Thursday, April 30, 2009

Take Everything - Seventh Day Slumber

Another melody

Another empty song

I tell myself that

I have praised you

And try and make believe

This is all you want

But once again

I know I’ve missed it

Praising you is not just the songs I sing

Jesus here I am

Take everything

Take the pain inside

Take the brokenness

Don’t stop 'til there’s nothing left

My arrogance

My pride

The loss of innocence

Jesus, take everything

There’s nothing left I need

That’s when I feel alive

Holy Spirit fall

Fresh upon me

You can have it all

Monday, April 27, 2009

17. To the Zoo!

Several weeks ago - and I mean several - some friends and I journeyed to St. Louis for the morning to visit the animals at the zoo. After that, we headed down to Park Hills to watch Andy play baseball. Although he didn't actually get to play while we were there (which was a major disappointment), I think we all managed to have a good time anyways. At least I did. Good friends make everything more fun. :D I, naturally, did not think to bring a camera. Mark, however, did, and here are some of his pictures.

Nathan and a . . . glowing green orb thing.
Ashley and I found them and fell in love.
Apparently, he did too.

"Hey Zephan! Pose with. . . "
Sidenote: When going to the Zoo, never
neglect to pack a Zephan. You will not regret it.

This was about the most we saw of Andy. He kept score.
Here he is with the team. wOOt.

This picture about sums up our baseball experience for the afternoon.
As they say, a picture says a thousand words.

However, I am pleased to say that, on a whole, the trip was enjoyable! And I knocked something off of my Packing List, always a plus. Thank you to my dear friends, who made it such a fun day!

"Ah! Leave me not to pine, alone and desolate . . . "

Several weeks ago I posted about our involvement in "The Pirates of Penzance" - well, Saturday evening our obligation to be at the theatre ceased, as we had our final performance. I'm not foolish enough to believe I am any sort of authority when it comes to the quality of a theatre production - but, this was mostly certainly amazing. You'd have to see it to understand. . . the costumes, set, coreography, acting, orchestra, singing, etc. etc. was just stunning. I watched from backstage for 3 dress rehearsals and 6 performances, and I was more wowed each and every time. The energy of the actors and actresses for our Saturday night performance was incredible - it made ME energized just to watch them!

I think we all tend to take for granted this opportunity - most people never have the chance to be involved in theatre like this, unless they become professional. All I have to say is that this community, the Fine Linen group, and most especially the Nisbett family have blown me away with this production. I am going to miss it SO much next year, when I'm away at school. Making it home for a performance is going to be a non-negotiable. :)

I'm already beginning to miss my dear friends, especially all those lovely Stanley sisters. Curling hair and zipping/buttoning up has never been so much fun! I especially treasure the girls who I've gotten to be close with only since this production started . . . spending hours at the theatre together tends to develop a certain level of closeness. And while I do not believe that I shall "pine" as this blog title suggests, I will always value the memories I made through this experience.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lead Me to the Cross

"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, and am not silent."
"From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
before those who fear you will I fulfill my vows.
The poor will eat and be satisfied;
they who seek the LORD will praise him—
may your hearts live forever!"
Psalm 22: 1-2 & 25-26
"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
Psalm 34:18

David and his psalms can be so refreshingly honest! In them, I can vividly see the ups and downs of a walk of faith, the walk of a man declared to be after God's own heart. He has moments when God seems so near, and when he is full of praise for the intimacy of his Lord and King. And he also has times when he cries out from a heart that feels the pain of separation from God, times when God seems so very far away. Yet always, he comes back to praising the Lord, and declaring how marvelous and good he is. What's David's secret? How does he remain so full of faith when God seems distant? I think the key is that David truly knows God, and knows His character. He has confidence in who God is, even when he is unsure where God is, or what He is doing. The only way that I too can come to this point of confidence in God is by knowing just who He is. . . and the only way that comes about is by digging into His word.

"With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, "Surely this man was the Son of God!"
Mark 15:37-38

Sometimes, as in this story, the circumstances around us shout out God's identity and His sovereignty, loud and clear. This centurion experienced Christ's power in a real way, and standing there at the foot of the cross, He realized who Jesus was. It's an incredible story. However, in my daily life, my circumstances don't always shout God's name - they don't always make me think warm, fuzzy thoughts about Him, or tremble in fear and awe over His power. But regardless, I can always come back to the cross. I can stand still and remember what happened there, for me. Then I can say, with confidence, that this man was the Son of God.

Savior I come
Quiet my soul remember
Redemption's hill
Where Your blood was spilled
For my ransom
Everything I once held dear
I count it all as lost

Lead me to the cross
Where Your love poured out
Bring me to my knees
Lord I lay me down
Rid me of myself
I belong to You
Lead me, lead me to the cross

You were as I
Tempted and trialed
You are
The word became flesh
Bore my sin and death
Now you're risen

To your heart
To your heart
Lead me to your heart
Lead me to your heart

-Lead Me to the Cross

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Is This Love?


The very word sends shivers down my spine. I must admit, I am a hopeless romantic. What teenage girl isn't? This Friday, as I was making a large batch of chocolate chip cookies, my thoughts began drift to and fro among the dreams and hopes I have built for myself when it comes to this thing called love. Oh, my dreams aren't grand or fancy - they certainly aren't ambitious or unrealistic! But, because of the way God designed men and women to love each other and work together in relationships that uplift His purposes on earth, those dreams of someday being a part of such a relationship myself are certainly alive and well in my heart.

And yet, I paused to think about what this day, this Good Friday, recognized. Where is the romance in scourging and beating? Where are the girlish dreams to be found in a crown, not one of silver and diamonds, but of thorns? And what beauty, what cherished hopes are seen in a man, bleeding and dying on a cross? My fanciful thoughts of love came plummeting down into the world of reality once more. Not for long though - for I once again remembered that this day does not serve to simply recognize death and the devestation caused by it.

No - on Good Friday, we pause to remember the "why," not only the "what." Why would God Himself choose this path? To endure scorn, shame, and pain beyond comprehension? To humble Himself to our level, spend 3 years on earth showing us the perfect example of how we ought to live, then give himself up to death on a cross? Why?

"Greater love has no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends." This tale, with all it's gore and bloodshed, is truly the greatest romance ever written. The Lover sacrifices His very life for His Beloved. He does this, not out of a false sense of infatuation, or because a melodramatic playwrite had to have his moment in the spotlight. He does this to bring life. For through His death, we find that which was previously unattainable - eternal life!

Our story unfolds like many typical romances. However, soon the differences become apparent - the Prince came riding in, but not on a white stallion. He shares a meal with those dearest to Him, and the great love He bears for them is evident. But then ,the plot twist - our hero is given over to His enemies? Surely not! Gasp! Our hearts cringe as He is beat, again and again. Our tears flow as He walks the path to the cross. We hide our faces as He the nails are pounded in, and threaten to resign our role in this elaborate story as He is laid in the tomb. But, as with any romance, we find that a happy ending is right around the corner. For come Sunday morn, the tomb is empty and our hero has conquered death once and for all! He has provided us, His Beloved, with salvation from our dire situation, and the promise of a happily ever after, the Prince of Peace by our side.

May your heart be filled with hopes and dreams this blessed Easter as you remember this story of romance Our Father has set before us!

~Rebekah Grace

Friday, April 3, 2009

This Day In History. . .

So, I know this great young lady. Maybe great is an understatement. Maybe I should say incredible. Fantabulous. Glorious. Sublime. Well, you get the picture. She's pretty special.

And today in history, 18 years ago . . . . well, she was born, you see.
Birthdays are interesting. Most of the intagible things in this world are measured by quality, not quantity. And yet life, one of the most important things around, is often boiled down to quantity - our celebrations center around how long somehow has lived.

But that's not what really matters, is it? No - life, among the other "idea" nouns, ought to be measured in quality. And I will declare, unabashedly, that Ashley is far older than 18 when it comes to the quality of life she has lead thus far. Although I've only really known her for abut 4 years (that's right, isn't it?), I can confidently sit here and write that she lives her life to the fullest.

The reason I say this is not her stunning beauty (although she has more than her share of that!). It's not the fact that she lights up a room with her gentle smile. It isn't her sweet way of caring for her younger siblings, or her loving submission to her parents. It's not the words of wisdom she has always ready for a friend, and it's not her constant peace, despite the circumstances.
No - the reason Ashley's life is so full and so abudant, is because she has found the One who is the Source of all life. And her beauty, her smile, her submission, her wisdom, her peace, and all else, comes from Him. The simple fact that she is His beloved daughter, so very precious in His sight, is the secret to her leading such a life - one that shines with many, many years

Thank you Ashley, for using your personality, your gifts, and your talents to always point others to the Life Giver. May you have a blessed birthday! I love you, my kindred spirit!

Becky Girl

"The Pirates of Penzance"

Fine Linen Drama is at it again, with another great production coming up this April! Join us for "The Pirates of Penzance" a comic opera by Gilbert and Sullivan. It is the story of young Frederic, apprentice to a pirate band, and the adventures he faces as he is released from his indentures. With pirates brandishing (and ocassionally dropping) their swords, young ladies twirling about the stage with parasols and giggles, policemen who sing and dance (and hide), and a quick-speaking, fast-thinking major-general, you and your whole family will be rolling on the flour with laughter throughout the evening.
(click for full-size)

The Fearsome Pirates of Penzance!

Their fearless - although quite simple - leader, the Pirate King!
(Joel Nisbett)
His right-hand - and often confused - man, Samuel.
(Adam Nisbett)
The self-described "piratical maid of all work," Ruth,
with her ward, the pirate apprentice, Frederic.
(Amanda Engelke and Nathan Brown)
The Paradox Trio

Some fierce pirates . . .
(Matt Strautman, Josiah Nisbett, Benjamin Wegner, and David Strautman)

. . . and some not so fierce pirates.
(Nathan Hickle, Benjamin)
My sister, Abby, seems to be bringing them to tears.
Hmmmm. . .I will have to let her teach me this trick.

And lastly, because everyone knows that pirates spend their time arm-wrestling. . .
(Mr. Davidson, Benjamin)
Nathan B., you're cheating!

The Stanleys

You see, their father is a Major-General.
(Kevin Edwards)

I do believe (and hope, for her sake) that their mother is deceased.
After having this many daughters, it's not really surprising. I would have died too.
I like to think that she was buried in the ocean.
And that all 20 + of her daughters were little children, on board the ship, during her burial.
And I like to envision the Major-General chasing them around the deck of the ship.
At any rate, she is not cast in this musical.

And here we have some of the gorgeous Stanley daughters.
(Megan, Ashley, Sarah, Rebecca, Jenny)

(Joy, Sarah, Tess, Grace, Jenna, Katie?)

Those whose hearts are not of leather,
Kate, Edith, and Isabel . . .
(Grace, Jenna, Ashley)

. . . and the lovely, oh so sympathetic, Mabel!
(Elise Hamacher)

The Elusive Policemen

They dance, they sing - it moves me, Bob.
(Nathan Hickle, David Strautman, John Nisbett -- their leader, Benjamin Wegner -- Mr. Hamacher, Zeke Hall , Josiah Nisbett)
One thing they do unfailingly well - they salute!
(Jacob Hamacher, Zeke Hall, Mr. McCluskey)

(I call them "elusive" both because they seem to hide when needed most, and because I cannot find many photographs of them in action.)

And All the Left-Overs

Mrs. Holmes, the spectacular pianist and voice director.
The beautiful director, Mrs. Nisbett
with her lovely assistant, Mrs. Light

The photographer from whom I stole most of my photos.

Oh yes - and this is what I do at the theatre. I sit. I watch.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Our Afternoon

As I took a short break from the massive rearrangement (did I just invent a new word?) that is currently taking place in my bedroom (the air of which is thick with bug killing powder), this scene greeted me downstairs:

Grandma and Grandpa were peacefully relaxing in the living room, reading and resting in front of the fire-place.

The 12-year-old was pulling the 6-year-old through the house, on his stomach, with a white rope. I think the 6-year-old was laughing.

The 4-year-old was sitting on the couch in the living room, calmly catching up on the news in WORLD magazine.

I love my life.