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Monday, April 30, 2012

My, My, It's Been A While

Ah, it seems that my posting has been a bit scattered these days. I do have a legitimate excuse though. :-) We are switching the bedrooms in our house around, and my new room is currently under construction. Plus, 4-H Communications Arts Festival is tomorrow, which I am not really ready for, so life has been a wee bit on the crazy side, but it's wonderful!

The Bible Reading Challenge has been going well. I did get a few days behind this week. (There is nothing quite like the realization that you have to read 45 chapters today in order to get back on track. - I split it up.) But, I am back on track and lovin' it. I've been reading about David as of late. I'm always so inspired by his life. God used him in mighty ways, and yet he wasn't some perfect being. He was a completely human man that made some pretty bad choices and yet God used him.

We listened to a sermon by Paul Washer on Sunday night called "What a Man is Not." You can listen to it here. David and his life were talked about quite a bit. My Bible readings kept reminding me of the sermon. By the way, this is good for the girls too. I was sorely convicted, in fact there some parts in that sermon that are especially important for all people, men and women alike.

Today, we were reading some stuff on this website about the persecuted church in North Korea. Oh friends, my heart aches for our brothers and sisters there. It is so easy to put them out of our minds, but they so need our prayers. I really feel burdened for them, so I would like to ask you all to keep them in your prayers this week - and month, year, decade... They have endured so much for Christ.

That's all for now.
Maybe I'll have some pics of the work I'm doing in my new room later.

Blessings to y'all!!!
Kaila

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Vision As Big As An Aspen


A Vision As Big As An Aspen

By: Kaila Babiak

            The largest living organism in the world is located in the state of Utah. Its name is Pando, meaning in Latin, “I spread.” And spread it does. For hundreds and hundreds of years it has continued to spread, covering more ground and claiming more land its own. What is Pando? It is one colony of Quaking Aspen trees, all sharing the same root system, with each new tree being an exact clone of the original male tree.

            Aspen trees grow mainly in North America. They do produce seeds, but rarely grow up from seeds. Rather they expand from the original tree’s root system. They are smaller, thin trees, with a whitish bark. They do produce seeds each spring. There are generally about 10 seeds in each pod, covered by fluffy white stuff. In the fall, the leaves turn a glorious, golden color. When they turn this color it is easy to identify the separate colonies of aspens.

            There’s nothing all that special about Aspens. Sure, they look beautiful in the fall and they have lovely bark, but other than that there would be nothing to draw you aside on first glance. But it is upon deeper and more intense examination that we discover the true glory of Aspens. Their root system is a spectacular example of an intertwined generational unit that builds upon earlier generations. This is a beautiful example of the vision that Christian families need to have. We need a vision that reaches far beyond the outward appearance, but stretches down deep into our roots. We need a vision that passes on from generation to generation. We need a vision created to last, so that the future generations can still hold on to that same vision.

            Having a vision may seem unrealistic at times, especially because so many of us live in a day to day world, focusing on getting through the present trial at hand. But, though it may be hard, it is essential that we think about our future generations. Aspens would not be able to spread the way they do if they had a weak root system. It is because of the strength of their roots that they can spread and take over the land. In the same way we need to have strong, Scriptural visions that will last and be passed down to our great-great-great-grandchildren and so forward.

Proverbs 29:18

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

It's Not "The End"

Many stories end the with the famous words, "The End."
I'm always tempted to laugh when I read that phrase.
 It seems so vague, so unreal.
It's not a bad phrase, it just isn't the right phrase, because where one story ends, another begins.

 I've always loved a tragic ending, like a Shakespeare ending that leaves you lost in a state of shock.

But in real life, tragic endings are hard and painful.

When a "story" in life ends in a tragic way, that is when I remind myself of the new "story" that is beginning.
 I do not know the new story's plot, or all of it's characters, what the climax will be or if it will end happily.
I only know the Author of all stories is writing another marvelous story and even if it ends tragically, it is only because the ending of a future story will be better because of it.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mondays

Mondays are usually my least favorite day. And dreary, windy Mondays are usually even lower on my favorites list. But today is a great Monday - even though it's rather dreary and windy. It just feels like one of those days meant for accomplishing things.

My Bible reading this morning was all in Leviticus. I worked hard to keep my mind focused. Reading these chapters helps me to marvel in the fact that Jesus Christ, my Savior, was the final sacrifice. All of those rules and laws regarding sacrifices are finished in Christ. He is my sacrificial Lamb. Because of Him and through Him, I can come to God with my prayers and supplications, without a lamb or dove or any other animal. Reading those passages with that in mind was way more powerful than just mindlessly reading through them.

So, what else have I accomplished today? Well, I did a lesson of math, which for the record counts as a HUGE accomplishment. :-)
I have three lovely loaves of Italian Bread in the oven. I did half white flour, half whole wheat flour, in an attempt to make the recipe more healthy. I'm praying they work. I absolutely LOVE making Italian bread. The dough is so smooth and soft to knead. The recipe I have is so wonderful. My favorite line is "Knead until as soft and smooth as a bambino's behind." Now that's my kind of recipe! I get that kind of language! :-)
I also started working on a drawing of my Mom's "pretty" picture from her "pretty, happy, funny, real" post this week. It is a gorgeous photo of our bleeding hearts that we have growing in the front yard. A friend from church gave me a bunch of tips on graphing out the photo, and darkening my lines. You know, I discovered that graphing makes drawing pictures way easier. I had never tried it before, but I rather like it. My drawing is much more precise.

Oh my! I just took out my bread to spray some water on the crust and it smells soooo good! I wish I could put a smell sample on my blog.

Well, dinner is waiting to be made. I need to end now.

How was your Monday???

Kaila

Sunday, April 15, 2012

These days....

So, I have only done one, single blog post about my Bible reading progress. Sorry about that. Life has been very busy. One thing I have decided is the reading portions are quite large. I enjoy it, but it usually takes me all day to finish. It helps me focus on the Word more during my day.

Yesterday, I was reading in Exodus. I was tempted to get rather...well...bored, but I decided that I shouldn't be bored with the Bible. The Lord showed me so very interesting things about the Scripture I was reading. All those plans and measurements that He gave in regards to the tabernacle and Aaron's clothing, were specific instructions for beautiful pieces of art. When you actually think about the materials and the colors that the Lord instructed them to use, you realize what an artistically minded God we have.

Something else I thought of - and I'm not saying this is a revelation or anything - is the fact that God's wanting the priest's breastplate to be laden with all of those beautiful stones, shows that He likes when we use certain of His creations for our decorations. :-) I mean, those stones are rare and exquisite stones. It seems to me that God actually intended us to make use of those gems and wear them. Of course, I say that while keeping in mind that it should not be our goal to draw attention to ourselves, but I don't think that it is bad to wear pretty jewelry.

Going back to what I read earlier this week, I am always amazed at the whole history of the 12 tribes of Israel. What an incredible story of God's faithfulness to generation upon generation. And these weren't perfectly holy people. They were flawed human beings, like you and me, that God used to fulfill His purposes. That encourages me so much, because it helps me to remember that God can do great things through any person's life regardless of their situation and social status. His ways are better than our ways and His plans far exceed ours!

So, as we head into another week, do you have anything that the Lord has taught you that you would like to share? Even if you aren't doing the challenge feel free to share. God reveals different things to people and I think that it is great when we share those revelations with each other.

100th Anniversary of the Titanic

I wrote this story for a 4-H event, with the theme of the 100th anniversary of the RMS Titanic in mind.

I hope you enjoy!

Nearer, My God to Thee
Based on true lives and events on board the RMS Titanic



            “Come now, Lilli,” said Selma Asplund, as she leaned over her sweetly sleeping child. Her husband drew near and laid a heavy hand on her shoulder.

            “Let her sleep Love. I can carry her for now. There is no point in alarming the little ones. Third class is not yet being allowed up stairs.”

            “My dear, does it look as though there is truly something wrong?” Her beautiful eyes held a look of worry and fear.

            “I cannot tell for sure, but hurry, get Edvin and go to the boys. I’ll get Lillian and meet you there in a moment.”



            Selma hastily scooped up her little lad. His cheeks were rosy and his eyes closed peacefully in a serene sleep. As she looked at him, her mind filled with worry and fear for her little ones. The steward had said there was nothing to fear, but a mother’s heart is always cautious for her lambs. What if the ship were sinking? Would they all be able to escape?

            “Lord,” she whispered earnestly. “Protect my little ones. Let no harm befall them.”

She sighed, stroking the sleeping brow, “I leave them in your hands. Let Your will be done.”  As she lifted the toddler into her arms, peace flooded her like a huge wave. She closed her eyes and for a moment she was once again standing with her father, a young bride preparing to leave the land she had known her whole life.

            “Remember, Selma my dotter, da verds that God spoke to Joshua before they vent into da promised land,” her father had told her. “‘As I vas with Moses, so I vill be with thee: I vill not fail dee, nor forsake dee.’”

            She had been afraid of the unknown on that day, just as she was afraid of it now, but remembering that beloved verse gave her a new strength. God would be with her and her family this night.

            She hastened into the adjoining room where her three oldest sons were waiting.  Filip, Clarence and Carl were standing near the door, looking quite languid. Spotting his mother, Clarence rushed to her side.

            “Momma,” he asked. “Can I please go back to sleep like Lilli? I am so tired and Filip said I have to stay awake.”

            “No dear,” She replied. “Momma and Poppa’s hands are full. You must be a big strong man for Momma and stay awake.”

            “I’m so tired. Why can’t we go back to Grandmoder and Grandfoder’s house? I liked my bed by the fire.”

            “Clarence,” she said. “Please be Momma’s strong man and stay awake.”

            “Yes, Momma. I will stay awake and be a strong man for you. Besides, someone has to keep little Carl awake. He looks even more tired than me,” he said with a smile.     

            Mr. Asplund entered the room carrying little Lillian.

            “Come with me,” he said leading the way. The family filed out the door. The room they entered was quite crowded with anxious and fatigued passengers. The family huddled down together in a small corner of the room. By this time the noise had awaken Lillian and she was sitting contentedly on her father’s lap. Clarence looked over at his father and said, “Poppa, may we practice the Bible verses we were learning yesterday?”

            “Why yes, Clarence, I think that would be an excellent idea.” Then nodding to his wife, they began.

            “John chapter fifteen, verses twelve and thirteen. ‘This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’”

            Clarence sighed, “I like that verse Poppa. I hope I can be a man like Jesus who isn’t afraid to die for others.” Mr. Asplund turned his head as a tear came to his eye. He wondered if it would be just moments before his son would have to see this verse played out before his own eyes. He had been told that the lifeboats were being filled on deck with only the women and children. 

            Turning to his family he said, “I pray that all of my children will be willing to give of their lives for others.”  At that moment, crowds of third class passengers rushed out of the large room.

            “They must be letting third class up now,” observed Mr. Asplund. Suddenly a gruff looking man tapped Mr. Asplund’s shoulder.

            “Quickly, come with me if you want to make it to the top in time. There’s a steward leading people up.” The man lowered his voice to a whisper, “They say the ships sinking fast. You had better hurry with the youngins.”

            Mr. Asplund quickly picked up Lillian. “Come Selma. Come boys. We must go with this man.” They quickly obeyed and followed. He led them through the mass of people and down a hall, where they were met by a steward.

            “Why Poppa, the steward’s our friend Mr. Cox!” cried Filip. 

            “Yes son,” said Mr. Asplund. “Follow him. Don’t let him out of your sight.” Quickly the small group rushed through the maze of halls and stairs. The further up they got the louder the sound of screams and wailing became.  

            “Here!” yelled Mr. Cox, as he opened a side door. A blast of icy air hit Clarence’s face as he pushed through the door.

            “Filip!” yelled their father. “Hold on to Carl. Clarence! Here, take Lillian’s hand. I must find room on a boat for you all.” The ship was tilting quite far by this time and nearly all of the lifeboats had been launched. Selma looked around frantically trying to keep track of all the children through the mobs. She caught sight of her husband rushing towards her through the crowd.

            “You must come quickly!” he called. “The boats are nearly full.”  The family struggled through the crowd towards a boat.

            “Only two seats left!” called one of the sailors.

            “Please,” called out Mr. Asplund. “My wife and young ones!”

            “No,” cried Selma. “There must be enough room for my boys! I won’t leave without them; without you.”

            “No, my love,” said Mr. Asplund, taking her in his arms. “You, Edvin and Lillian must go. I love you my beloved bride.”

            “No!” she wailed. “I won’t go. Not without you! Please let me stay!”

            “Please love,” he said, as he pulled her towards the boat. She shook violently as she clung to the babe in her arms. Mr. Asplund took the baby and handed him down to a woman already in the boat. He turned back and embraced his wife for the last time. In that moment, Selma’s heart was torn in pieces. It felt as though she was being ripped apart.

            “God go with you my love,” he whispered in her ear. She gazed into his eyes and turned to the boat.

           

            As his father and mother embraced for the last time, Clarence looked at Lillian. She had always been his best friend. He didn’t want to leave her, but he stood tall and brave as he hugged her tightly. Even though he was scared, he must be momma’s strong man.

            “Good bye Lilli. I love you.”

            “I wuv you too,” she tearfully called as her father scooped her up and placed her into the boat. The three boys moved back with their father, away from the crowds. They watched, hearts pounding, as the last boats were launched and the faces of the ones they loved disappeared. The ship was leaning farther and farther every moment as Father and sons sought to push their way through the crowds. Suddenly, as if it were a soft breeze, a gentle tune floated past their ears. Mr. Asplund turned his head towards the band members who were standing only a few yards away, playing their last song. Recognizing the song, he lifted up his voice and began to sing the tender hymn. The boys, hearing their father’s voice turned and came to him. Little Clarence’s lower lip trembled as he looked up at his father. With a deep breath he too joined in the song, followed by Filip and Carl. The ship leaned farther. A piercing sound of crunching metal filled the air followed by a terrific explosion. Clarence closed his eyes and with his last breaths sang out:

“Still all my song shall be,

Nearer, my God, to Thee.
Nearer to Thee!”

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Day 2 Bible Challenge

Yes, I know, I didn't post on day one! (I won't be able to post everyday - that's the one promise I can make.) Today, I arose late, stuffed up, coughing and not well. But, the Lord is faithful and I did get up and am about half way done with today's reading. One of the things I have really been struck by the last couple of days is the generational vision that the generations after Adam had. Seth's line had several great God-fearing men. Many of these men don't have much written about them, but we can learn a lot about them by the way their sons feared the Lord.

I was also thinking about Ishmael and Genesis 16:12 stuck out. "And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren." This verse still continues to apply to Ishmael's descendants to this day.

Having a generational vision matters. It's easy to live in "survival mode," as we often joke in our family, but we do need to be thinking about future generations.

Those are my thoughts for the day. Sorry they are short - it's a busy day. :-)

Prayer Note: Pray that the Lord will strengthen the future generations and give us the passion and vision for raising our children in the ways of the Lord. Pray for the descendants of Ishmael - mainly Muslims - that they would come to Christ and know Him as God.

Your Sister in Christ,

Kaila

So, do you have any thoughts to share? I would love to hear them.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Challenge for the Brave....

Okay, so I haven't been blogging much lately. Sorry about that to all my readers. This last month the Lord has been taking me through the valley and teaching me many things through this time. For a few weeks I not only couldn't think of anything to write, but really had no desire to write even if I could have thought of something. God was working on my heart. There were a great number of things that He brought up from the depths of my heart and put right in front of my face, thus I spent many hours in tears and prayer.
This past weekend my Mom and I attended an Above Rubies conference. I was really convicted about my daily Bible devotions and so I really wanted to start spending more time with the Lord in His Word and in prayer. A dear friend of mine, whose family put on the conference, told me about how she had read the Bible in 3 months. It sounded like a really good Bible reading plan
You can click here to see the plan.

So here is my challenge. I would really like to get some other people to do this with me, to help keep me accountable and vice versa. I will be starting on April, 9th, the day after Resurrection Sunday. As often as I can I will post about the Bible readings and we can comment or discuss what we've been learning.

(For those of you who may not have Google accounts you can still comment under name/URL or anonymous.)

I think this is a really good challenge, especially to those of us that are young and have a little more time - or at least more energy. So if you are interested in joining the challenge, please pray about it and let me know. It would really be great to have some others take the challenge with me. Yeah, it'll be hard on some days, but I think it will be life changing.