Tuesday, November 4, 2014

When Life Gives You Lemons...

   I know that the rest of the phrase is "make lemonade", but lately, I've been thinking, "THROW THEM BACK!!"
   I've been reflecting back on the last few months of this year... Wow. Many miles of travel, many hours of work, and many new experiences... I've been to 17 states, worked three jobs, and lived in three different places. Life seems to be throwing me all lemons lately, and frankly, I'm tired of drinking lemonade!
   I've been thinking a lot about my life, what my purpose is, and what I will be remembered as. Maybe I'm just turning rebel on everything that I've been taught, but I came up with a new idea of living. It's a great idea, but I still get cold feet. My idea: to live every day like it's my last. And I have a list. A list of things that I want to do before I die. A list of harmless fun that I have denied myself the pleasure of doing because of multiple reasons throughout my life. And so far, I have crossed off a few things. One was pulling an all nighter, another was to hang the price and buy a new camera, and a third was to buy a hat that I have always liked but worried what people would think if I wore it. Well, I don't care anymore. I have lived my life too long caring what people think about me. The people that really care about me will understand. All the others can talk about me and I refuse to let it bother me.
   So moving on! Literally. We moved to North Dakota after spending most of the spring/summer between ND and SD. I put nearly 10,000 miles on my car between July and October, not to mention the other vehicles that I drove before July. Slowly, the house is being unpacked. Thus far, the weather has been cold and windy but heavy snow has held off. So we are thankful for that.
   If/when life settles down for me, I have two dreams that I want to accomplish. One is to start my own business in natural/alternative medicine. By this, I don't mean to go to college and get tons of degrees and become a doctor. I mean that I want to study, read, experiment, learn, and make slaves, tinctures, concoctions, etc. that will help heal people. Thus far, I have enjoyed working part time and helping people who text or call me asking for help. But I want to do more. When I was in school, I wanted to graduate, get a scholarship, go to college, and become an RN. From there, I wanted to work up to a surgeon in either cardiology or neurology. That dream of being a surgeon is still very real to me, but being realistic, it won't happen in the near future. So I turned to something that I can do, that is still helping people and it doesn't require hundreds of thousands of dollars to accomplish. I enjoy the work, and although it may be weird for me to spend my summer reading college books in a rec center while the rest of my siblings are swimming, I'm doing something that I want to do.
   I've had a lot of thoughts going through my head lately, but to preserve the peace, I'm going to refrain from posting them. On the other hand, I do have thoughts suitable for posting, and that would be the following:
   What is pain like? What would it be like to be dying from some incurable disease and be in pain? What did our Saviour feel on the cross? "In agony prostrate Thou, suff'rest alone. ... Thou weepest and moanest in conflict and prayer, And writhest in agony, pain, and despair...(1)", "By anguish, grief, bent low; The depth of pain He suffered there No man can fully know. (2)", "Sinful world, behold the anguish Of our Saviour on the tree!... O such depth of pain and woe Never mortal heart did know! (3)"... So many songs relate of the pain that He suffered for us, on our behalf. It was for us, who were sinful, poor, and needy beggars, and we didn't even know our lowly state! Yet "He left Heaven's glory, to fulfil His father's plan. He chose to be our victor, and assured our pardon won. (4)" How thankful we all should be, that He loved us so much! So often, I forget what He has done for me on my behalf. I find myself struggling and sinking, wondering if I am all alone, if I should just give up, if He really is beside me. And then, He speaks. It may be through someone I meet, a song I happen to remember, a sermon, something I read, or verses that I have read that come back to me. I pray that God would remind us all daily what we have cost to Him, that we could truly glorify Him in ALL things. May He be with us all as we continue to walk along the narrow way of Life. May we encourage each other, pray for each other, lift up each other, and walk with each other. May we become a united body of believers, one strengthened by our trials and sorrows, and held together with a love that comes only from our Father in Heaven. Amen.

If…
 
If our lives were only filled with ease
And we walked on as if only to please
Ourselves in vain and frivolous things
And thought nothing of our eternal end
 
If we lived our lives as we see fit
Caring not of where our Maker sits
On that right hand of our Father on high
And sought not for our reward in Heaven
 
If we only walk on a broad wide way
And make as if we can only say
This is my way, this is my life
I shall not be hindered by trying times

Then all is lost for us on Earth
Who have always walked so full of mirth
For a broken heart and a needy spirit
He lifts; and cheers the tribulation pressed.

      -          Sarah J. Moideer


1. My Crucified Saviour by Fredrika E. Falck Translated by Claude W. Foss
2. The Hour in Dark Gethsemane by Anonymous, Norwegian
3. Sinful World, Behold by Johann Quirsfeld
4. He Still Came Just For Me by Donna I. Douglas

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Pictures

   After much thought, I decided it was best to discontinue my short series of my thoughts from Conventions. So for those of you who have been waiting for the last few weeks for them, I'm sorry, but they won't be coming.
   I've been traveling all over the country so I thought I would post a few pictures of some places that I have been.

The Gateway Arch - St. Louis, Missouri




4th of July - Williston, North Dakota

Mount Saint Helens - Skamania County, Washington State




Multnomah Falls - Corbett, Oregon


Amboy, Washington State


Centerville, Washington State







 

 Centerville Highway




Pasco, Washington

Somewhere on the prairie - North Dakota


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Thoughts From the Conventions - Friday

   Since I have already introduced this new "series" of publishing's, I shall continue into Friday's meditation with out further introduction.
   I sat down to wait for a friend to get back from chatting with another person. On the bench near me were three men talking so I listened to them for awhile. They didn't notice me until they were done talking and one of the men left the conversation. Then I was introduced to the group and I talked with them for awhile. It was when they had finished talking with me that one of the men hailed a young man that was passing down the hallway. The young man stopped and was introduced before the older men began questioning him. They asked him what he thought about the services so far and what he would like to see changed. I'm going to paraphrase his replies because I don't remember them word for word: "All they preach is grace, grace, grace. You sin, you ask forgiveness, you're okay, you go do it again. There's no heart change. That's why a lot of us aren't in there listening; because we don't agree with the way they are preaching." The older men looked slightly startled and I admit, I was rather surprised myself. I thought I was the only one who thought this way. When further questioned on what the young man would want to hear preached at the Conventions, the young man responded that he wanted to hear what he heard when he was younger. This being sins named from the pulpit and grace preached when a true repentance was made from the heart, not just when there was a confession made from the mouth. I told the young man that there were a lot of people who agreed with what he was saying, and he looked surprised to see that. He then had to go on his way, so the conversation was kept short.
   This conversation, as well as others with some of the youth, has really made me ponder. Why is our church this way? Here is a large group of people, ranging from 16 to 25, silently pleading and crying to God that the truth might be preached to them as it was when they were 5, 6, 7. We want the whole word of God, not just the grace part of it preached. Without sin, grace isn't needed. So I wondered and questioned others:

Is the youth as a whole being consulted when it comes time to ask the preachers who preach at the Conventions and the Youth Group?

Do the members that are organizing the Conventions care what the Youth Group wants?

If the members involved in organizing the Conventions don't want some of these older preachers (Dave Lappi, Paul Smallwood, Doug Coponen, Wilfred Sikkila, Ed Estola, etc) speaking at the Conventions, could they at least be called to speak at the Youth Group?

   We as a Youth Group whole are so often referred to as the future of the church. This is true in one aspect. But we are also right now the church. There are so many of us that come to church because we feel it is our duty. Then we come because we are seeking something. And then we leave, because what we are seeking we do not hear being preached. Is this really how a church should be? We should be joined together as members of one church, not as divided groups based on how liberal or conservative we feel the word of God should be preached. We shouldn't tell our preachers that they can speak that fornication is a sin but divorce is alright. That killing is wrong but planned parenthood is okay. That it's fine to fudge a little on our taxes but that stealing is a sin. No. We should let the men who stand before us speak the words that God gives them with all authority. (Titus 2:15) If we feel convicted, then we should examine our hearts before God. We shouldn't hush the mouths of those who preach to us, simply on the basis that we feel convicted. The Spirit is convicting you, not the man who is preaching to you. And it's the Spirit that the Youth want to hear. Will the church stand in the way of the yearning and desires of it's future?
   Dear God, please raise up amoung us strong men, zealous of Thy true and eternal Word. Give them all power and words to speak onto us, a fallen people, those things which Thou would have us to hear. Let them speak to exhort, rebuke, and teach us. Be their constant strength. Give them from Thy wisdom. Continue to keep us as Thy children, until we reach our eternal Home. AMEN.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Thoughts from the Conventions - Thursday

   For those of you who do not know it already, I am at the annual 2014 Apostolic Lutheran Church convention in Vancouver, Washington. It has thus far been a nice vacation. My dad drove me out here where I picked up a friend from the airport and together, we are braving the crowds. We have met a few new people and are hoping to meet even more before these services come to an end on Sunday night. There is a fairly large group from Scandinavia this year, amounting to around 70 people. Thus far, I have met quite a few girls and a few older people. Also, I've been able to chat with kamrat from Sweden who is pretty cool.
   So in view that these conventions are church conventions, I thought I would try a new thing this year. I have had many thoughts on the things that have been preached so I thought that I would share one for every night of the convention. I'll try to keep them fairly short and to the point...

Matthew 5:14-16

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.

We as Christians are called to be lights to this world that we live in. We should shine in this world; a goodly Christian example, a loving, kind people. We can not be lights to the world if we are in those dark places of sin, participating in those evil earthly pleasures. If we associate in those places and do those things which are sin, we are no longer a light to the world; we are no longer glorifying our Father which is in Heaven. (Matt. 5:16) We may feel that we are just one person; what can one person do? We may feel week, faint, tired. Our God is a mighty God! He is our strength, our light, our salvation, our example, our ALL! (Psalm 46:1, Psalm 62:1-2, Psalm 18:2-3) We may stand physically alone in our walk on Earth. We may never have an earthly friend to walk side by side with us to face our battles and be a light with us. We will be hated and persecuted for our beliefs and the lives we live. (Matt. 10:22) But we are never alone. No. Our Heavenly Father, the Good Shepherd, our precious Saviour is always by our side. (Heb. 13:5) He is there, even when we feel like our life isn't worth anything anymore. He is there when we are ready to sink and give up in despair. He is there, patient, tender, loving. Our light may not be as bright as we may want it to be, but our Father knows our hearts. He knows our desires and give to us as He knows best. We may feel worthless, as if we have no purpose on this Earth. God never makes a mistake. You may feel like you aren't known by anyone. You may feel like you live in a world in which you are invisible to everyone. God knows you. Don't give up! He is waiting for you to surrender ALL to Him. Let us work for Him, serve Him, listen to Him. Let us look up to Him, pray to Him, and speak to others of Him. Can we deny Him these actions? Will we deny Him these actions? He, who has gave His all, for us, poor defiled sinners? We may not know why we are on this earth, but He knows. Trust Him! (Prov. 3:5-6)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Graduation #2

   My sister graduated in the fall time of 2013 and almost two weeks ago, we had a coffee for her. Yes, I know I'm super late in getting pictures posted but I guess it's better late then never.
   While in Brookings doing some second hand and antique shopping with my aunt and sister, we came across a dress. My sister really liked the color and the texture of the fabric so she tried it on. It didn't have a top or much of a back and she was a little discouraged.
BEFORE: Front and back
But my gears were turning and after seeing her in it, I was sure I could make it wearable. We got the dress for $15 and we were super happy. Mother, upon seeing the dress, stressed again the fact that she wouldn't have anything to do with it so I was on my own. What lovely fun and excellent learning experience! I finished the dress on Thursday and she wore it on Friday. I kinda don't care for all the hand sewing involved on the finish so I put it off until the last week. So here are a few pictures of her and the dress.
AFTER: Front and back




 So she liked it, and I was actually happy about how it turned out. I never thought it would turn out the way it did. :)

Her graduation coffee went wonderfully. No tornadoes, no rain, no brownish scary sky... The day was sunny and warm and for the most part, everyone was in a good mode. A wonderfully sweet cousin of ours happened to arrive at our house that morning and came with us to the Community Center to help us get ready. We are ever so thankful for her help! We teased her because last year she came to our house and we ended up canning peaches all day. And we had many, many boxes of them too. She, as patient as ever, joined right in without a word of complaint and a smile on her face. She's a blessing!

Anyway, we got the usual family pictures, resulting from the boys that when they graduate, they ARE NOT having a graduation coffee or anything. "We can have water. It will be the "Watering Hole." Water and Mountain Dew." or something to this extent was heard being forcefully emitted from one of them. We all got a good laugh.

We got home and everyone was tired. No one wanted to unload the vehicles but we took out what needed to be kept cold and left everything else where it was until the next day. She opened her gifts and cards and I recorded them. Then, she got a crazy scheme up her sleeves and I was so tired, I went along with it. Here is the result:
Me, half awake with a cheesy tired grin, and my sister who claimed she had used up all of her smiles for the day already. She in her dress and me in mine.

And last of all, a picture of her. A good one that captures her so well.
 Congratulations my dear sister! I'm so glad that you made it through your high school studies!




Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Williston: The New California Gold Rush

  

 
   At the beginning of April, I rode up with a family from church to Williston, North Dakota. Some people have no idea where Williston is, nor do they know what is going to in this once small town. According to the 2000 population census, Williston was a relatively small town with 12,512 people. (1) Now the estimated population is from 25,000 to 33,000 in 2014 (2). Williston, Fargo, and some the surrounding areas are also ranked in the United States top 10 growing cities. In one year, from 2012 to 2013, Williston had a growth rate of 10.7%. (3) So this town is really growing. Ever since the large, vast quantities of oil was discovered there, the people have been flocking in in groups. The unemployment rate for the entire state of North Dakota is the lowest in the nation at 2.6% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (4) And to top this off, the state of North Dakota is putting out a call for help, as they are short 25,000 jobs. (5)
   Aside from all the numbers, this town is different. I was there about a year and a half ago and there wasn't much. We saw plenty of oil rigs and the like but as for places to eat, stores to do grocery shopping, and places to live, there wasn't much. Now there is a wide variety of these places, and more are being constructed daily. A year and a half ago, this was a man's town. Meaning there were hardly any ladies and next to no children. Trucks and semis dominated the roads, and there was a lot of empty ground. Now you can find almost any kind of vehicle, in any color, style, and size, and I think if you looked good enough, you would see plates from all 50 states. There are hotels, housing units, and man camps all over.
   Most of the hotels are advertised with weekly and monthly rates. There is every style of hotels up there, from the fancy looking ones to the plain simple ones. But the rooms rate high. For a basic room, you are looking at anywhere from $105/night upwards to the $250/night range.
   I went grocery shopping with my aunt while I was just recently up there... It was rather disappointing to me in a way. There were ladies with children all over, and hardly any men. It was like Williston all of a sudden became a civilized town with lots of places to eat, stores to shop in, and other people besides men.
   Aside from grocery stores, hotels and housing units, and places to eat, the rest of the town mostly consists of buildings and offices related to the oil fields. There are a few stores for auto parts and services and also for men's heavy duty work clothes and shoes, but other than that, any clothing or shoe shopping is limited and it's all in old town Williston.
   While I was in Williston, which was only from Wednesday afternoon to Saturday morning, I saw quite a few things. I took some pictures but I won't post them all because I think I would run out of room. They will give you a small, a VERY small, taste of Williston, ND.







 
New duplex housing units.


 


One of too many to count man camps.

Another picture of the man camp.
Good ol' Wal*Mart. This is kinda known to be a man's place.
 
A few pictures of what is left of the prairie life in Williston. 


 
 
   So here's the end of my trip. I hope to go up again some time, I'm just not sure when. But there will be more pictures to follow when I get back.
 
Sources: