Sunday, September 28, 2008


The RHAA Varsity Volleyball team has been doing an amazing job this year! They have played well in all their games, but the two they played against the Springfield Knights in the Lebanon Tournament several weekends ago really stood out. As the ref put it, "This is real high school volleyball right here." The lady who was keeping score with me and I agreed. . . there were some absolutely fantastic plays throughout the game, rocket serves, and some great blocks and spikes all around. We ended up splitting games, winning one and losing one, the scores being 25-23, then 23-25. Great job ladies, and keep up the great work! And a special thanks to Coach Sarah, who is doing a wonderful job with them. To briefly introduce you to the team:

3. Sarah Hazell, setter. She goes for the ball where ever it happens to end up, rarely missing the second hit and providing amusment (and sometimes worry) for all who watch! Her serves have been just amazing, and she's had several great serving streaks.
6. Elise Hamacher, outside hitter. This is her first year of volleyball, but she is doing great and has more energy than anyone out there.
9. Alida Hazell, outside hitter. Although she was an amazing setter in past years, this season has shown us her spiking abilities as well. For a little person, she has a mean spike!
11. Abby Hall, outside hitter turned middle hitter. She is the encourager of the team, and is great at getting it up high so everyone has time to get in place. My personal favorite to cheer for too. ;)
14. Rebekah Applegate, middle hitter. Again, strong spiker and server, also great on the blocks.
19. Renee Pettijohn, outisde hitter. An intimidating spiker and server whose determination can be seen from the stands.
21. Ashley Riefer, outside hitter. Awesome at those controlled bumps to the setter and a very consistent server.
25. Grace Caudill, setter. A spectacular setter, gets under the ball like no other and packs a pretty mean serve too!
72. Faith Wegner, setter. Consistent server, good setter, and can spike as well as anyone else when given the chance!
78. Marty Collins, middle hitter. As the tallest on the team, Marty has an awesome spike, and does a great job blocking as well.

Question: If I am their "second Mom", does that make them my "second children"?

For those who were wondering. . . yes this is the Explorer, "my" car.
And yes, I do have a car seat that has permanent residence in that car.

"Does this make my head look big?"

A little uncertain about the hat. :)

What a handsome guy!

Oh the joys of bath time!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hey all,
I know, it's been a while since I've posted any photos of the family. Well I have a whole lot coming. . . but I also have a whole lot of homework today and this weekend. Story of my life. But I will try my best to squeeze it in! You can look forward to:

Photos and video from Abby's volleyball games
Photos of Andy playing baseball
Photos of Isaac and Elizabeth doing what they do best - being adorable!
Photos from Abby's birthday tea

Have a wonderful rest of the week and weekend everyone!


Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Ugly Truth About Beauty

(An essay in my English Comp book)

If you're a man, at some point a woman will ask you how she looks.

"How do I look?" she'll ask.

You must be careful how you answer this question. The best technique is to form an honest yet sensitive opinion, then collapse on the floor with some kind of fatal seizure. Trust me, this is the easiest way out. Because you will never come up with the right answer.

The problem is that women generally do not think of their looks in the same way that men do. Most men form an opinion of how they look in the seventh grade, and they stick to it for the rest of their lives. Some men form the opinion that they are irresistible stud muffins, and they do not change this opinion even when their faces sag and their noses bloat to the size of eggplants and their eyebrows grow together to form what appears to be a giant forehead-dwelling tropical caterpillar.

Most men, I believe, think of themselves as average-looking. Men will think this even if their faces cause heart failure in cattle at a range of 300 yards. Being average does not bother them; average is fine for men. This is why men never ask anybody how they look. Their primary form of beauty care is to shave themselves, which is essentially the same form of beauty care that they give to their lawns. If, at the end of his four-minute daily beauty regimen, a man has managed to wipe most of the shaving cream out of his hair and is not bleeding too badly, he feels that he has done all he can, so he stops thinking about his appearance and devotes his mind to more critical issues, such as the Super Bowl.

Women do not look at themselves this way. If I had to express, in three words, what most women think about their appearance, those words would be: "not good enough." No matter how attractive a woman may appear to others, when she looks at herself in the mirror, she thinks, "woof." She thinks that at any moment a municipal animal-control officer is going to throw a net over her and haul her off to the shelter.

Why do women have such low self-esteem? There are many complex psychological and societal reasons, by which I mean "Barbie." Girls grow up playing with a doll proportioned such that, if it were human, it would be seven feet tall and weigh 81 pounds. This is a difficult appearance standard to live up to, especially when you contrast it with the standard set for little boys by their dolls . . . excuse me, by their action figures. Most of the action figures that my son played with when he was little were hideous looking. For example, he was fond of an action figure (part of the He-Man series) called "Buzz-Off," who was part human, part flying insect. Buzz-Off was not a looker. But he was extremely self-confident. You could not imagine Buzz-Off saying to the other action figures, "Do you think these wings makes my hips look big?"

But women grow up thinking they need to look like Barbie, which for most women is impossible, although there is a multibillion-dollar beauty industry devoted to convincing women that they must try. I once saw an Oprah show wherein supermodel Cindy Crawford dispensed makeup tips to the studio audience. Cindy had all these middle-aged women apply beauty products to their faces; she stressed how important it was to apply them in a certain way, using the tips of their fingers. All the women dutifully did this, even though it was obvious to any sane observer that no matter how carefully they applied these products, they would never look remotely like Cindy Crawford, who is some kind of genetic mutation.

I'm not saying that men are superior. I'm just saying that you're not going to get a group of middle-aged men to sit in a room and apply cosmetics to themselves under the instruction of Brad Pitt, in hopes of looking more like him. Men would realize that this task was pointless and demeaning. They would find some way to bolster their self-esteem that did not require looking like Brad Pitt. They would say to Brad, "Oh YEAH? Well what do you know about LAWN CARE, pretty boy?"

Of course many women will argue that the reason they become obsessed with trying to look like Cindy Crawford is that men, being as shallow as a drop of spit, WANT women to look that way. To which I have two responses:

1. Hey, just because WE'RE idiots, that does not mean YOU have to be; and

2. Men don't even notice 97 percent of the beauty efforts you make anyway. Take fingernails. The average woman spends 5,000 hours per year worrying about her fingernails; I have never once, in more than 40 years of listening to men talk about women, heard a man say, "She has a nice set of fingernails!" Many men would not notice if a woman had upward of four hands.

Anyway, to get back to my original point: If you're a man, and a woman asks you how she looks, you're in big trouble. Obviously, you can't say she looks bad. But you also can't say that she looks great, because she'll think you're lying, because she has spent countless hours, with the help of the multibillion-dollar beauty industry, obsessing about the differences between herself and Cindy Crawford. Also, she suspects that you're not qualified to judge anybody's appearance. This is because you have shaving cream in your hair.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Destined to be Holy

We must continually remind ourselves of the purpose of life. We are not destined to happiness, nor to health, but to holiness. Today we have far too many desires and interests, and our lives are being consumed and wasted by them. Many of them may be right, noble, and good, and may later be fulfilled, but in the meantime God must cause their importance in us to decrease. The only thing that truly matters is whether a person will accept the God who will make him holy. At all costs, a person mst have the right relationship with God.

Do I believe I need to be holy? Do I believe that God can come into me and make me holy? The preaching of the gospel awakens an intense resentment because it is designed to reveal my unholiness, but it also awakens an intense yearning and desire within me. God has only one intended destiny for mankind -- holiness. His only goal is to produce saints. God is not some eternal blessing-machine for people to use, and He did not come to save us out of pity -- He came to save us because He created us to be holy. Atonement through the cross of Christ means that God can put me back into perfect oneness with Himself through the death of Jesus Christ, without a trace of anything coming between us any longer.

Never tolerate, because of sympathy for yourself or others, any practice that is not in keeping with a holy God. Holiness means absolute purity of your walk before God, the words coming from your mouth, and every thought in your mind -- placing every detail of your life under the scrutiny of God Himself. Holiness is not simply what God gives me, but what God has given me that is being exhibited in my life.

("Destined to be Holy", from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers)

"But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: 'Be holy, because I am holy.'"
I Peter 1:15-16

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Lego Set

Prince and the Pauper set, Lego style

Lady Edith's Balcony

The Throne and the Prince's bedroom

The door and window by which Mum, Abby, and I spent a lot of time.

The Steps behind the balcony

Our "town" props - the wall and bench

Zeke had a lot of fun making this, and was quite insistent that I post these photos for all of you to enjoy. I'm sure he'd appreciate comments on this post. . . ;)


Friday, September 12, 2008

Nursing is an art;
and if it is to be made an art,
it requires as exclusive a devotion,
as hard a preparation,
as any painter's or sculptor's work;

for what is the having (does it have) to do with dead canvas or cold marble,
compared with having to do with the living body--the temple of God's spirit?

It is one of the Fine Arts;
I had almost said
the finest of the Fine Arts.

--Florence Nightingale

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Wow, I just discovered that you can "blog" photos straight from Picassa! I'm excited. . .
Oh and in case you were wondering, this is a photo of me. ;)
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Several Unrelated Items. . .

1.) My dear mother started a blog for our family!! I'm not sure exactly how she is finding the time to post . . . but I think she sees it as a chance to relax from her other, more emotionally and mentally taxing activities. :) The address is "Missouri Halls Love Company" (see the explanation on the blog, although if you've ever spoken to my father for any period of time, you've probably heard this expression of his. lol).

2.) The Rolla Royals had their first volleyball games last night! It was quite exciting - we had a large, enthusiastic crowd there at the Middle School, and the girls played hard. The game was against Lebanon. . . our rival homeschool group. ;) Our Jr. High girls played first. Most of them had never played in a game before, and Lebanon's "Jr. High" team had some highschool girls who were quite expereinced. But our team held their own, and stuck in there, although they lost both games. A definite highlight was watching Megan Riefer serve 3 or 4 serves over in a row! Way to go Megan!!

After that were the Varsity games. The girls played well - once they began returning the serves, they really looked good, like they knew what they were doing. :) Some great digs and spikes made it an exciting evening, although we lost all of those games as well. The highlight of those games was Alida getting the volleyball stuck in the ceiling, and a girl from the other team getting it stuck in the basketball hoop. :) Congratulations ladies on your hard work out there, and good luck at your tournament this weekend Varsity!!

3.) I noticed on the Nisbett's blog that today is the one year anniversary of the passing of Amy Wilhoite. I never met her, and was only introduced to her sisters this spring. But a few months ago I decided to sit down and read through her blog. It shares of her struggle with Lukemia, and her ultimate victory over it - not a victory in your typical sense of the word, but a victory none the less. I shed many tears while reading it, and shed a few more today when it was brought to mind again. It really impressed upon me how far reaching one's influence can be - a young lady I never met, and didn't really know of until recently has, through her writing, caused me to think a lot about life. May you, as you go through this day, be encouraged - and remember that you have an impact you may never know of.

4.) As I am writing this, Isaac is watching a video about Florence Nightingale. I don't know much about her, her life, or her faith, so I have been inspired to research that. Since, as of now, nursing seems to be the focus of my next stage of life, it will be interesting, and I hope enlightening. Please let me know if you have any good resources on her to recommend! And I will certainly let you know what I discover on my own.

In Him,


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Isaac's Birthday

We recently celebrated Isaac's 6th birthday with a get-together at the park with a few friends who have kids both his age, and with August birthdays. They had a great time, and we enjoyed watching them have a great time. :)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Holy Ghost with Light Divine

Let's face it - Lutheran hymns can be downright boring. Often, I feel that the truths found in the lyrics are smothered and artfully disguised by the archaic music that accompanies them. However, there are times in church when the words somehow slip past the notes and I can appreciate them as they were meant. This particular song uses many thees and thous, and may be a challenge to understand for you 21st century singers. I have included below, in italics, my own words for each verse. It's truly a moving prayer to God.

Holy Ghost, with light divine, shine upon this heart of mine;
Chase the shade of night away, turn my darkness into day.
Holy Spirit, may your eternal light shine upon my sinful heart,
and chase away its darkness, transforming me into something new.

Let me see my Savior’s face, let me all His beauties trace;
Show those glorious truths to me, which are only known to Thee.
May I see Jesus' face, and ever marvel at his holy characteristics.
The truth of who he is goes far beyond what I can comprehend,
but I ask that you show me, Lord God.

Holy Ghost, with joy divine, cheer this saddened heart of mine;
Bid my many woes depart, heal my wounded, bleeding heart.
I ask for the joy of the Holy Spirit to enter my heart;
a heart filled with sorrow,
worn and wounded with the many cares of this world.
Renew in me the joy that comes only from knowing you.

Holy Spirit, all divine, dwell within this heart of mine;
Cast down every idol throne, reign supreme, and reign alone.
Consume every part of me -- live in my heart.
Get rid of all those things that hinder my love of you,
and give me the grace to have you be my only desire.

See, to Thee I yield my heart, shed Thy life through every part;
A pure temple I would be, wholly dedicate to Thee.
Look Lord -- I've given you my all.
Take it, and fill my emptiness with your ways.
May I being entirely devoted to you.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Rainy Afternoons, Reused Tea Bags, and Rachel

Rainy days always give me cause for rejoicing. As much as I love blue skies and sunshine, there is something that draws me about the pattering of droplets against my bedroom window. Running and splashing in puddles, little droplets on the leaves and grass, windshield wipers going "swish" (ior, as in the case of those on my car, "squeeeeek"), and that wondrous smell which envelopes all of nature the day after ~ just a few of the many things I find special about rain.
However, my least favorite thing about rain is its faithful partner - gray clouds. (An aside: In the car on my way to my 9 o'clock class this morning, I was quite gloomy, and thinking how ironic it was that the weather outside mirrored my mood so well. Mum, Abby, and I have recently been learning about joy though, so I banished the gloominess by singing. Might I add that if anyone had been in the car with me, this probably would have added to the miserable state of their morning. I got through "It's a Happy Day", "How Deep the Father's Love for Us", and "Blessed Assurance", and that helped me to enter class with a smile on my face. Which was soon wiped off after sitting through a speech on "how to feed a pet snake", using a live mouse to demonstrate. *shudder*)
The joint efforts of clouds and rain make me think of my own struggle to find joy throughout the day. Often, I must deal with the clouds and gloominess that come along in order to find that joy and peace the Father offers. Sometimes, this joy and peace are not obvious ~ sunshine and blue skies are wonderful, but the real challenge is rejoicing in the clouds. For without clouds, how could we receive rain? Similarly, how could we ever begin to appreciate God's holiness and love and power if our circumstances on earth were not so terribly bleak? The reason we can know Him and His wondrous ways is because we know of the alternative ~ and we love the rain because of those gray clouds looming about us.
Rain generally inspires me to drink tea, and lots of it. I've always been the ultimate cheap-skate (more graciously known as "thrifty), and reused tea-bags, often more than once. They always look so glum, huddled up in a little lump wherever I happened to place them the evening before. And then, "Plop" ~into the hot water they go! Suddenly, they appear almost fresh! Dark juice pours out of them and slowly mixes with the clear water, and the herbal aromas float up, conjuring thoughts of orchards, sitting before a warm fire, and country gardens. And all that happens simply by placing them in the hot water.

On those days when I am feeling glum, lumpy, and slightly useless or forgotten, it can take getting into some "hot water" to make me feel fresh again. As a problem, or new challenge comes, it helps point me to Who the Source of my joy is. Joy has nothing to do with how I look or feel at that particular moment. It has everything to do with my Savior and the knowledge of what He has done and continues to do for me.
I've been thinking about Rachel from the Old Testament a lot. (Her story can be found throughout chapters 29-48 of Genesis) If you recall, she had her share of trials and gloomy days. After waiting seven years to marry Jacob, her father gave her sister Leah to him instead! And then, because Jacob favored her above Leah, she sat by for many years and watched Leah, and their servants Bilhah and Zilpah bear many children while she was barren. But I suspect that these things made her even more grateful for the good days. Her son Joseph must have been such a joy to her! She said, "God has taken away my disgrace.", and the name Joseph means "Jehovah increases" ~ Rachel knew the source of her joy.

So today, as you join me in looking at those gray clouds, try to find the hidden joy in your circumstances. It may not be glaringly obvious, but more subtle. . . just like the gentle rain.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

My profound apologies

Dear friends,
I apologize for neglecting my blog these past few weeks. Not much out of the ordinary has happened. I have made meals at home, done a lot of driving to and from Abby's volleyball practices, spent time babysitting the younger kids. . . oh and started college. I suppose that was somewhat monumental, although I definitely have had mixed reviews as to whether or not I should be starting this fall. :) But I am quickly learning the ins and outs of classroom style education, and really enjoying things. My classes are as follows:
Public Speaking, meets Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9-9:50. It's a bit hard to get myself going for this class, but I am looking forward to the challenge of learning how to speak successfully.
English Composition, meets Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11-11:50. I quite enjoy this class. Although I am by no means the strongest writer around, I do like writing, and it's good for me to force myself to write.
Introduction to Psychology, meets Mondays from 1-3:30. I believe this is my favorite so far. My teacher is so sweet, and quite a character. I'm really finding the material interesting as well, although I do wish it was taught from a Christian perspective. But it is good for me to challenge myself and define what I believe about humans and how they think and relate and such.
Introduction to Statistics, meets Wednesdays from 5-7:30. This will probably get the most challenging as time goes on, but for now it has ben the simplest. I pray that I don't get in over my head. :)

All in all, I am so far enjoying my college life. Granted, I'm not your typical college student, but then again, who is? I have people ranging from age 17-age 55 in my classes, all eager to learn and further their education. It's a daily adventure, bu God is helping me to take things one step at a time.

The other biggest adjustment in life has been my decision not to attend youth group this year. Once again, I've gotten mixed reviews on whether or not this is a good idea, and to be quite honest, I'm still getting used to it myself. But God is faithful, and His ways are best. Growing up can be a challenge, but He knows all about it, and for that I am grateful.

So I hope this has satisfied those begging for more posts. Rather boring, but it is a post! I pray that you are all well and having a wonderful September. I'm surely looking forward to fall and the cooler weather. :)

His daughter,

What a Friend

What a friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden,
cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In his arms he'll take and shield thee;
thou wilt find a solace there.