Diamond in the Rough  

23.12.08

I wanted to start this post with an excerpt from Eve's Daughters by Lynn Austin, but the copyright won't let me. I could write and ask permission, I suppose, but between the time, money, and hassle, I won't. While I can't use the actual quote though, I can give you a rough idea of what it said. A grandmother is talking to her granddaughter as she prepares to move into a retirement home. While they are packing, the granddaughter finds a piece of coal and is, naturally, somewhat confused. When she asks her grandmother about it, the grandmother replies that it isn't a piece of coal, it's a diamond-in-the-making, and that G-d will use pressure and stress to turn it into something beautiful.


Do you know what the diamond making process is?

First, plant matter dies, and if buried quickly enough it fossilizes. The layers of fossil get buried under the earth, and with the right amount of pressure and humidity, it turns into coal. If the pressure is high enough and maintained long enough, eventually the coal begins to turn into a diamond. I don't know how many years it takes, and I'm not sure how I would find out, but I do know it takes quite a long time. I'm willing to bet on a minimum of a hundred years, though it is just a guess. Think about that.


First, some kind of death is required. Then, after the plant is buried, it sits alone in the dark for years, with the weight of the world on its shoulders crushing the life out of it. And for no immediate purpose. It turns into coal! Why would anyone want to be coal? The characteristics of coal, as so eloquently put by Brandon, are 'dark, hard, lumpy, not much fun to play with, but fun to burn.'


Does that sound familiar? Don't give up, it's only a little longer until you're finished. You're already more than halfway through. After it becomes coal, yet more stress is applied. Yes, I know, you don't exactly need MORE stress and you're tired of sitting alone in the dark. Why not just dig yourself out? You can't do that, because if you do, you'll never be finished. If a piece of coal is taken out of the ground before the process is finished, it will always be just a piece of coal, fit for nothing except burning. But if you are patient and endure all the stress and pressure and trials, you will become a diamond.


Some interesting facts about diamonds, I learnt this when I was ten years old and I went on a school trip to the local Bluestone works where they cut up bluestone into paving stones. A diamond is the hardest mineral on earth. A blade made of diamonds can cut stone and not go blunt, in fact, the only thing that can cut diamond is diamond. The stuff is virtually indestructible.


A diamond goes through a long hard process. It dies, it is buried, it sits alone in the dark under intense, extreme pressure or many years, only to turn into coal.Then it undergoes even more dark lonely years, even greater pressure, but a miracle is happening!When it finally emerges, the diamond is a diamond. It is beautiful. It is valuable. It is indestructible.


Wouldn't you rather be a diamond than a lump of coal? Don't give up. Be patient. Life may seem dark or lonely now, but a miracle is taking place, and it's worth the wait.

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Storybook World, Pt 2  

2.12.08

Okay, Leo told me what I needed to know, and now I'll have a crack at Part Two. Thanks heaps, Leo :)

******

On the contrary, they, just like us, tend to forget their author. They forget that there is more going on than what they can see and hear, and just like us, they can't see the end of the story. They don't know why certain things have to happen, because it doesn't make sense till much later, and sometimes the characters themselves never find out why things happened. Sometimes the whys can only be seen from outside the story.

And that's hard to deal with. It's hard wondering why G-d lets things happen. In our limited sense of justice, bad things shouldn't happen to good people. Bad things for bad people, good things for good people. You take out what you put in. It sounds fair, and is in fact a Biblical perspective. Except that we forget that this life is not all there is. Sometimes, bad things will happen to good people. And most of the time we never find out why.

Our struggles are real. Our fears and pain are real. Don't get me wrong on that, but we do need to understand that there is more going on than we can see. There is a story being written, and you are the main character. It's very rare that you will come across a good story that doesn't have some pain, some turmoil in its pages. I have never seen such a book.

In your life, there will be hard times, there will be difficult decisions, there will be pain and loss. But there will also be love and redemption and joy beyond any of our imaginations. Everybody knows that the hero always wins, and light always beats darkness, and I believe that's ultimately true of our lives. Never give up, never give in. Never lose your faith in the author who loves you and who knows your whole story better than you do. Never stop loving, never stop hoping, and never break the Circle.

And remember, there is more than you can see.

Love you all.

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Storybook World, Pt 1  

1.12.08

I've been working on this for a week and it's still not finished. I'm waiting on some scholarly help and some fresh inspiration to finish it off ;)

Storybook World

So I had an interesting conversation with my brother the other night, involving Dekker of course, but this time it was interesting enough to warrant a post about it. I happened to say that I'd like to live in a storybook world. Not so much because life would be better there, but there's just this inbuilt desire in me to go talk to Anne Shirley or Thomas Hunter. Just because.

And then my brain just went *whoosh* and into hyper mode and now I'm writing a lesson from it.

So. I know Brandon still disagrees with me on this, we haven't got it all hammered out yet, but here's how I'm seeing things right now. We are characters in a story, and G-d is our author. Some of the characters know him, some know about him, and others either don't have a clue or refuse to believe in him. But it doesn't really matter, whether a character believes in it's author or not, every story does have an author.

In the Thrillogy, for example, Thomas died. Not once, but five times. It pretty much looked like the end. I mean, you can't really get more ended than 'dead' can you? And yet.. the author had it all planned out, all under his control. Nothing happened unless the author said it could, and when he said it could happen, it happened for a reason.

In the book The Novelist by Angela Hunt, the main character, Casey, is a writer. As part of a writing course she's teaching, she agrees to write something different from her usual genre as an example to her students. As any of you who are writers know happens, the world of her novel takes on a life of it's own. In this world, the characters are aware of Casey, but they do not understand her, they can't see her or comprehend her. They know she exists and they know her rules, but only because she gave them that knowledge. The characters in Casey's world are real, they love, they hope, they cry, they bleed, and they make decisions for themselves. And they can die. Their fears are real, their struggles are genuine. Just because they live in a storybook world with an author who loves them directing the plot doesn't mean their lives are easy.

To be continued...

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I lost my thought..  

17.11.08

So I've had three big thoughts in my brain for a week or so, and now I lost 'em all. Great.

Is greed the state of wanting more than what you have, of wanting what you can't have, or of wanting something and being determined to get it at any cost? Interesting thought. I'm not entirely sure, myself.

I saw a church sign the other day that caught my attention. I still don't know what I think of it. It said: Jesus- his life changed death, his death changed life. What do you think?

I still can't remember the other one.

Uhm.

Oh yeah. Protective parents. Try not to think of them as babying you, so much as them loving you enough to try to keep them safe. There was more, but I forget it.

This is a stupid post. But, this is how my disjointed brain works. Now you know.

Also, I really am adekkted. I've been having Circle dreams >_<

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LFTT Part 1 -Power  

6.11.08

Ok, so here's part one of an indefinite series of posts on the Circle Trilogy, and some of the lessons from it. I'm open to (read: desperate for) your thoughts and comments.


06/11/08
Lessons from the Trilogy
Part One

Black opens with a rather sinister pair locked in a power play. The fate of billions of people world wide could rest in their hands. Could. If they play their cards right. Carlos Missirian ans Valborg Svensson. If they succeed in this, their names will go down in history. If they fail, who will ever know? And frankly, with the right weapon, their chances of failing look pretty slim. All Earthly power is within their grasp. The ultimate struggle will soon begin.

And what are they after?

"[Svensson] was driven by an insatiable thirst for power, and the men he worked for even more so. This was their food, their drug."

Did you know that power is addictive? How many people, after tasting just a little power, are willing to fade back into obscurity? How many are even willing to stop at a taste of power? The more power a person wields, the more they desire to wield power. I believe that was one of the main driving forces behind most of the wars in history. Behind most crimes committed today. Power is a very powerful drug, and in the wrong hands, I think it's the most dangerous.

You've heard the saying that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Have you ever heard of a totalitarian regime that didn't become corrupted very quickly? Power is a corrosive. It literally eats at the soul of the person wielding it. Why?

Possibly for the same reason that it's hard for a rich man to enter Heaven. If we feel self-sufficient, if we feel self-important, if we feel that we are in charge, that we control the Earth...where is our focus? We get puffed up and start thinking in terms of 'I can...' and 'I will...' and 'I am...'.

But we weren't created to bring glory to ourselves. We are created to think in terms of 'G-d can.', 'G-d will.' and 'G-d is.' He is our definition. We are nothing, absolutely nothing without Him. The reason power is so corrosive is that it makes us forget who we are. rather, it makes us forget whose we are. And without that distinction, why should we care about others? Why shouldn't we rape and steal and murder? If I have the power, and I have no god, I become my own god.

It's the oldest struggle in the book, one that always ends in suffering and death. Power belongs in G-d's hands, and we would do well to remember that.
Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

As for Carlos and Svensson, and the man they work for, if you've finished the books you know what happens, where their choices take them. If you haven't finished reading I won't spoil it for you. But what did their power get them?

Is the power worth the pain?

What profit is there to a man who gains the whole world but loses his soul?

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Just a little venting  

5.11.08

Short post cos I'm already way overtime on ye olde internet.

First, Samara's doing pretty well. Still researching stuff. Still waiting for her to come home. I've had a cold the last few days and haven't been able to visit. Getting better, should be able to visit by tomorrow.

I finished the Circle trilogy. Awesome books, but my tear ducts are broken, I'm sure. I didn't cry once, but I should have several times. Weird.

And now my rant. I'm really angry at Dad. TWO YEARS ago, he said he would get me the Abeka curriculum instead of this retarded Switched-On Schoolhouse thing I have now. Two years. I have learned almost nothing in that time, formal edumacation wise. I've learned heaps from all my friends and all the research I've done and all the writing on Disciples of Elyon and MyPraize (I would put a thing in there about how you should join them, but I think all my readers are already members lol), but noo, he wants me to do the formal work. Never mind that it drives me crazy. Never mind that I actually can't do the schoolwork because the only computer that works won't run the idiotic program. Never mind that the work makes no sense and is highly illogical. And that it often marks me wrong when I know I'm right, my paren'ts know I'm right, and the flippin calculator knows I'm right. I really hate that program. They only use it because it's easier. If they give me that, they don't have to mark my work, assign projects or essays, or do anything. Just me and the computer.

Did I mention I hate that program?

Also, my best subject was always Bible, but I don't like their version of it. There's absolutely no room for discussion or disagreement or questions or anything. You just feed it's own words back to it, in the correct order. NEVER learn theology or Bible study from a computer. Never T_T

Dad did say a few months ago that talking and debating online was enough. Not anymore. Reduced net time until I catch up on my school. Which I can't do because my laptop still doesn't work.

I like being homeschooled, but sometimes I think it would be easier to just go to a normal school. At least they wouldn't change their minds as often.

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Random Ramblings I Rambled Last Night...  

1.11.08

This is a bit of an awkward post, really. I always thought that Brandon was my only reader, and that only because I harrassed him each time till he told me what he thought. And now I've been told that I'm wrong and at least one other person (who I look up to and respect very much) is an at least semi-regular reader, and maybe quite a few other people as well. So now I've gone all shy. Which is, of course, utterly ridiculous, because I wanted these people to read my blog and have kind of hoped they would. That's kind of the point in a blog. So yeah. Hi :)

Now this is almost as bad as my video lol.

Anyway. I don't remember what I last posted, because I'm not actually writing this on blogspot, I'm writing it on the notepad of my computer to fill in time while I wait for Dad to bring the internet home from his visit with Mum. So I'll assume I've said nothing about home life since Samara was born and edit out any reduntant information later.

We have a house now, not exactly in Brisbane but not far away either. We're still in the process of unpacking and sorting, so the house is in a bit of a shambles right now. MUm was re-admitted to hospital with some kind of complication, I forget what, but she's been discharged now and is staying st Ronald McDonald House again. Samara has been diagnosed with Down Syndrome, but we're looking into diets and treatments to help her deal with the symptoms and so far it looks like she won't be affected very badly. The hospital are talking about starting Parent Craft (whatever that is o_O) at the end of next week, which means unless she starts regressing she'll be home within a fortnight and we'll finally be able to hold her! The hospital has a policy that only parents and grandparents are allowed to hold the Special Care babies. Very annoying, especially when you consider that I'm old enough to be her mother and have more experience than most of the mothers in there. But, that's the policy. One month, nine days and I've never held her and only touched her when the nurses aren't looking.

In the meantime, we've all been keeping busy with not enough unpacking and too much internet (if there is such a thing :P), and the occasional fight. We might get to go to the opening of the new Koorong bookstore tomorrow and I can't wait! Koorong is the largest Australian Christian bookstore chain, and I love it there. Cheapest books around and a lot of decent music too. Even better, I'll get to go shopping while we're there as a late birthday present! AND Koorong is selling tickets for the Casting Crowns concert in Brisbane this January. I hope I can go.Haven't been to a concert in years.

I think that's Dad's car in the drive, so I'm out.

Love y'all ^_^

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To love is to die  

17.10.08

Yup. That's what I said.

True love is being willing to die to yourself everyday for the good of the one you love. So that means giving up things that will make the other stumble, giving up your own dreams and aspirations to help the other. Possibly even literally giving up your life for them. That's what love is. Somehow though, it's gain. You don't love someone to gain from them, selfish love is no love at all, and yet in the process of giving yourself away, you find happiness.

I guess maybe that's why divorce rates are so high. Nobody wants to die, not even figuratively. No-one wants to lose their goals and dreams for the sake of another. And too few people can see that even while giving themselves up, if both partners show love like this, both people find themselves. True love is rare indeed, but if you find it, hold it closer than life itself. Because that's what love is.

As Yeshua said, anyone who gives their life away for His sake will find it. I believe that's true, no matter that it sounds so backwards. Love is a G-d thing, so we have to play by His rules. It seems hard at first, but the more you die, the more you live. Life, love and happiness all come through death. And remember that He is our first love and our example. Love as Yeshua loves and you won't go far wrong.

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Focus: Yeshua's life or death?  

8.10.08

A few months ago, my brother asked me why it was that Christians tend to focus on Yeshua's death instead of His life, when they are equally important. I've sorta been chewing on that for all that time, and this morning I finally came up with a few reasons. It could just be that it's easier for some people. It's easier to think that we don't have to follow His example or obey His teaching. That hard teaching. It could be that we don't understand His words, and it's easier to skip to what we can understand. Or, as in my case, it can be that His death gives us hope. I see Yeshua's life, I read His words...and I am condemned. His life says that I should be holy as He is holy. And I can't. I cannot live up to Him. But He says I must. He says that unless my righteousness is greater than that of the teachers and the Pharisees, I'm stuffed. That's kind of a scary thought, and I don't like it, but that's the facts. Worse, His life says that it is possible to keep the Law perfectly and means that we really do have no excuse. No calling foul because G-d stacked the odds against us. Yeshua's life makes me accountable for my own sin, and that's not pleasant. But in His death...He paid for my failures. He says to me, "I choose you, I love you. I forgive you. Even though you have betrayed me and hurt me and turned away, I still love and forgive you. You are Mine." His sacrifice gives me the hope and courage to get up and try again, it is in His death that I find the strength to even think about trying to obey His teaching and follow His life. After all, why would I try to be something I cannot be, to do what I cannot do, with no hope? In His death, and more importantly in His resurrection, I am made free. It's ok that I will fail, as long as I give my best. I am not holy in myself, but by His sacrifice I am made holy. His blood covers my failures, so I am free to follow Him and do what little I can, not because it will save me, but to bring a smile to Him. Because I love Him back.

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NEWS TIME!  

5.10.08


Man, it's been ages. Mmk. Samara Eliana was born the 23rd September, weighing 1.5 kilos (3.3lbs) at 31 weeks. She is an amazing little girl, not quite two weeks old yet and already strong and healthy enough to be transferred to a smaller hospital. That picture's not very good, but it's the only one I can make work. We have a house now, so around the 23rd of October we will be officially Brisbaneites. Unfortunately, that's going to mean delayed birthday celebrations for me because between bond payments and advance rent, we're going to be utterly broke. So my 17th is going to be a tiny bit lame. Hey, that's life. ^_^

In other news, I have become one of the feared and dreaded ADEKKTED! I'm still waiting for Red though :(
Yeah.. That's basically all my news.

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..Is it gonna work?  

Ok, long time no post.. blogspot wouldn't work on this computer before.. is it going to work now? Uhm.. lotsa news. I'll check if this post works first, and if it does, I'll post a longer one ^_^

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'Proud to be a Christian'?  

28.8.08

Am I the only person who gets annoyed with corny little Facebook and Myspace layouts? The 'Christian' ones especially. I mean, why on Earth are you proud to be a Christian? That's the dumbest thing I've heard. What is there to be proud of? It isn't like YOU did anything. I'm not saying we should be ashamed of it, not in a million years. We need to be fearless and honest about these things. But actions speak louder than words. Especially when those words make Christianity look more like a fandom than anything real. So, clever things, things that make people think or do a double take are pretty cool. But tacky teeny-bopperish things are just.. wrong. If you want to share your faith, live it. Don't just talk about because it's the latest fad.

And please, don't be proud of Jesus or proud to be a Christian. You have done nothing to be proud of. In fact, being a Christian is to be in a state of humbleness. Admitting that you have nothing to be proud of. But don't be ashamed of Him either. Just.. point people to Him and what he's done.

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Drama  

24.8.08

Ok. Mum's in hospital, waiting for something to happen with Sam. Hopefully she has to wait a long time, cos 26 weeks is a bit too early, though it's nearly 27 now. She's moving into Ronald McDonald House tomorrow (I think), and by Tuesday week us kids all have to farmed out, because our lease expires then and we are officially homeless. I was entirely unhappy about my billeting, not because I don't like the lady, she's really lovely, but because I hardly know her and I don't want to take help from a stranger. Especially up to three months of living in her house.

As Mum pointed out though, a different friend of hers who lives in Brisbane is going away the exact dates a friend of mine fom New Zealand was due to stay with us, and when she heard we were at a bit of a loss with where to put her, she offered to let the two of us use her house. This lady's met me twice before and knew nothing at all about my friend. For all she knew, there would be two sixteen year olds there. Mum said, "I don't know any other sixteen yer olds who have been offered someone's [i]house[/i] just like that. Linda said she thought you were mature enough to be trusted with who you invited, so even without knowing anything about Alexia she offered it to you. She thinks you're mature, live up to it."

So I'd better stop complaining lol.

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Random thoughts due to blog neglect  

10.8.08

Okay, okay. I haven't posted in forever. I'm terrible with things like this, plus I'm not sure anyone actually reads these odd ramblings. Well, haven't been too busy really, just pottering around, doing life quietly. Found out on Friday that the baby will be a girl. She's gonna be the seventh daughter out of seven children. Can't wait to see her! Yeah. Lots of reading, lots of forums, lots of blank staring into space. Welcome to my life. Stayed up to watch the Olyimpic Opening Ceremony teh other night. 'Twas very pretty. New Zealand didn't come out till like 1AM though, and the lamp wasn't lit till 2. For someone who needs as much sleep as I do, wasn't nice next morning. Then last night I had the worst migrain I've ever had and couldn't sleep at all. In the end, it was sheer exhaustion that got me to doze. I'm not much the worse for wear now though. I've had lots of deep and meaningful thoughts lately, but I forgot most of them, and the others I really should research a bit more before I post them. Anywho, that's where I've been, if you cared :P

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Servant or Slave?  

19.7.08

Ok, so I'm running on not a lot of sleep and this might not make much sense. I wish I could make this thing separate paragraphs.

Anyway, we were at a homechurch last Sunday, and when people were like giving their testimonies and sharing what they'd been learning, one guy said that he was learning the difference between a servant and a slave. Acourse, that confused most everyone there, but this is what he said (or something like it. I'm working from memory here):

"All of us are God's servants. We don't really get that choice. But what I'm learning is the difference between a servant and a slave. See, a servant comes to work, does his job, and goes home again. A servant has time for himself, where no one is his master. On the other hand, a slave doesn't have rights. If your master wakes you at 3am and asks for a drink, you don't think twice, because no matter what YOU think, you must obey your master. Now the question is, I am God's servant, but am I willing to be His slave? If He calls me at 3am, will I get up and obey?"

Think is, I don't know. Am I? Are you?

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Thinking about the future.  

7.6.08

I've been thinking about moving to New Zealand again. I was talking to Alicia last night, and she says she can set me up with a house and job and everything. The thought scares me a little, and I don't want to leave the rest of the family, especially with a new baby on the way, but this is a great opportunity too. I have to move out sometime, so if I can get housing and work taken care of before I get there, that;s great! I guess it all comes down to Mum and Dad's decision. If they say no, I don't go. And if they say yes, then I guess I'm going home!

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So. I guess this follows on from my last post.  

1.6.08

So. I've been reading all these posts, and I've come to the conclusion that debate is a good tool, but a terrible master. It's good to stand up for the truth, good to seek the truth, and good to lead others to the truth. But it's bad to be stubborn. Open minded is a hard phrase to deal with, because perhaps the best position is somewhere in the middle. 'The mind is like an umbrella, it functions best when open.' A true statement to be sure, but you have to be careful not to be 'so open minded your brains fall out.' I don't know. I've found that nearly everything has a grain on truth to it, but most things have mostly lies with just enough truth to be convincing. Maybe that's why Eastern religions are so popular. They have enough truth to be convincing, and enough lies to be deceiving. Haha, I can't believe I'm so off-track. Maybe the point is that we are so easily mislead by the small truths that we miss the Truth. I'ma gonna stop rambling now. But I want anyone actually reading this to think about this quote. I just stole it from Scott Hanna, he said it was ok as long as I gave him credit, so here it is :)

"There's 3 sides to every story, your's mine and the truth."

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*sigh*  

30.5.08

Why are people so hard on each other? Christians in particular, we're the worst at it. I don't know if we're really worse, maybe it just feels like it. After all, we are held to a higher standard. The greatest commandment we have been given is to love. To love first God, and then our neighbor. But we, quite frankly, suck at both.

I talk to maybe a hundred people a day on the various forums I'm on, and everyone has their own opinion, and everyone is so sure that they are right and everyone else is wrong. I have no problem with debates, I think they are great learning tools for everyone involved, but in the midst of all our arguing, can't we be loving and respectful? We are called to speak the truth in love. I see many people speaking truth, or at the very least what they believe to be truth, but I'm not seeing much love.

Even when the debate centers around sin, the debate shouldn't get personal. We are called to hate the sin and love the sinner. But we seem to be throwing the baby out with the bath water. Can't we be a little more caring?

I believe that there IS absolute truth, don't get me wrong here, and I believe we should be trying to find it, and to share what we have learned so far, but we need to accept that while there is absolute truth, we as sinful humans don't have it. We need to study scripture and be willing to learn from others. And we have to do it in a far more loving way.

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