Saturday, December 24, 2011

Of Fudge and Granddad....

Well, today I decided to have a little baking adventure so I set off to try making fudge. I've been craving good fudge for a while, and ever since we got some at the fair last year I wanted to try my hand at making it.
I grabbed a recipe that looked good and started making it with this great majestic idea in my mind. If you've ever made fudge or eaten much fudge you've probably tasted those fudges that are really creamy and smooth. Then there's the fudges that are grainy and are good....but just not quite there.
Well, by the time I was done, much to my chagrin, my fudge ended up turning out to be in the second category. But the reason I posted was not because I baked fudge, but rather something that happened during and after the process. As I told you in the last post, my Granddad is here.
Well, like he does every a couple times throughout the day, he came up to me and asked "what are ya up to Hosey?" [thats his nickname for me]. I told him what I was doing and with a huge smile on his face he said "ooooh that sounds good". I smiled, hoping it would turn out and got back down to work.
Towards the end when I was pouring the fudge out he came by and and helped me hold the pot while I was scraping it out. He got another huge smile and said "oh, you better make sure you don't scrape it ALL out". Haha, at first I was confused and then I figured it out and teased him back. When I was all done I gave him the pot and spoons and he cleaned them up after taking the remainder of the fudge out and eating it.
When it was all said and done and the fudge had cooled I took him a couple pieces then grabbed his coffee cup to go fill up. When I brought it back it said "why Hosey, I think you might just have to get me the recipe to this fudge so I can take it home and make it myself its so good" I smiled and he went on "I'll give it the approval its soo good!" He went said a couple more things about he fudge, but then I had to go. I must say though, I left the room with a huge smile on my face. I knew the fudge wasn't super amazing and it could have been better. But Granddad didn't care about that, he still made me feel special for making it and it was a huge encouragement.
Later on at the dinner table we pulled the plate of fudge I had made out plus a goody plate that some friends had brought over, to have some for desert. He passed the first plate on without taking anything and when the fudge I had made came by he leaned over and said "this is what I've been waiting for!" right as he grabbed a piece. Again it made me smile and my heart swelled with pride. A little bit later the plate with the other goody's came by and I pointed out that there was fudge on that plate too. But he said "no thankyou, your fudge is better" then went on to say "hey, do you think you could make a couple'a big batches on the 29th?" [which is the day before he leaves] and again he got the big smile on his face and started laughing a bit at the joke he had made and then explained "Then I can take it home with me..". Hahaha. The last one made me laugh the most but it really meant a lot to me.

Now you are probably thinking 'wow, she sure is weird if that meant that much to her' but truth is it really did! I think the reason why is because my love language is encouraging words. Haha, "What on earth??" you might be thinking "What's a love language?". Well, a love language is the way in which people make you feel loved or show that they care, a way in which people can express their love to you and show you that you are valued.

Apparently there are five of them:
Physical Touch (a hug, and arm around the shoulder, etc)
Words of encouragement (complement or just quite simply a word of encouragement) ;-)
Acts of Service (doing a specific act to serve you in a certain getting a coffee, or weeding your garden for you, etc)
Gifts (pretty self explanatory, someone giving you a gift)
Quality Time (someone specifically taking part of their time to spend with you one on one, like going out to coffee or going out and throwing Frisbee with the person)

It's a rather interesting concept, but rather true. Now, everyone shows love through every one of these, but there usually tends to be one that is the 'primary' language of each person. When if you speak to them through that language they would feel valued. For me the main one is Words of Encouragement (or words of affirmation), and then partially Quality Time.
In this instance, when my Granddad took the time to say those comments and compliment, meant the world. I love to try out different recipes for cooking and baking, and then figuring out what people like. Even though I wasn't completely satisfied with the way it turned out, Graddad's words lifted my spirit!

This is turning out to be a long post, but with the topic of love languages there have been a couple different points I've been thinking about related to this topic.

The first is actually a conversation I had with my dad, dealing specifically with 'words of encouragement'. We were talking about some people we know who complement everyone they know, no matter who or what they've done. In that area, how are they sincere? One of the things that made me really enjoy my Granddads compliments was the sincerity behind them. That's a key area. When complementing someone or encouraging them, how can you be sincere? Especially when sometimes it doesn't seem like there is anything you can say.
I came across a quote the other day that basically said something along the lines of "even your worst enemy or the lowliest man has a quality that is stronger and better then yours". It's true! I think the first key area in being sincere is to find an area in which they are truly greater then you and compliment that area, especially if its an area you admire. If you were to look for that you can probably compliment everyone in at least one area. The second aspect of being sincere is the attitude with which you do it. If you are trying to pay a compliment only to get a compliment back, or to get something out of the other person. Then it generally doesn't come across as sincere. But if you pay the compliment purely to uplift them and because you mean it, then I think the sincerity comes across much more.
This doesn't apply to only words of encouragement though. When trying to communicate love to those around you, sincerity is always key.

The second point that I was thinking about deals with all the love languages, but more basically, with love in general. Because I know that my Graddad's love language is quality time, then I can go spend quality time with him and show him that I value and love him. Because I know my little brother's love language is physical touch I can go and give him a hug and show him I care. Because I know my sister's love language is partially encouraging words I can go right now and give her an encouraging word. In fact not only could I do it right now but I have the opportunity every single time I see each and every one of them to show them that I love them and that I care for them. Not only that but God told us that we ought to be an example in love, and to love those around us. Not just because He commanded it but because they are made in His image and are indeed loved and have value [or make that 'are invaluable'] in His eyes. Even if you wanted to put all that aside, the very fact that He showed His love in dying  on the cross for a wretched, unworthy sinner [ourselves], should be reason enough to show love to those around us! So why do we not??

I was actually having a conversation with a good friend about this and as we were conversing I was hashing it through in my mind. In today's culture everything has become about self gratification and making your self comfortable. We see this through a response that many of us give (myself included) just a little to often 'I'm to busy'. While at times there is legitimate reason to say no we often fall prey to using it as an excuse to not spend that time and effort on someone else.
We have the desire within us to make ourselves look good and feel worthy, look at celebrities. We build them up, paint their faces and obsess over them. Then later tear them down for making the same mistakes we do. We drive our culture to achieve perfection, and when we fail we usually try to make ourselves look better by tearing those around us and focusing on what others do wrong. Comparing ourselves to those around us to show ourselves that we are superior.
It's an attack that I'm sure Satan is behind and has cleverly put in Society. All throughout history we see it as well. Just consider why there are always bullies? Why some seek only to attain riches or get the most of something, why some do the most stupid things just to get their name on the news. They are in themselves evidence of the fact that people try to make themselves look better either by focusing on the bad in others or by trying to build themselves up through material possessions or physical deeds.
Alright, so with all that in mind. Knowing that each and every person is beyond value and a child of God loved and treasured and that Satan is trying to convince us and everyone else otherwise. We now have two options. We can go along with Satan's plan by refusing or not making an effort to show love to those around us, which is in essence helping him. Or we can fight! Fight against him, and fight for our lord! Fight to show those around us that they are loved and not just another insignificant human in this world but unique and invaluable!!! I think I'll choose to fight!
This doesn't mean I'll be perfect and completely loving to those around me all the time. Unfortunately I'm not perfect! But it will be something I'm trying to make more of an effort on and something I am praying for God's help in. Knowing full well that I can only do this if I try to use His eyes to view the people around me and His strength to battle the sin nature inside me that is trying to prevent me from doing taking this stand.

While I was thinking about this, it came to my mind that in taking up this war and fighting in each battle. Not only do we show love and value for those around us, but we can also recognize it in ourselves. Because in taking up this cause we are standing up and saying that we believe we can make a difference in that cause. I've sure you've heard the saying "It is more blessed to give, then to receive." It doesn't just apply to physical gifts, but to the gift of love we can give to everyone around us.

Now I've rambled for long enough, I want to end with just a couple questions or challenges you can think about. The first is a question, its simply this. Will you join us in this fight? Yeah, with God's help he and I can make a difference, but God, you and me together? We can make an even bigger difference. So I ask again, will you join me in this fight?
The second is a challenge, something I'm still working on. Think about your family members, your close figure out what their love language is! Often we try to reach out to those around us by speaking through our love language. Which isn't necessarily bad all the time, but something we need to be aware of. So try and figure out what their love language is. Then try telling them, through that love language, that they are loved. The results are both interesting and worth it!

Well, I have to sign off for now. I hope the entire post (haha, if you were able to read it all! I apologize for the length) made you think a little more and perhaps a little differently. I know it made me do both!

God Bless and have a very Merry Christmas!


Friday, December 23, 2011

An Update in Pictures....

Beginning of August Jed on up to Jos went to Awana Camp. Jos was a couselor and the rest of us were still campers (although it was Rayni's last year). This is a picture of two of my amazing cabin mates Sarah and Kristin.  

This summer my dad took me to a wonderful 21 mile bike trail up in the mountains that he had discovered, it was a lot of fun! After having so much fun we decided to do it again with some friends of ours made some great memories while on the trail.

Mom and Dad at the beach (they sure are a gorgeous couple don't ya think ;-)?) All of us kids are blessed to have such wonderful parents!

We also got to go camping with the Cooper family, who have been good family friends for a while, and it was a blessing to be able to spend that time with them.

This little guy is getting older way to fast. :D He loves his "com-pooter" as he calls it and is quite the big boy when he carries it around with his little bible.

The whole family! [We had a hard time trying to get all the heads in there :-)]

Its FALL....nope, now its winter. And sadly fall has gone already.

First week of November Dad, Zeb, Jos, Rayni and I went Elk hunting. The weather actually turned out being beautiful and Jos was able to shoot a nice 4x4 bull Elk. 

The Speech and Debate season has started and its Jed's first year in the 'big league'. He's doing an excellent job and this is a picture of him and Jason (whose first year it is also). They accidentally matched that day and I couldn't help but get a pic.

The Little Guy and mom, being both cute and distracting!!

We have a walk-around part behind our back fence and this year it flooded. So the kids decided to keep up the annual tradition (if there's water) to go try out the new pool for them. Haha, conviently using the kiddy pools as their boats. This is the pic of  Jed and Malachi.

....and here's Keziah! She got the smaller one to try and direct all by herself.

Isn't he a cutie? I love this little kid!

Yep, those two next to me? They're awesome, yep pretty much downright awesome!!! I'm so blessed to have them in my family! Or should I say to be in theirs?

Zeb and Malachi

The 'big boys' Jos and Zeb. Haha, this picture seems to sum up both their relationship and their personalities!

Dad and Azzy! 

Dad, Azariah, and Zeb!!

Jed with our Christmas tree for this year. We actually went to a tree farm this year, rather than our normal up in the mountains tree hunting. It sorta felt like we were cheating, but it was still fun and we got a tree that actually looks like a Christmas tree. Haha

Dad's new mustache! What'da ya think?

[To the Side]: Malachi and Kez drinking Cider and Hot-chocolate!
[Below] A close up picture of Malachi

Rayni, Keziah, Mom, Hosanna and Malachi

We also have Granddad here with us for a few weeks, what a blessing he is! He's been a lot of fun. Its been an amazing last few months! But it wouldn't be so amazing if it weren't for a wonderful family and spectacular God.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Quote, Picture, Blessings

 Thank you Lord for the blessing of Joy and Love! Without love, you would never have given your son and we would never have reason to have Joy. Without Joy this world would be bleak and uneventful, with no real delight in what we have been blessed with. Without those two I would be a sinful, useless, selfish, monotonous human. But with them and through them I know I am uniquely me, a treasure and royalty with a greater purpose in life that will out last not just a generation nor a century, but I pray for eternity, and I can delight in that fact and in you.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Just thinking...

A couple of days ago I was on my bed and putting up some of the quotes/sayings that had started piling up next to my bed for me to put up. As I was going through them and my favorite quote book I was yet again affirmed that I absolutely love quotes!! Just a sentence or two, or even three and you can usually find a piece of wisdom, something to laugh at and something to reflect on.
My eyes drifted from where I was putting the quotes up, to the door that I've had dreams of decorating with all sorts of pictures. I love to take, edit, and store pictures. In them you can see the un-explainable and say what could never be said, record fine details and keep a storage of memories to look back on, and see time pass on. Its through them I've come to realize the value of time (as it flies by) and treasuring what we have in the moment, rather then looking on only to the future.
As these thoughts sped through my brain, the memories starting flooding into my mind. The times my siblings and I would make forts, the get-to-gether's that celabrate special occasions, the first and lasts of our lives and what we do in them, captured through the lens of a camera. So many memories, so many people, so many objects that I've been given, so many blessings and people or things I could be thankful for.

Little bits of wisdom, quick snaps of a lens, and enveloped by blessings. A rather brilliant idea came to my mind then. Why not share those little bits of wisdom, those click of a button photos and the blessings God has placed in my life with those around me? There it was, the idea was finally in full shape, and thus began the explanation in this post of a new series of posts and the reason behind it.

So lets see where this idea takes us. I'm thinking the quotes, pictures and blessings might be all related part of the time or completely unrelated, we'll see where it goes.

It's about time for me to sign off.
I hope you are doing well and may the grace and peace of God be with you!


Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Confession and a Blessing

You want to know what I have to confess? Well, its not a funny confession nor one that I have taken light hearted. Rather it is a struggle that I am sure each Christian has in their walk with the Lord. So I wrote this post to let you know (if you are also struggling in this area) that you aren't the only one and I pray that it encourages you in your own walk with the Lord to remain steadfast and joyful, with excitement and determination to have it grow more and more.

The Confession: 
So, here's my confession. I've haven't spent the time I should have with my Lord! Wondering what I mean? Well, lately I have had a tough time continuing in my daily walk with the Lord as far as devotions go. Doesn't seem that big does it! It has been big to me though, because instead of setting aside time in the word alone, I thought of other things to do, when I was about to do it at night I decided I should go to sleep and do it in the morning then when it was the next morning I said 'well I'll just do it tonight'. It starts out as a small excuse but quickly grows. As the days go by and I see my life getting harder to understand and my other struggles increasing, I ask myself why is this happening. Then realize, its because my compass or hand hold on the world and on who I am in that world, has weakened and I have started (with a horrible sense of direction) trying to figure it out in my own power. It continues to be a struggle for me which means I must put all the more effort and determination into it, but often I neglect to. The reason I decided to write a post about this today is because this morning when I made the silent agreement with myself that I would put even more effort into it than I had in the past week and pleaded with God that He would help me, I came upon another realization.

The Blessing: 
When I sat down and started to read out of Romans I was instantly asking myself why I hadn't done it earlier. It wasn't that difficult (as I knew it really wouldn't be) and I was yet again amazed at how the verses applied to my life in different areas and was encouraged that God was still speaking to me through them. A few minutes later when I found out I had to stop to get ready for the day I was slightly disappointed, because I when I read those verses the joy was revitalized within me and my grip grew all the more tighter. It was similar to the feeling that you get while you are rock climbing with a harness on and your hands slip making you put all your weight back in that harness that holds you up, and the realization as that happens, that you aren't on your own. That the trust you put in that person holding the rope below you is not unfounded and the stress leaves your body as this idea comes to your awareness. Its a rather odd example but one that came to my mind as I was writing this, because that was honestly what I felt. Joy, hope, courage, excitement, gratitude, and awe. Awe, that even though I had strayed from God and had put Him to the side and others in His place He still wanted me back and was there with open arms when I did.

In reading all this though, it is important to know that Satan will be fighting you all the way. Not wanting those feeling of joy and that faith put back in God. This was also the other lesson that was not new but I was reminded of yet again today. Because I knew that it was spiritual warfare that was the answer to my question earlier. The question of why I had not just sat down and read it sooner. Satan doesn't generally fight us visibly, instead he uses all sorts of different tactics, and one of his best attacks is the deceptive one you don't realize is there. The one he plays on the battlefield of your mind. Enticing and encouraging thoughts that not only distract but discourage you from growing in your relationship with the Lord. The only way to battle him back is to do the very thing he doesn't want you to. For it is there that you find the strength and reinforcement to continue in the battle.

I have to head off to bed now but I hope what I wrote encouraged you, and while there might be nothing in this post that is new to you. I know there are plenty of things in the bible that will be. So I hope and pray that it encourages you to go back to that bible and find something that is new.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in  psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 
- Colossians 3:16

God Bless!