So we decided that the only logical answer was to sit down and become "Valued customers of THCC". Which we did with a purchase of 2 glasses of sparkling cider and 2 iced coffees.

When we had cleaned up then last of the nachos and mini quesadillias, another decision demanded our attention: Where to eat dinner. Along 8th street, where we were at presently, there were a variety of restaurants and we settled on either the Pizza Parlor or the Mexican Restaurant. After walking a while half-a-block, thouroughly investigated both establishments, and a time period of indescission, we all settled on having Mexican. After we ordered and sat down to enjoy our meals of burrito, salad, and nachos; we spent the free time inbetween bites of food discussing our observations about the steady stream of people that were walking, biking or driving on the road in front of us. There were various couples as well as a motorcyclist who was trying to pick some one up; the buisness men and the boys in shorts and t-shirts; the families out for a pleasant bikeride in downtown Boise as well as people just out enjoying the wonderful weather.

The evening came to a close as my Aunt and friend had to leave to keep an appointment, however just for "old times sake", Jacob took Justin and I to Fanci-Freeze downtown and we all had soft-serve cones.

The evening, in spite of and because of, its many "abnormalities" and "spontaneities" was super fun and a time I will not be forgetting anytime soon :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Year 2

As August 2011 quickly retreats towards the cesspool of months past, the view ahead reveals coming attractions that both excite and daunt.

First, Boise State football is peeking its beautiful head above the horizon of our lives. It now bears down upon us with the exhilarating speed of a runaway train. A Blue and Orange blur of beauty and power, destination: Georgia Dome, September 3rd. All Aboard!!!

The train and I are headed for a crash course meeting in Toledo, OH on September 16th. The countdown to 2 and 0 begins now.

Second, the excitement of a fall sports season reminds that Fall is indeed on its way and the school year is beginning far and wide. This Saturday (Aug. 27), I embark on perhaps my most harrowing mission to date. I begin my second year at Hillsdale College. My first year of College presented many challenges, provided many learning experiences, opened up new friendships, and fulfilled my fullest expectations. This year I expect more of the same... with a few changes coming that I hope will enhance my experience towards perfection (maturity) in Christ Jesus.

On the school side of things, I am mostly clear of Hillsdale's core requirements, allowin me to focus on the special calling on my life. With that in mind, I am taking two Politics course this semester moving me towards that major. These are Introduction to American Foreign Policy and Regimes: Classical and Modern. To say that I am looking forward to these would be a gross understatement. Not far behind are my two philosophy courses: Ancient Philosophy and Modern Philosophy. These will put me in a position to pursue either a minor or major in this discipline. Rounding out my academic coursework will be a University Physics class. This class serves the purpose of fulfilling a core requirement and giving me a final insight into my decision whether to pursue a minor in this science.

New to this year, I am a member of the George Washington Fellowship. This program is put on by the Kirby Center wing of Hillsdale focusing on research of Constitutional issues. The benefits of this program are both monetary (tuition scholarship) and practical (through it I am automatically accepted to the Washington-Hillsdale Internship Program, giving me the opportunity to intern in DC sometime during my Junior or Senior Year; my plan is for Spring 2013). Not without its costs, I am expected to spend 10 hours a week on "Constitutional Research Service". This will be a large time commitment, basically like adding another class, but I am looking forward to the experience.

Back to the tried and true, I once again plan to participate with the Hillsdale Rugby Football Club. Last year, I learned rugby and enjoyed it immensely. It provides ample opportunity for physical exercise within my budgeted time schedule.

As far as new goals for this year, I plan to: 1. Get more involved with clubs on Campus and make wider connections among those with similar interests; 2. Start a campus chapter of the national organization Young Americans for Liberty, creating greater opportunities for political involvement; 3. Develop deeper friendships; and 4. Deepen my relationship with Christ and use my knowledge to help those that God has given me moment to influence.

All in all, this year is shaping up to be one of the busiest of my life. Your prayers are definitely appreciated. I find great thrill in the amazing plan of God in my life and generally.

Lastly, I hope to keep greater contact with many of you this year so feel free to contact me on Facebook, by e-mail, or via this blog.

Jacob Barrett
Virtue Rejoices in the Challenge.

Monday, August 15, 2011

NFL 2011 Power Ranking


1.Green Bay 0-0 32
2.Pittsburgh 0-0 31
3.Chicago 0-0 30
4.New England 0-0 29
5.NY Jets 0-0 28
6.Baltimore 0-0 27
7.Atlanta 0-0 26
8.Seattle 0-0 25
9.New Orleans 0-0 24
10.Philadelphia 0-0 23
11.Indianapolis 0-0 22
12.Kansas City 0-0 21
13.Tampa Bay 0-0 20
14.NY Giants 0-0 19
15.San Diego 0-0 18
16.Oakland 0-0 17
17.Jacksonville 0-0 16
18Miami 0-0 15
19.St. Louis 0-0 14
20.Detroit 0-0 13
21..Minnesota 0-0 12
22.Houston 0-0 11
23.Washington 0-0 10
24.Dallas 0-0 9
25.Tennessee 0-0 8
26.San Fransisco 0-0 7
27.Cleveland 0-0 6
28.Arizona 0-0 5
29.Cincinnati 0-0 4
30.Buffalo 0-0 3
31.Denver 0-0 2
32.Carolina 0-0 1

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Welcome to this Sunday edition of the Everything Barrett blog.

Our Top news story tonight is the dread realization that school is starting on Aug 22nd. Having gotten fully prepared this last weekend, it is now for us to wait this week living in the shadow of the impending doom of the start of school... or something like that :)

In other news, Jacob is coming home this week and spending a whole week with us before he goes back to college....

Volleyball and Football have started practicing and games start at the end of August. Both teams have new coaches and things are definitely looking good :)

Other things on the agenda, this week include: Choir, Family time, work, Azure, and friends weddings.

Encouraging you to have a good week and to seek God in all that you do, this has been your host, Mercy Faith.... Good night.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Family Reunion 2011

This last weekend was our family reunion. It was one of the most amazing times that our extended family has had in a long time.

We kicked the weekend off with a bike trip down the Hiawatha Trail. We had times for Volleyball and Huckleberry picking; jet skiing and boating; talking and playing games. We also had times for sharing about ourselves and learning about others. We had times for sharing of God's work in our lives and for hearing of others' growth in The Faith. It was a time of getting reacquainted with cousins we had not seen for years and a time of meeting ones we hadn't met before. It was a time to grow closer to each other and closer to God. There was a time to celebrate the blessing God has given us in Family and the Faithfulness shown there. The many anniversaries that were celebrated were a huge example of the Faithfulness of God. My Grandparents celebrated their 55th, my parents their 30th, my Uncle and Aunt their 27th, my other Uncle and Aunt their 28th, and my cousin and her husband their 7th. What a testimony! :)

But the biggest feeling that I left last weekend with was complete undeserving of the wonderful family that God has given me!!! To be surrounded by people who love me and love God was the most amazing experience.... I am truly blessed!!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Daily Bible Reading: July 18-24

This week we cover Numbers 6-10. We will read about the Nazarite vow, the completion of the
tabernacle, the 12 dedication celebration, the institution of the Levitical priesthood, celebration
of the Passover, and the organizing of the congregation of Israel to move on. The life of the
nation of Israel foreshadows much of the life of the Christian. I pray that our devotionals will
help you see these connections and that they in turn will encourage your faith and edify your life.

Remember the specials we are offering this month (Already Gone and Already Compromised).
Not only will you be further equipped to walk a faithful Christian life and to help your fellow
believer to see the dangers for them and their children that surround them in today’s culture, but
you will be helping this ministry as well with your purchase. Additionally, as with each and
every purchase of our monthly specials, we pass a 20% savings on to you. Details and ordering
instructions for this month's specials can be seen at the end of this e-mail.

May God continue to bless and guide you and your family,

David Barrett, Director

Biblical Worldview Learning Center



Date: July 18

Reading: Numbers 6:1-27

The Nazarite vow was a special vow that an Old Testament Israelite could enter into if he or she
felt called to enter into a special time of devotion to the Lord. There was no set duration of the
vow; it was a personal commitment for each individual who entered into it. During the time of
the vow, the person was required to abstain from certain things. In particular, he or she had to
abstain from anything that was from the vine. That would include dried or fresh grapes or the
wine made from the grapes. They would also stay away from any strong drink. Additionally, he
was not to cut his hair and could not participate in the burial of a person (even a relative) or be in
the presence of a dead person.

A Nazarite was probably pretty easy to spot with his long hair and special eating prohibitions.
Other Israelites would easily recognize a Nazarite and know that here was a person that was
taking very serious his relationship with the Lord.

We can learn some lessons from the Nazarite. First, we can see that there could be, and probably
should be, times in our lives when we pull back from the "normal routine" of life and concentrate
on our relationship with God. We can grow in our spiritual life and strength by having times
when we overtly focus our attention on God, Who He is, and our relationship with Him.

Secondly, we should realize that as Christians we, in a sense, always have an identification
with the Nazarite of old. You see, we are marked in a special way by Christ, and identified with Christ. Thus, we, too, need to draw back from some of the things that the world would
consider "normal." Things that would confuse our living testimony to the world of our love
for, and commitment to, Jesus Christ should be eliminated from our lives. Our focus, like the
Nazarite’s focus, should be to please God in every way.

This leads to a third and final connection between us, as believers, and the Old Testament
Nazarite. Again, you could spot a Nazarite. You knew by his looks and his life, that he was a
Nazarite. We, as Christians, should be so marked that others can identify us as different from the
world and committed to a God pleasing life. One of the greatest witnesses to our life testimony
you and I can receive is when someone who does not know the Lord in a loving and saving way,
looks at us and says, "You're different than everyone else, why is that?" With that question, the
Holy Spirit just may open the door for you to give a clear testimony to your life in Christ and
receive a new brother or sister in Christ.

Date: July 19

Reading: Numbers 7:1-29

Verse 1 tells us that the time of these events we are reading about in Numbers 7 occurred on the
day the tabernacle was finished and the immediate days following. You may remember that
when you read the Book of Exodus, it ended with the completion of the tabernacle. Exodus
chapter 40 tells of Moses setting up the tabernacle, putting all the furnishings inside and
anointing each part. Verse 33 of that chapter in Exodus ends with these words, "So Moses
finished the work." The final 5 verses of Exodus 40, which end that book, tells us nothing more
of that day's events. We find those events in this chapter of the Book of Numbers that we are
reading today.

The Book of Numbers tells us that the princes of Israel brought offerings for the tabernacle
that were given to the Levites for their service. They also had a 12-day long dedication service
for the altar of the tabernacle. The Israelites were very excited about what they had just
accomplished for the service of God. Because of that excitement, they were very willing to give
of themselves. What is important in any work of God and in any thing we do, is our long-term
commitment, and not just the excitement for the moment. As we read through the story of Israel,
we will want to see what their long-term dedication is.

It is exciting whenever anything new gets started. It is easy to be committed to new and exciting
ideas or activities. But, it is the long-term that really demonstrates our character and true
commitment. Ask God for endurance to stay committed to the things that are honoring to Him
and purposeful for your life.

Date: July 20

Reading: Numbers 7:30-59

The daily dedication continues as each prince of each tribe of Israel brings his offering for the
dedication of the altar. The altar represents the place of sacrifice for sin. It is the place where the appeal to God goes up for acceptance before Him. Now that Jesus has come and is our
eternal sacrifice before God for sin, we are to bring the sacrifice of praise and prayer. Bring
your "sacrifice" to God in prayer and thank God today for His forgiveness of your sins and
praise Him for His love and care over your life.

Date: July 21

Reading: Numbers 7:60-89

The twelve days of dedication for the altar come to a completion at the end of chapter 7. Day
after day, each prince of the tribes of Israel, brought his offering for the dedication service. Each
brought silver and golden utensils and bowls. Each brought a meat offering, incense, a bull,
ram and lamb for a burnt offering. Each brought a goat for a sin offering. And, each brought
two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five lambs for a peace offering. What a tremendous
amount of items and number of animals that were brought. The total amount is given for us in
verses 84 – 88. The amount is almost overwhelming.

God is not interested in those kinds of sacrifices and offerings from us today. He wants the
sacrifices of praise and the offering of a pure and willing heart. Seek God and ask Him for the
kind of heart He desires you to have. Give God the praise He deserves.

Date: July 22

Reading: Numbers 8:1-26

All having been dedicated over the past 12 days, it was now time to institute the Levitical priests
for service in the sanctuary of the tabernacle. In this chapter, the instruction for that cleansing
service was given, and the service was done. The Levites, a people set aside within Israel by
God, were now ready to carry out their duties within the tabernacle.

All must be clean and holy to come before God. That is why the special cleansing and sacrifices
had to be done for the Levites so that they could participate in any such activities for the people.
We know, however, that there is nothing we can do by ourselves to actually make us clean
enough before God. We are all affected and made unclean by sin. Only through Jesus Christ can
we be found acceptable before God.

The cleansing of these Levites was for a time of service. The cleansing we can receive in Jesus
Christ is for all eternity.

Date: July 23

Reading: Numbers 9:1-23

On the first day of the first month of the second year after the Israelites had come out of Egypt,
the tabernacle was finished and all set up. In the 7th chapter of this book, we read how they had
a 12 day dedication period for the tabernacle and especially for the altar. Now, the 14th day of the first month is approaching and that is the anniversary of the night that all the first born of
Egypt were killed and when Pharaoh told the Israelites to leave his land. This is the anniversary
of the Great Exodus, when God brought Israel out of Egypt.

You probably remember that Israel had a special feast that night in Egypt. They were told to kill
a lamb and spread its blood on their doorposts and on the overhead part of the door. That blood
protected their household from being struck by God and the killing of their firstborn children and
animals. That was the Passover event and the meal they ate that night was the Passover meal.
Now, a year later, they are being reminded to eat this Passover meal as the Lord instructed them
to do.

The Passover Meal is not a command that we, as Christians, are instructed to follow. But, there
are other commands that God has given to us to follow that remind us of the perfect Passover
Lamb, Jesus Christ. In particular, we have the Lord's Supper that we are to partake in on a
regular basis. You read about the last Passover supper that Jesus had with His disciples before
His death when you read the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The Lord's Supper of the
New Testament Church is rooted in the Passover and based on this last meal Jesus had with His

The Passover Meal of the Old Testament reminded the Israelites of their great deliverance
from bondage in Egypt. The Lord's Supper of the New Testament reminds us of our great
deliverance, through Jesus Christ, from the bondage of sin.

Date: July 24

Reading: Numbers 10:1-36

With such a large crowd of people there needed to be a communication device to alert the people
to many different things. They needed to be brought together as an assembly at times and they
needed to be alerted to war at times. Thus, God instructed Moses to make two silver trumpets
that would be blown and give the different signals for the people.

After having camped for many months and building the tabernacle, it is finally time to move on
in their journey toward the land of Canaan. Thus, Moses had the trumpets blown and the signal
given to assemble and prepare to leave. What we read about in several of the previous chapters
begins to take place as the different groups responsible for breaking down and carrying the
tabernacle begin to work. This, again, would be an exciting time for Israel as they finally get to
move on in their journey.

Our spiritual lives can be like this as well. We can feel like we are settled in and doing the same
type of thing over and over again. Maybe this is all that God has planned for us. Then, the
time comes when God tells us to move on to another project or place. We need to be ready
to hear God’s voice as He directs us in our Spiritual "journey" in Him. His primary way of
communicating with us will always be through the reading of His Word.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Kenny Rogers
I am the greatest

Little boy In a
baseball hat
Stands in the field
With his ball and bat

Says "I am the greatest
player of them all"
Put his bat on his shoulder
and he tosses up the ball

And the ball goes up
and the ball comes down
swings his bat all the way around

The worlds so still
he can hear the sound
the baseball falls
to the ground

Now the little boy
doesn't say a word
picks up his ball
he is undeterred

Says "I am the greatest
there has ever been"
and he grits his teeth
and he tries it again

And the ball goes up
and the ball comes down
swings his bat all the way around

The worlds so still
he can hear the sound
the baseball falls
to the ground

He makes no excuses
he shows no fear
he just closes his eyes
and listens to the cheers

Little boy
he adjusts his hat
picks up his ball
stares at his bat

Says "I am the greatest
the game is on the line"
and he gives his all
one last time

And the ball goes up
when the moons so bright
swings his bat with all his might

And the worlds so still
as still can be
and the baseball falls
and that’s strike three

Now its suppertime
and his mama calls
little boy starts home
with his bat and ball

Says "I am the greatest
that is a fact,
but even i didn't know
I could pitch like that"

Says "I am the greatest
that is understood,
but even i didn't know
I could pitch that good."

Monday, June 27, 2011


Life... so much is wrapped up in that little 4-letter word...

Right now life is a wee bit crazy.... but then again isn't it always :)

This summer, so far, has been one of new experiences and a renewal of old ones-

Two days after school was let out for the summer I started work as a nanny. I watch 3 kids ages 6,4, and 2 for 20 hours a week. I think that this job has been God's way of showing me that I need to take life 1 day, 1 hour, 1 moment, 1 step at a time and that we need to focus on Him and not get caught up in trying to plan our lives out the way we want it to look... especially since He is going to work it out His way no matter what :) This promise that He gives us is the reason we can follow his command to not have any worry....

On June 11th, 5 of my friends and I participated in the Sawtooth Relay, a 61.9 miles relay race in which each runner runs about 10 miles that is split up into 2 "legs". In the middle of these 62 miles is Galena Summit which caps out at almost 9,000 ft. I ran ok and our team ended up getting 3rd in the Co-ed open division. The super cool thing this year was the amazing support team we had... 3 vehicles and 17 awesome people.

The next week was the start of summer school... I am trying to finish up all my Junior-year classes so that I will have a "clean slate" going into my senior year. These include: advanced math, Physics, and Ethics.

I had 2 big track meets on the 17th and the 25th. I ran the 800m at both meets and the 200om steeplechase on the 25th. I had never attempted the steeplechase and it was an amazingly fun experience =). I was able, with God's amazing strength to decrease my 800m time by a half-second!

Other things that are keeping me busy this summer:
Reading (German and English :))

This past year has been one of intense spiritual growth for me as well as a chance for me to find out who I really am, who I want to be and who I want to become! As I am looking down the road to this next year that will be filled with much decision making it is easy for me to become overwhelmed; however, God is trying to help me understand that life is lived "one step at a time" even if they are baby steps :)