Saturday, October 19, 2013

I'm Tired of being told what to Wear...

Not so recently I have encountered to an "issue" within my church. My church was a church plant until recently when we became our own established congregation, but we still keep in touch with the church that supported our outreach and establishment before we were able to support ourselves. Now one of the ways our two congregations have come together over the years, as we live a little over an hour apart, is to have dances, an especially preferred "coming together function" since a lot of our young ladies (and some young men) enjoy it. When we started going the "rules" were simple: dress how you want, bring food, family, and friends, and have a good time. 

Somewhere through the years, things got complicated. 

Seemingly "over night" they became more concerned with the little things, which in turn led to invitations to said dances containing specifications like, "ladies are encouraged to wear dresses," "please wear modest formal wear," and, "men wear long sleeve button shirts with dress pants. No jeans." 

"Encouraged," because there is nothing they can do if you don't, but something is wrong if you wear anything but? "Dresses," because women shouldn't wear pants? "Modest," because we don't know how to dress that way without being told? "Dress pants," because jeans are, what, unorthodox? 

My question is, when did what we wear become more important than what we say, think, and do? 

Putting too much emphasis on the physical, on what's outside our bodies, is no better than what the Pharisees did. They were so concerned with what others thought and perceived of them that they neglected what was really important - the heart condition.

"34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heartbrings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12

 If our hearts are captive to The Lord, we don't have to concern ourselves with all the little details like dress, pants, or modesty. Because if our hearts are captive to Jesus, we seek to do what is pleasing to Him.

And the rest of it is just minor detail. 

I know families have different ideas about modesty, but if we seek to honor God and concern ourselves more with causing him offense then each other, then it won't be as big of a stumbling block when we see other Christians wearing something we personally wouldn't wear for modesty's sake. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Begin Anew

Every once in a while, after a long hiatus of not blogging (if you can call what I did blogging), I get the urge to blog again. I'd like to blog more frequently, but I always struggle when it comes to topics. I never know what to write about in my posts.

So I've decided to begin anew. You can still find my old posts, from years ago, but from here on is all new content. I've changed the title, the purpose, the look -- everything.

Here's to starting over (again)! And hoping that it goes somewhere this time.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Another Year, Another day

So it's the new year, January 21, 2012? Where did the time go? How will my posting look for the coming year? Well, if my track record is indication, then not good. But here is to hoping maybe I'll post more than twice this year. Maybe I'll have something to post about (something worth reading, even). 

At any rate, I'd appreciate (for those who do read my blog) to leave a comment once you've read my entry, especially if you find it interesting. I like to know at least one person is looking so I know I'm not wasting my time typing away! ;) 

I thought I'd post and excerpt from my "story" that I'm writing. It's an idea my dad gave to me a long, long time ago (in a galaxy far away? ... nah, it was right here in the good old Milky Way!!).  I'd worked on it some before, developing characters, but have recently taken it up again with more ideas and so much more to work with/through/on than the first go-round. 

Without further delay, here it is. Enjoy! =)

I spent my entire life doubting what scientist had been hoping to discover for years. Aliens. They were fictional imaginings of the overactive imagination of a middle-aged man who still lived in his mother’s basement and attended science fiction conventions. Or so I thought.
            The fact was, people had been hoping they weren’t alone in the universe for centuries. These people spent their childhoods watching movies about alien invaders who used highly advanced weaponry and computers to incinerate the lesser beings in the universe in order to claim their resources for their own planet. Movies set in the future where humans had become technologically advanced enough to set out into the universe in their little space ships, exploring new galaxies and befriending alien races. So many people dreamed of reaching the stars that men dedicated their careers to the study and exploration of space. Those professionals hoped to find other life.
            I still remained doubtful. I always would, until one day, which was very unlikely, they found an alien, took a picture of it, and plastered it all over television. Even then I would be skeptical. After all, there are very talented people who are extremely adept at manipulating pictures in Photoshop.
I disliked the idea of aliens anyway. Extraterrestrials with highly advanced technologies that could incinerate you with the push of a button? Not my idea of a good time. Besides that, they lived in space. If you were going to meet one they either had to come to earth, hopefully not with the intention to blow it up, or you had to go into space and look for them, hoping they didn’t blow you up when you got there. Neither appealed to me, especially the latter. 
            Space. I didn’t get it. I was a very down-to-earth kind of guy—literally. I was down on earth, I was a guy, and that’s how I liked it. That’s where I was born. God put me there for a reason. Why should I argue with that? Why would I want to change that? God knew what he was doing. I was put on earth. I was staying on earth.
            No, I wasn’t going to space. Not willingly. If I were told aliens were about to blow up the whole planet, I would hug my friends and family goodbye and say, “See you on the other side!” That’s how much I loved earth. Solid ground. Grass. Trees. Blue skies. Oxygen. What’s not to love? Space had none of that to offer.
            My family, on the other hand, had made their lives about space. My father worked for NASA. My younger brother followed in our father’s footsteps. Even my kid sister wanted to go to space. She was an astronaut.
            I was a nurse. Space didn’t have those either.
            It seemed like everyone in my family was meeting people’s expectations—except for me of course. But what was so wrong with being a male nurse? When I’d decided to go to medical school and study to become a nurse my parents had been proud.
            “Our son is going to be a nurse. He’s going to help save lives,” they said. But others weren’t so enthusiastic.
            “You know, used to be, only women could be nurses,” my grandfather had said.
            “Your little sister is an astronaut. Your brother is a physicist. They’re working on a big project in space. You clean bedpans. That’s an accomplishment,” my Gran added.
            “Gran, it’s about more than that. I help save lives,” I told her.
            “Help being the key word,” was her reply. “Doctors do the actual saving. You couldn’t have been one of those at least?”
            I didn’t let that dissuade me though. My Gran had been a persnickety woman anyway. She had never let me live down the fact that my two younger siblings were seemingly more accomplished than me in every way. My little brother was engaged to a very pretty, successful career woman. My sister, the baby of the family, got married at twenty-one. She was three years younger. Gran nagged me about marriage. In fact, every Christmas card she sent me had a PS that read, “Still waiting on that wedding invitation. Is it going to get here before I die?”
            Gran died a year ago. Her epitaph reads:
Elizabeth Price 
March 2, 2041-August 9, 2124
Loving wife, mother, and grandmother
P.S. I’m still waiting on that wedding invitation.
I kid you not. That’s what it says. It was in her last will and testament to be written just like that. The look on the man’s face at the funeral home when we told him what to put on her headstone was priceless. But I digress.
            A sore disappointment to my grandparents, I became a nurse anyway. Why? People needed nurses. Hospitals, doctors, sick people needed them. Space didn’t. Space was a place that nurses didn’t belong. That’s the only thing I liked about space. And nurses. Gran was right. There are a lot of bedpans involved.
            So in a family that thought they belonged in space, I was a nurse that didn’t. That was fine though. I liked it that way. Preferred it even. I would let them go to space; discover alien races, blow stuff up, get blown up. Well, I never hoped they would get blown up, but it was always a heavily weighing concern in the back of my mind. I didn’t care if they received more praise for doing it. I was a nurse. I helped save lives. And I’d be a liar if I didn’t say I was good at it, too.
            I liked my job. I loved my family. I’d had a few relationships gone wrong. I was content at being single. I was happy.
            Until it all got uprooted. 

Thanks for reading!!
~Steph <3

Friday, September 30, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like I have an Overactive Imagination!

On my way to work I saw all the leaves along the side of the road and the trees starting to change color. I thought, "It's beginning to look a lot like fall!" which brought the song "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas" to mind. Then I started humming the tune, and put words to it. Thus, I wrote

Photo © Stephanie H. 2010
It's beginning to look a lot like Autum

It's beginning to look a lot like autum
Everywhere you turn
Trees change to colors bright,
then drop their leaves so light.
Cooler days and less daylight to burn!

It's beginning to look a lot like Autum.
The clock will turn back soon.
A walk in the leaves  is fun
They crunch as you go along
It's barely fourty-eight degrees by noon!

Sweaters and scarves to shield from the wind
as it gusts and nips at your nose.
A cozy fire in the hearth with warm blankets to spare
and steaming cup of coacoa.
And all the kids go back to school despite a heartfelt "No!"

Photo © Stephanie H. 2011
It's beginning to look a lot like Autum
as the days go by.
October brings Halloween
A goulish and scary scene.
Then comes Thanksgiving with the pumpkin pie!

It's beginning to look a lot like Autum.
Soon the snow will fall.
Before we know it December's here,
bringing Christmas cheer;
Choirs caroling and presents for us all!

It's the season... called Fall! 

9/30/11 by me! =)

Monday, September 12, 2011

So long ago

Everyone remembers this day, right? Where they were, what they were doing when they heard the news. I recall so easily the feeling I had when the second plan hit - the horror I felt when the first tower collapsed, followed soon by the second tower. The swelling of pride and sympathy when President Bush addressed the nation later that day. The day America more or less stood still, watching, listening in horror as their nation was attacked.

I can't imagine how the people in the towers felt in their last moments. How the people in New York felt as they watched their city attacked. Fear, sadness, grief, anger. So many emotions. So many lives. I can't imagine what it's like to have lost someone dear to me in that attack. I'm thankful to God that none of my family or friends died that day, but I feel so much sympathy towards those who did.

We watched a special on the history channel of that day ten years ago. They showed a collection of videos taken by New Yorkers with sound clips of firemen, policemen, and news reporters. I felt much the same as I did that day so long ago. Even though I was only 12, I will always remember. It's important to remember, but don't dwell on the past too much.

Alas. Life must go on. Take comfort that this nation and all others rest in God's hands. He is in control. Through good and bad, he will not forsake those who love Him.

"And we know that all things work together for the good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." ~ Romans 8:28

Thursday, November 11, 2010

True Love

Today I attended the Bible study that a local church has been holding here on campus on the second floor of the science building. I've been going for several weeks now (probably a month or two) and have been enjoying them immensly. Two weeks ago we started John Piper's "God is the Gospel" video series. Today we watched Lesson 3: The Love of God When God is the Gospel. This is what I came away from this session with:

Philippians 1:20-23 "...according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better;"

From what Paul says here, true, biblical love become rather clear. Dig into the passage. Read the whole chapter. Pauls says if I live, then I can serve God, which is the ultimate expression of love. Love is sacrifice. Biblical love involves  sacrificing yourself to serve God, and to serve others, and by serving others, we serve God. In the video Piper says something along the lines of, "Love means sacrificing whatever it takes, even if it is at the expense of you or your brother, to give God glory." (he used John 11:1-6 as his basis for this statement, and he said it better than I have). Jesus stayed two more days so that when he went Lazarus he would be dead. Why? So that he could raise him from the dead and give God and Himself glory (v. 4).

Jesus is our example of how we are to be. If Jesus 'sacrificed' the life of his friend by staying that he would die merely so God would get the glory, should we not also make sacrifices? If we truly love God we will seek a relationship with Him and we will seek to always give Him glory. We will not perfectly be able to do this, but that is our goal: "What is the cheif end of man? Man's cheif end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever."

In our loving of our fellow man we must make sacrifices of ourselves in such a way that it helps and/or encourages those people to glorify God, as well as enables us to give God glory. Let me pose this question. If our love of another (brother, sister, mother, father, cousin, friend, boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse) does not help us and them glorify God, do you think it's true love?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Cloudless Rainy Days

For those days when you're just in the mood for a rainy day and there's not a cloud in sight... this is the site for you.

Playing your favorite relaxing music with it makes for the ultimate reading/studying sound! =)

Friday, October 8, 2010

October 8, 2009

Day Three:

Excerpt from my jouranl:

October 8, 2009, 10:50 p.m. - Thursday

     After breakfast we piled on the bus and headed for the country side. We drove through Dannybrook's, a section of the city, and learned of it's history.
     Once out of Dublin the scenery was breath taking! Rolling hills, lush fields (with sheep!) and sprawling mountains all green and beautiful. We were headed north to Wiclow County were we visited Gelndalough. It was the ruins of a monastic church, the only one with double arches at the entrance. The old, old cemetery around it was still used to bury people in today. After a tour of the ruins we were allowed to walk down to the lake. Glendalough is known as the "valley of two lakes," which is what Glendalough means, I think.  The ruins were build of stone and most of the structures (the "sacred" ones) weren't built with mortar.
     The lake was absolutely gorgeous! It was so amazing with the mountains and "woods" stretched out behind it!
     Next we headed to Powerscour Gardens, which were in the same county. We ate lunch there and headed out to see the garden. Lunch was delicious (but expensive!) and the gardens... No word exists to describe it accuretly enough. It looked like something from a painting or a Jane Austin movie! It was beautiful.
     After the gardens it was back to Dublin. They dropped us off at the National Museum of Ireland (those of us who wanted to go that is). There we saw many ancient artifacts and the bog people (Jenn, Kim, Kara, myself, and Dr. Watson saw them together). The bog was a place were once things had sunk in to it, they were trapped on the bottom and because there was no oxygen there in the soil, things were well preserved. This included people. They found people who had been killed in various ways. Some of the bodies were whole, others... were in pieces. And by pieces I mean one was just a torso with arms while or or two ere missing legs. They were really gross-- their sking (the ones that had sking) looked like old leather-- but it was cool to see, in a way.
     At seven we went to a traditional Irish dance show. Oh, it was such fun! There were 3 men who played Irish music and another man played an Irish uilleann pipes, which is similar to bag pipes but one uses the right elbow to pump air into it instead of blowing in it. It was a beautiful sound and equally beautiful music. He also played a "flute" type instrument... I forgot what it was called but it was played similarily to a tin whistle.
     Then the dancers were out! There were six of them, 3 guys and 3 girls. They were excellent and the dance was amazing! My favorite part was when two of the guys did what I would describe as "the dueling Irish dancers." They took turns "showing off" to "prove" who was better.
     They they did audience participation where they demonstrated and irish dance (for couples) and took volunteers from the audience. Jenn was selected and did an excellent job!"

End of day three! =)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

October 7, 2009

Day Two! =)

I woke up to this beautiful sunrise outside our hotel window! It was utterly breath taking.

After breakfast we got on the bus and headed to our first stop... the doors of Dublin!

 They were painted all different colors so it was easy to tell  what house was yours, because they all looked so similar. Ever door was so unique and beautiful, they kept them and now the doors are pretty well renowned.

Next stop was St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Beautiful architecture outside and beautiful on the inside!

Check out those beautiful stain glass windows! And that high, arch ceiling with all the intricate carving!! Very impressive.

St. Patrick himself! Quite the depiction, isn't it? XD

I absolutely loved the floor! Check out the tile work!!

"This was the reconsilliation door; several hundered years ago, there were two feuding familes in Dublin, and one of them started losing very badly, so they took refuge in St.Patricks. Finally, the two heads of the clans realized that they were both Irish, and they both worshiped the same God, so why were they fighting? They agreed to a truce, but in order for the truce to be legitimate, they had to shake hands, only niether one trusted the other enough to leave the safety of his men. So finally they hacked a hole through the door with their swords and shook hands through that. Three weeks later they were back to fighting each other."

Our tour guide, Alley! =)

Our next stop was Kilmainhem Jail!

 On the right we have original graffiti of a prisoner who was held her... I don't know either. XD
 The cells were really small, but this cell block was very open.

This place was full of hallway after hallway of cells, which in the day, contained women, men, and children alike.

I got thrown in a cell!! =O

 We had dinner at the Hard Rock cafe.
They had an upside down car inside!! It was painted all kinds of wacky colors. It reminds me of  a Mondrian painting.

And thus ended day two!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

This Time Last year...

...I was in Ireland! =D

In honor of my trip last year, I decided to post pictures and maybe an excerpt or two from my journal each day that the trip was on last year. =)

So Day One (Not counting the day we departed): We arrived at Heahtrow Airport to find out that our flight was moved. So instead of a 5 hour layover... we got a 7 1/2 hour layover. Due to two people in our group having liquid/drinks in their luggage (we even passed an area where we were supposed to throw those out!), customs made a big fat hairy deal out of it and Dr. Massey wouldn't let the students leave the airport.

 So we waited... and boy was it a long wait! There were shops in the terminal but after we went through those about three or four times, they got old. Most of us hadn't slept on the flight over the big pond, so we took advantage of the opportunity.

Meredith and Megan were exhausted -- We all were! I had a picture of me asleep that a friend took... but I couldn't find it!

Honestly, I couldn't find it! XD

 We finally arrived in Dublin! And it was raining. But it was ok, the city was still amazing!

 Our tour guide was very nice and sympathetic. Her name is Alley! She got us all on the bus and took us to the hotel where we checked in, freshened up, and relaxed a bit.

 Several of us decided to walk around the city before dinner (we were eating at the hotel that night).  We visited a little art museum just around the corner -- it had these neat stain glass windows and pretty architecture. We weren't allowed to photograph the artwork.

 Walking around town we saw lots of different buildings and store fronts (we stayed fairly close to the hotel). We even saw (Dr.) Massey's funeral home! =)

 Dinner at the hotel was AMAZING! The food was so delicious... they had the BEST tomato soup EVER! I'll never eat cambell's again...

 As you can see, the hotel room was really nice as well.

That bed was so comfy and a sight for sore eyes that night. I fell asleep before I even realized it.

 Thus concludes Day one! =)