This book is so, so good. I absolutely love it. I cannot put it down. One of the things I like best about it (besides the wonderful characters *cough* Mr. Knightley *cough*) is that it is chock-full of the funniest quotes! Seriously, there have been probably 10 different passages that I have wanted to write down because they were just too delightfully witty. So, when I came across this gem, I had to post it.
The stage is set with the exhausting Mrs. Elton talking with the ever-gentlemanly, ever-dashing Mr. Knightley. They are discussing a strawberry-picking party to be held at his estate, Donwell. ("Donwell was famous for its strawberry beds." :)
"Oh! now you are looking very sly. But consider;--you need not be afraid of delegating power to me. I am no young lady on her preferment. Married women, you know, may be safely authorized. It is my party. Leave it all to me. I will invite your guests."
"No,"--he calmly replied,--"there is but one married woman in the world whom I can allow to invite what guests she pleases to Donwell, and that one is--"
"--Mrs. Weston, I suppose," interrupted Mrs. Elton, rather mortified.
"No--Mrs. Knightley;--and, till she is in being, I will manage such matters myself."
Read. This. Book. It is one of the cleverest books I've ever read. You will love it.
I think I have another post titled that, so hopefully this doesn't confuse anyone. I had to use it, since it is the perfect summation of what this post will be about.
Anyway, here goes.
It all started with a bad class picture. I teach the preschool class at our homeschooling co-op, and a couple Fridays ago they took class pictures. I was not prepared for them to take teachers' pictures, or to be in the picture of the whole class. Needless to say, I opted for comfy rather than stylish, clothing that day, and my hair was...well, let's just say less-than-perfect. I shrugged it off, though. Smile. Flash. Done.
Fast-forward two weeks later when the pictures arrived. A few of the thoughts that ran through my mind when I first saw them: "Gross." "Yuck." "Ew." "I am ugly."
Not a happy day. After laughing (but mostly crying) about the pictures, my sister and mom attempted to make me feel pretty by showing me some less-unflattering pictures of myself. Yet, I was in such a low spot that I found flaws in all of them. I never claimed to be photogenic, and these new horrible class pictures proved it (in my mind). Plus, I was freaking out because I still haven't taken senior pictures yet--and I had already been anxious about how they would turn out, without more proof that my face doesn't like cameras.
Anyway, I got through the day by fixing my hair and doing my make-up. I felt better, but really was just distracted. All morning on Saturday I was in a funk about it, without realizing it. I found myself crying on my bed, thinking that no one would ever want to marry me; I'm ugly, not funny, not creative, not artistic, not musical, blah blah blah. So I went downstairs and started talking with my beautiful, wise mother.
I wish I could remember every word of the conversation, but I can't. I told her that I didn't understand why I had so many sweet friends, and my fear of no one marrying me. I couldn't understand why anyone would really like being around me. (I'll just interject here that I don't usually let a bad picture do this to me, but the Lord knew what I needed--just wait.) In her gentle, motherly way, she helped me see that this wasn't true, and told me that she was my #1 fan. "I don't think anyone can love you as much as I do," she said.
We proceeded to talk about what the real problem was, why I was crying. Then I realized something so big, that my throat seized up in that really uncomfortable crying thing.
"Mom, I think I'm fighting to believe that I really am fearfully and wonderfully made. Satan and my own flesh are telling me that I'm not--but God doesn't make mistakes. I am beautiful, because He made me and I am His."
Okay, so I didn't say it that clearly. I was crying so it sounded all froggy and it was choppy and not as eloquent. But those words were what I was feeling.
That was thing #1 that I realized.
Thing #2 was that Christ is All. I'll explain.
As I was telling my mom that I didn't understand why people would like me, she said, basically, that I wasn't supposed to know. He is the one who works every good thing in me, so I cannot make a list of "Katie's Good Qualities"--then my life would become trying to live up to the list and make it longer, instead of just abiding in Christ and living in Him. In Christ alone my hope is found. He is my life, my strength, my song.
Oh, how sweet it was to remember that I am not my own! That I am merely a fallen sinner, saved by His incredible grace; a faithless woman loved by an ever faithful Savior. Apart from Him, I can do nothing.
My mom graciously and sweetly reminded me that God does not withhold any good thing from His children. If giving me a husband is what is good for me, the Lord will give one to me. If He doesn't give one to me, it is best.
Well, that's about all I have time for for now. Chemistry class calls. I'm sure I will fall back into those same questions and feeling down about myself, but He is always faithful, and will bring me back to this place of contentment and satisfaction in Him.
Hallelujah! All I have is Christ! (I'll post the rest of the lyrics to that song later :)
As I was getting ready for the first day of classes this morning, I read today's Morning & Evening by Spurgeon. As soon as I read the verse at the top, I knew it was perfect for me today. Here it is:
"In the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world." ~Philippians 2:15
We use lights to make manifest. A Christian man should so shine in his life, that a person could not live with him a week without knowing the gospel. His conversation should be such that all who are about him should clearly perceive Whose he is, and Whom he serves; and should see the image of Jesus reflected in his daily actions. Lights are intended for guidance. We are to help those around us who are in the dark. We are to hold forth to them the Word of life. We are to point sinners to the Saviour, and the weary to a divine resting-place. Men sometimes read their Bibles, and fail to understand them; we should be read, like Philip, to instruct the inquirer in the meaning of God's Word, the way of salvation, and the life of godliness. Lights are also used for warning. On our rocks and shoals a light-house is sure to be erected. Christian men should know that there are many false lights shown everywhere in the world, and therefore the right light is needed. The wreckers of Satan are always abroad, tempting the ungodly to sin under the name of pleasure; they hoist the wrong light, be it ours to put up the true light upon every dangerous rock, to point out every sin, and tell what it leads to, that so we may be clear of the blood of all men, shining as lights in the world. Lights also have a very cheering influence, and so have Christians. A Christian ought to be a comforter, with kind words on his lips, and sympathy in his heart; he should carry sunshine wherever he goes, and diffuse happiness around him.
Gracious Spirit dwell with me; I myself would gracious be, And with words that help and heal Would thy life in mine reveal, And with actions bold and meek Would for Christ my Saviour speak.
Those words set a flame in me that is burning to live this life for my beloved Jesus. One of my favorite parts is, "he should carry sunshine wherever he goes, and diffuse happiness around him." I want to carry sunshine. I want to show what joy is like; it's so much better than the transient happiness that this world can offer.
Hola! Well, this is gonna be short because I am going to try to be going to sleep before 11 tonight. We'll see if that happens. But I wanted to inform you all of something big. huge. massive even.
Actually, it's really not a very big deal at all.
But anyway, my first chemistry class ever took place yesterday, and my second one will happen tomorrow. As well as my first chemistry lab.
And you know what? I think I'm going to survive this class. Now, I'm not saying I'm sure I'll live through it, I just feel like there is hope. I mean, I didn't take high school chem and now I'm running head-long into college chemistry? What am I thinking?! But actually, the professor is very nice, very approachable, and she said that this class is not going to be that bad. She said to expect something more like high school chemistry 2. I can handle that. I think.
On second though--scratch that. I know I can handle that. Not of my own strength, but the Lord is my strength, and through Christ I can do all things. Even chemistry.
Oh--and I've been thanking Him for blessing me with a professor I like. I was pretty nervous about that aspect of it, and He totally provided someone I really, really like.
And now, I'd like you all to meet someone, if you haven't already. His name is Steve Rogers:
Because it's too late to be posting, and I wanted to post anyway. Please excuse the extreme randomness.
1.) I really, truly am going to try to post more frequently.
2.) I promise.
3.) You don't believe me? Gosh. Haha, well I wouldn't believe me either. I'm seriously a horrible blogger, and you all are so wonderful to keep checking this little neglected corner of cyberspace.
4.) I'm 17. And it's super weird.
5.) School starts in 10 days, and that makes me sad. This summer has officially gone faster than any other summer in my rememberance. I'm taking chemistry, art appreciation, and interpersonal communications, all PSEO. Thankfully, chemistry is the only one starting on the 22nd, and I have a couple more weeks before the others start. I'm also teaching a preschool class at our homeschooling co-op for the first time this year. I'm so excited and so nervous at the same time! Any craft/theme/lesson/book ideas you have would be very much welcomed :) Still trying to pull together some sort of curriculum.
6.) There are about 6 long things that I should post about, but I'm not. I'm posting a list, 'cause it's easier.
7.) We are going to a wedding tomorrow, and I'm so excited. The helpless romantic in me just loves anything to do with weddings, including looking at pictures of peoples' weddings I don't know from Adam. I've only gone to one wedding this whole summer, so tomorrow will be super fun. I can't wait for my own wedding, and for my friends' weddings! It will be ultra-strange, but it will also be crazy fun when all of us start gettin' beaus and tying the knot :)
8.) This really should be number one. But I'm so tired, that my brain isn't thinking logically. My brother and sister-in-law are having a baby in February! I cannot WAIT! I love anything to do with babies, but having another one in the family is extra, extra special :) Current nickname? Baby O. Adorable? I think yes.
9.) Speaking of babies, we now have a family living with us (in our attic) and they have two little girls! The older one is nearly 2 and the younger one is around 8 months. Both are sweet as can be. Both are crazy adorable. But they are absolutely. Positively. Opposites. It's so fun! :) And their parents are so great. They're definitely dear friends of mine--it's not weird at all for them to live here. She is like a sister--we talk all the time, share clothes, tease each other, and seek prayer from the other. And her husband is awesome! He's helping me--
10.) learn guitar. We'll see if this actually goes anywhere, but I hope it does! So far I've learned majors A, D, G, and E, and E minor. Not too great, but it's a start! I can play some Bob Dylan, at least :)
11.) And...so people won't accuse me of being "Monk-ish" (ever seen the t.v. show? My family claims I share some traits with the genius detective--not in the genius part, in the "liking things even, symmetrical, etc." part.) I will not stop at 10! We will have a number 11! :) I was up nearly all night last night, not of my own accord. Then I slept in until 9:45, which explains while I'm still slightly functioning at 12:15 am.
12.) Oh, and I have a job! I work at a thrift store, started by our old church, 8 hours a week. I absolutely LOVE it. It's so, so fun. I'll have to write another post about it sometime. It's seriously great :)
13.) I've considered changing the name of my blog again, out of fear of what people will think. ("Oh. She's one of those, 'Jesus is my boyfriend' people. Ew.") But I decided to keep it because it really captures a huge part of who I am--that helpless romantic I was talking about earlier. I still love envisioning my Savior as my Prince, rescuing me from myself and breaking my bonds of sin. In the words of one of my favorite hymns of all time:
Long my imprisoned spirit lay, fast bound in sin and nature's night; thine eye diffused a quickening ray-- I woke, the dungeon flamed with light. My chains fell off, my heart was free-- I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
Amazing love! How can it be? That Thou my God shouldst die for me?
Goosebumps, eh? How great is our God! How sweet is my salvation, how glad I am that my Savior is Jesus! :)
Yesterday was a very happy day. Partly because I went driving with my dad again (on REAL streets!), partly because my sister, mom, and I got delicious Caribou coffee drinks for really cheap, partly because I got new flip-flops and a new dress. But the thing that stuck out the most to me, the thing that made me almost giddy was something not all that exciting, to some people.
I found two pairs of summer shorts.
Yes I did. And, these aren't your ordinary show-everything-but-underwear shorts. They were modest! And no, they weren't capris. And no, they don't come all the way to my knees. And yes, they are very cute! In my opinion :)
Modesty is a very important issue to me. I take extra time in the fitting room to make sure that the clothing isn't too low, short, tight, and doesn't show too much skin. I feel that God wants His children to be modest; the Bible even talks about it!
I really think that being modest is a huge way to love the men around us. I am not someone of the opinion that "if he has a problem with it, he better fix his sick mind!" I do believe that men should avert their eyes if something a girl is wearing causes them to stumble, but I think it's better if the girl never wears the problematic clothing in the first place.
You know, one thing that makes modesty difficult is that girls sometimes don't have a clue about what's modest vs. immodest. Things that are hard for guys probably wouldn't make another girl blink an eye. Sometimes I will wear something that my mom and I think is modest, but my dad will point out something about it that we hadn't even noticed. Which brings me to my handy-dandy little list! :)
1. Consult your dad. He's a guy, and he cares so much about you. He is a great resource; he can tell you when something will be difficult for a guy because he's been there himself.
2. Pray! Modesty is a heart issue at it's core, and only God can change hearts. Girls can be covered from head-to-toe and still be immodest if their heart is in the wrong place and they are seeking that form of attention. If your desire is to be modest, ask the Lord to give you a heart that embraces modesty and longs for it.
3. Use this modesty survey done by Alex and Brett Harris. It has been an invaluable tool for me! Read the main page and the Survey Overview first, and then browse the Survey Results to see if your clothing could be causing guys around you to stumble. If so, see if your mom would like to go out shopping! :) Now, I do have one precaution here: sometimes, you have to ignore some of the comments, because in some cases, the guys interviewed seemed to need the girl to walk around in a head-to-toe box. That's just not practical, and at that point, the problem is really theirs. However, sometimes the comments are super helpful, because they let me know which kinds of tank tops are fine, and what makes one borderline-bad or just plain bad.
Okay. So know I've spat a bunch of stuff at you that you may or may not have wanted to hear! But now I want to tell you something.
While it does take a little bit of extra effort to find them, modest, stylish clothes are not non-existent. You can find cute clothes--no matter what your style is--that are modest by doing a little digging. You don't have to shop at online stores that sell matching, modest dresses for the whole family (not that there's anything wrong with that! It's just not my taste). Case in point: I found the aforementioned shorts at Target. :)
On to one of my favorite style/modesty tips: Some clothes that would be immodest by themselves are made cuter and modest by layering! I use camis ALLLLL the time, because most of my shirts would be too low on their own. I love the layered look anyway, so it's no problem for me--until the camis get stretched out and they themselves are too low :) But then it's just another excuse to go shopping again!
Well. Maybe that was helpful, maybe not. But now I have to go. I would love it if you would ask questions in the comments!
As some of you know, I got my permit about a year ago. I have barely used it. A few months after I got it, my mom took me to a parking lot and showed me how to operate the car, and I attempted to park about 50 times. Never succeeding. Due to busy craziness, I had not driven again until last night. Last night, my wonderful dad took me to a different parking lot. A Home Depot parking lot. Oh yeah. And I drove around. And, again, failed at parking. Over and over. But my daddy was patient with me. After giving up on parking, we decided to do some figure eights, and my dad taught me how to turn without being extremely tense and herky-jerky. How to make smoooooth turns :) And, of course, we ended our lessons with a trip into the wonderful hardware store. Ahhh... It was a perfect date with dad. I am truly blessed to have such an amazing father, a dad who represents my heavenly Father with his patience, kindness, and gentleness. I love you, Daddy.
Dear Readers, Thank you so much for your comments. They really do encourage this terrible blogger to keep on posting! :) Each and every comment means so much to me. Dear Allergies (and stupid virus), Please go away. Pronto. You make it very difficult for me to do my massive amounts of homework (see next letter), because my throat hurts and my head seems like it's filled with brick. And that doesn't feel too great, and it's distracting. So, yes, I would really appreciate if you took a hike somewhere without human beings. Dear Homework, Do you ever do anything for yourself? Geesh, I seem to do all the heavy lifting around here. You never seem to get yourself done--I always, always have to do that for you. I'd really appreciate it if you could learn to do at least a little of the work. At least revise the essay yourself, maybe? Dear Pastor, Thank you very, very much for the wonderful sermon this morning. The gospel was spoken to me in a completely new and beautiful way, and my week has already been touched by your words. I feel like I can handle Allergies and Homework so much better after hearing so much truth this morning. Sincerely, Katie p.s. Dear Blogger, What's going on? Stop smooshing all my stuff together! Please. :) p.p.s. Dear Readers (again), Please forgive the smooshed-ness. I don't know what Blogger is thinking. Thanks!
This is going to possibly be the most random, scattered blog post you have ever read or will ever read. In your life. But I feel like if I don't do one of these types of posts, I will never post again, and that would be a very bad thing indeed. So, are you ready? Brace yourself.
School: Oh my goodness. School. Where do I start? The fact that my junior year will be basically over in a mere 20 days? The 9-page paper I wrote for my college English class? My wonderful history and literature classes? Hmm. Well, I can hardly believe that I'll be a senior in the fall. A senior. A SENIOR. A STINKIN' SENIOR! Yeah, I'm a little flabbergasted, if that's the right word, which it probably isn't. Oh well.
But yeah. Let me start with PSEO, I guess. For any of you who don't know what PSEO is, it's just where you get to take college classes in high school, for both college and high school credit. For free. That's right. Tuition for this awesome opprotunity is a whoppin' $0.00. It's pretty sweet. Anyway, last semester, I took a Nutrition class online, and a College Algebra class through a Christian University, but at a homeschool co-op thing. It went really well! I was challenged, but in a good way. Probably my biggest challenge was having due dates. Having been homeschooled my whole life, "due dates" were very flexible, even non-existent. So, getting things done in a timely manner was a big stepping stone for me :)
This semester, I'm taking college English and general psychology at the same University, through the same co-op, and it's going fabulously! It's pretty hard--even more challenging than last year. Psychology really isn't bad at all, but English just about killed me with the large research paper...just kidding. It really wasn't SO bad. The problem was mainy my perfectionist self. I couldn't stop thinking about it, ever. And I way over-researched--I had to take out an entire subtopic! But now I have the rough draft complete, and the final draft isn't due until Monday, so I have some time to polish it up a bit before my teacher sees it. That's another thing that's been weird--my English professor doesn't read any of the rough drafts! We just do peer reviews, which are...interesting. Thankfully, my professor is wonderful, and so are the kids in the class. It's a tiny class, actually. Like, really, really tiny. 8 students. Just 8. Where else could I have taken college English 1 with such an awesome teacher/student ratio?! It's really great.
Oh, and this year I've also been taking history and literature classes with some amazing friends. The mom of two of the girls is the teacher, and she's so awesome! Maybe you remember me posting about her blog, Orange Marmalade? If not, definitely check it out! It's super cool :) Anyway, we've been studying mainly 20th century history and reading literature that goes along with a similar timeline. It's been so rich, and I've learned so much! It's incredible. It's been so fun, to boot! Instead of a final exam, we have been making history scrapbooks with pictures from the Internet of the things we've been learning about. On the days we work on them, we have "Scrapbook Parties" and listen to music from the time period we're studying and eat food from that time period. It's so awesome. I wish it wasn't ending so soon!
Spring/Summer: Spring is definitely in the air around here! It's glorious. I slept with the window open last night, and today my room smells like spring. The sunlight is so lovely, and I can't wait for the leaves and flowers and grass to grow. Already I'm wearing lots of skirts and tank tops and dresses!
I'm very excited for summer this year, although I'm savoring every moment of spring. But this summer, I can't wait to have lots of picnics, read dozens of books (just wait until I post my book list!), bake lots of cookies, drink yummy smoothies, swing on swings, go camping with friends (even if it's just in the backyard), play with my siblings, ride my bike, go for walks, go to the zoo, eat tons of barbeque, go swimming, and have people over nearly every weekend. It will be so wonderful, I can't wait. How will I have time to do all of these fabulous things? NO SCHOOL, BABY! FREEDOM! :D
Oh, but summer can't fully start until after June 11. The dreaded ACT. Yuck. Thankfully, I have a great book about how to do the math section, which is my Achilles heel...anybody with me on that one?
Oh, and here's something I can't believe, almost as much as I can't believe I'll be a senior in the fall: June 26, I'll be 17. Wow.
Let that just sink in. It's crazy.
Anyway, on to a new topic: As mentioned very briefly in my last post, I have a most adorable new nephew, named Elijah! He was born on December 3, and he's just the sweetest, chubbiest baby you ever did see. And he's a little snugglebug! Big brother Gideon took a little while to warm up to him, but now they're best buds. Oh, and Gid is 2 now! Yesterday was his birthday, and he was such a trooper, opening present after present with his little drippy nose running, saying "de-di" ("thank you"). So precious.
Well, I should probably start to bring this variously topic-ed post to a close, since I have quite a bit of school to accomplish today. But there is so much more I could write! I'll try to post again very soon about all that God is doing in my life. Things are quite exciting!
For now, I'll end on a very unrelated note: Tangled.
Can you say "absolutely positively amazingly adorable, funny, and sweet"?