Friday, November 28, 2008

My Scientific Ramblings

WARNING: If you are not a science freak like me, you can go right on ahead and skip this blog.

I love science. This year I am doing Biology, and am loving all of it. I hope to one day be a Physician’s Assistant, so I guess it is a good thing that I like Biology.

This week, I learned about the scientific process of osmosis. The definition of osmosis is: the tendency of a solvent to travel through a semi-permeable membrane to areas of higher solute concentration.

If that went right over your head like it did mine, here is a simpler explanation. Osmosis is when you have a barrier (in this case a semi-permeable membrane) that separates two solutions. Both solutions have different amounts of molecules. Only certain molecules are allowed to pass through the membrane into the other side. The molecules that are not able to pass through are simply caught in the membrane, and filtered back out. When the molecules that are allowed make it to the other side, the water (or whatever solution you are using) levels change along with the concentration levels.

If you don’t understand this, don’t worry. It took me a while to understand it, too. I will not be offended if you stop right here and don’t read any further.

Okay, so I have finally reached the point of this very scientific blog.

While I was reading my text book, I started thinking that osmosis is kind of like the kingdom of heaven. Only those who have repented and been baptized may come into heaven. The same goes for osmosis. Only very specific molecules may pass through the membrane to make it to the other side.

Now most importantly you must understand that the membrane will only allow certain
molecules to pass through. It WILL reject the others.

God is not going to make exceptions for those who do not follow Him. We have to repent and be baptized (Acts 2:38) and live according to His will. God is kind, but he is also just. We do not deserve His offer of eternal life, yet he gives it to us readily. We need to make sure that our hearts are just right so we can pass through that “semi-permeable” membrane into the kingdom of heaven. Trust me: you do not want to be rejected.

Okay, so if you actually made it to the end of this blog, you are probably thinking that I am totally nuts (which I am). Yes, it is true, I am a science geek. This is probably the weirdest observation you have ever read, but I thank you for taking the time to read it.

And so ends my scientific ramblings.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Seize the Day!

When I was in fourth grade, I had a really hard time. I was still in public school, and my teacher was horrible. I was very unhappy, and even considered running out the classroom door and all the way home. This was just a fantasy, but one that I thought about often. My teacher was fired at the end of the year after my class got up the courage to go talk to the principal together, and the next year my family decided to homeschool.

My fourth grade class really was a wonderful group of kids. We really became like family that year because of our teacher. It’s not that we became rebels and specifically set out to work against her. Don’t worry; we were much too scared of her to do anything like that. Instead, we relied on each other to get through our day. If you asked me today who all was in my class that year, I think I could name every single one.

One of the students in my class really sticks out in my mind. His name was Doug, and he was a very nice boy. He was taller than everyone, and very quiet, but he could be funny when he wanted to be. I guess you could say our friendship started in the lunch room. I had gotten waffles and sausages, and I couldn’t eat all of my sausages. Doug asked if he could have them, and I said yes. Unfortunately, we both forgot that we weren’t allowed to share food. The lunch lady walked by at just the wrong time, and saw Doug stabbing his fork into my sausage. She began reprimanding me for sharing my food with Doug, and I told her I was sorry. Doug stood up for me, and told the lunch lady that it was his fault: he had asked for the sausage. I didn’t really know Doug that well, but we were pretty good friends after that. To be honest, I was really scared of the lunch lady.

Doug and I weren’t close or anything, but he would tease me, and I would tease back. He was a football fan, and tried valiantly to get me to understand the game. Poor guy, he never did succeed.

One day, we were asked to write a story about a character (or characters) in a book. I chose to do Adam and Eve. I don’t really know why I picked the subject, as it is not my favorite Bible story, but I guess it was the first thing that popped into my head. I wrote my story, used my best cursive, and colored a border around each sheet of paper, and then turned it in. I don’t really remember how this came about, but Doug asked me if he could read my paper. I let him, and as he read, he began to frown. I asked him what was the matter, and he told me that he had never heard the story of Adam and Eve. To my 10-year-old mind, this was shocking. I thought everyone had heard about Adam and Eve! Doug began asking me lots of questions about the story, and I answered them, but not really to the best of my ability. I was very confused at how Doug could not have heard the story, and I didn’t really want to talk about it. I answered his questions, but not with very much interest. I was embarrassed, and I just wanted the subject to drop.

Oh, how I regret that day. I should have looked him in the eyes and told him everything I knew about the Bible. I should have told him about Jesus and His love for everyone who chooses to accept it! I should have done better. My heart aches for what I could have done. I so badly want to go back and change what I did. I could have planted the seeds in him so that one day he could choose for himself to be a follower of Christ. How could I have been so stupid?

My point is, no matter how busy you are, take the time to talk to people about God’s love. Don’t shrug them off and act like it is a burden. You will regret it. I regret it, and I was only 10-years-old. We must take every chance we have to show God’s love to those around us.

I’m reminded of a song by Carolyn Arends that applies to this blog: “Seize the day! Seize whatever you can, ‘cause life slips away just like hourglass sand. Seize the day, pray for grace from God’s hand, and nothing can stand in your way. Seize the day.”

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Seize the day, and spread God’s everlasting love.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Are you truly thankful?

I don’t think we realize how blessed we really are.

I do not like the word “lucky”. I think luck is a figment of our imagination. We are not lucky, we are blessed.

Lately, I’ve been able to see how blessed I am to have my family. I have an AWESOME family. Maybe it’s because Thanksgiving is approaching. Maybe it’s because God has just put it on my heart. I don’t know, but I am so thankful for them.

Thank you, Dad, for being a wonderful father. Thank you for working so hard for us, so that we can have a wonderful life. Thank you for giving me the correction that I need, and showing me how to look at things through a Christian perspective. And I thank you even for helping me re-write my blogs so that they aren’t so offensive to other people! (Ha!) I love you so much.

Thank you, Mom, for taking the time every day to teach me. Most women would not want to give up their lives so they can homeschool their children. Thank you for making that sacrifice. It is worth it! I am deeply grateful for our late night talks. You always know when I need a shoulder to cry on. You have amazing insight and I am so glad I have you to turn to for wisdom and guidance. I love you more!

Thank you, Noah, for being such a servant. Your heart is as big as the world, and I think you will be able to do amazing things with it! I am so thankful that you are my brother. You are a wonderful 11-year-old, and I thank you for helping me when I am down. I love you.

Thank you, Lexi, for being the joy of my day! What would I do without your happy outlook on life? You have taught me so much about choosing joy over sorrow, and I thank you for it. You have brought so much love into my life. I love you, too.

So many girls my age are only concerned about themselves. I have had countless teens come up to me and complain about their parents, and whine about how unfair they are. If you are a teen, look around at your family through God’s eyes. Are your parents really as bad as you think? The answer is probably no. I know that being a teen is awkward and tough, but imagine being a parent of a teen. (Are you laughing yet?) We put our parents through so much heartache, and we don’t always apologize. This Thanksgiving, look around you, and be thankful for what you have been given.

So many times, I have seen girls my age out with their mom, just shopping or doing something of the sort. I see annoyance in their eyes as their mom asks them questions about their likes and dislikes, and about what is fashionable. Don’t treat your mother like she isn’t as smart as you. The fact of the matter is: you don’t know everything. You have not lived as long as her, and, if you give her the chance, she can teach you a lot about life. Don’t brush her off, or pretend that you don’t know her. She loves you, and wants you to treat her with respect out of love, not obligation.

I have also seen the way some girls treat their dads. I had one girl tell me once that, the only reason she let her dad take her out on “dates” was because she could always get her to buy her stuff. BAD IDEA. Don’t love your father for worldly reasons. Love him because God tells you to. “Honor your father and mother,” Exodus 20:12. This verse does not have conditions put on it. It simply says to honor them.

Treat your siblings with respect as well. You only have so many years with them, and then you will move on to your own family. Do not waste your time with them through arguing. Simply love them, and treat them with respect, even if they do not reciprocate the love.

This Thanksgiving season, look around you and see how wonderful your family really is. Even if your family is not perfect (nobody’s is), look at your many blessings.

Thank you, my dear family, for providing me with the love and support I need to grow up in this world. I love you so much.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Life from a spanked child

I have met countless people who do not spank their children. Most of them believe it is a form of abuse, and should not be used on kids. I was spanked when I was younger, and I never found it to be a form of abuse. Although, I didn’t like it - who would? It’s supposed to be a punishment, right? - it was probably the most effective form of punishment I ever experienced. I never felt like my mom or dad was beating me, because they always did it out of love, not anger. I’m sure that there are many instances when a parent is angry and spanks their child for the wrong reasons, but my parents are not included in that group. When I did something wrong, I would be sent to the bathroom, and I would wait there for several minutes. I never knew why I had to wait so long, but I now know that it was because my parents would calm themselves so they could discipline me in a loving manner. It always brought out true repentance in my heart, and I always felt better after I was disciplined accordingly.

My parents are probably the best disciplinarians I have ever met! They are able to come up with many creative forms of discipline that help my siblings and I to understand what we did wrong, and more importantly, how to correct it. My mom came up with a real winner when I was in first grade. I was a very grumpy child in first grade, because I was bored to death. I was still in public school at that time, and, if you’ve ever experienced first grade, it is all about learning how to read. I was so bored with all the phonics, as I had learned to read two years earlier. My teacher, who was a very nice lady, couldn’t give me the attention that I needed, so she sent me out in the hall with a book and a worksheet about it. I spent much of my time in the hall reading all by myself. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love to read, and would have much rather been out in the hall than in the classroom, but I was very lonely. By the end of the day, I was a real grump. I know that is no excuse for being grumpy, but it is true. Well, one day, I really got up on the wrong side of the bed, and was not being very nice to anyone. My mom came to me, and very calmly said, “Molly, I want you to go in the bathroom and sing ‘This is the Day’ at the top of your lungs until you can be happy.” This terrified me. I was not a very loud child, and I did NOT sing in public. I know now that my mom did this out of love, but back then, I was mad. I obeyed, but I highly doubt that I was happy about it. I went in the bathroom and began singing very softly, “This is the day, this is the day, this is the day that the Lord has made, that the Lord has made. I will rejoice, I will rejoice, I will rejoice and be glad in it, and be glad in it.” Pretty soon, Mom’s voice filters in saying, “Molly, I can’t hear you. Sing a bit louder!” I don’t really remember the rest of the story, but Mom told me many years later that she could hardly keep herself from laughing as my voice boomed out into the house! It sure is funny! (Now anyway…)

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to someone’s house to babysit and they begin going down a list of instructions. “Give the baby her bottle at 7:00.” “Put him to bed at 8:00.” “Make sure he eats his dinner.” All of these are just part of babysitting, but my least favorite one to hear is, “Oh, you won’t have to worry about spanking. We don’t do that.” When I hear these words, a groan wells up inside me. I know that the children will not be on their best behavior if I have no means of discipline. (This is not true for all un-spanked children. I have met some wonderful ones.) I have tried “time out”, and was even subject to it myself several times, but I can tell you from personal experience, it is not very effective. For me, I always just waited out the timer, said I was sorry, but never really felt like I was truly sorry for my mistakes. I’m sure it works on many children, but it did not work on me. I really didn’t mind being in time out; it did not really feel like a punishment.

Please don’t get me wrong… I’m sure that some of these methods work on many children. This blog is just from my personal experience with different methods of discipline. If you choose to spank, please make sure you do it out of love, not anger. Trust me, the child is able to tell. I think one of the hardest things to understand as a child is when your parents discipline you out of love. Talk to your children, and help them understand that you discipline them because you love them. Remember Proverbs 13:24: “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” I am not a mom, and I do not know how hard it is to spank a child (although I’m sure I will find out someday), but please consider your decision carefully. Another good verse is Proverbs 23:13 which says, “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die.”

If I could thank my parents for only one thing, it would be for spanking me when I was younger. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for giving me the correction I needed out of love and not out of anger. I love you very much.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

An example to follow?

I do a lot of babysitting, and I always find that I have to set an example for the children I babysit. Not too long ago, I was babysitting for three little boys. We decided to take a walk around the neighborhood, so I loaded the youngest into a stroller and let the older two lead the way. While we were walking, the oldest child began telling me a story. I can’t honestly recall what it was about, but I just remember that after he had finished, I remarked that one of the characters had done something dumb, and that the child shouldn’t follow the character’s example. The oldest child’s eyes got wide and he began shaking his finger at me. When I asked him what was the matter, he said, “Mommy says that dumb is a bad word, and we should never say it! Ever!” By then, I realized I had made a mistake and began apologizing. I told him that he was right, and I should never have said that word. When we arrived home, he ran inside yelling, “Mommy! Molly said a bad word! Molly said “dumb”! What should we do with her?” I turned bright red and began stammering an apology, but the mother pulled me aside and said that it was okay, I didn’t know. She said that she just wanted to keep that word out of her boys’ vocabulary for a little while longer. I was embarrassed, but glad the mom wasn’t angry.

Several Sundays ago, my pastor said something that stuck in my head. He was speaking specifically to the fathers in our church, but it applies to me, too. He told the fathers that whatever their children see them doing, they (meaning the children) are more likely to do.

I also need to be careful when I am around young children. I know that there have been several times when I have made a small error, and have been imitated by a child who witnessed my mistake. At moments like this, I realize how much of an influence I have over the people around me, especially children. Although this might make some people feel powerful, it scares me. I didn’t know that the children I work with in the nursery, babysit, or am just around look to me as an example.

The question I must ask is, am I a good example? I know I work hard to be a good influence over everyone I meet, but I wish I didn’t have to work so hard. Honestly, I wish it just came naturally! Titus 2:7-8 has this to say: “In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness, and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.” I want to follow this verse to the letter!

I encourage everyone who reads this to examine your own life and see if you are setting an example that you would want other people to follow. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes and ask yourself this question: “Would I follow my own example if I was someone else?” I hope that setting a good example comes easily to you! It is not always easy for me, but I am going to work hard to set a good example all the time.

Join me today in asking this question every day when you wake up: Are you setting an example to be followed?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

We Must Pray

(I am not trying to put you down if you are a woman who has had an abortion. Please understand that I am not judging you in any way, I am only stating my beliefs. If you are a woman who has gone through this experience, please do not feel burdened in any way by this blog.)

I watched the election tonight, and my heart hurts. This is not only because most of the people I was rooting for lost, nor is it because Colorado was categorized as a blue state (although these things do disappoint me). My heart aches because of the outcome of Amendment 48. This amendment defines the word “person” to include any human being from the moment of conception. This could have possibly led to abortion being viewed as murder, instead of the easiest option out of a pregnancy. Sadly, this amendment was defeated. 74% of people in Colorado voted to overturn this amendment. That means that 74 % of the citizens in Colorado do not think babies should be characterized as “persons” at the moment of conception!
To me, this is appalling. I hate the thought of so many people thinking that it is okay to abort a baby. I am a Christian, so I believe that God has a purpose for each and every baby. Psalm 139:13 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”

To me, this means that at the moment of fertilization, it becomes a baby; a living, breathing, baby who may grow up to be a doctor, lawyer, politician, or any one of the many possibilities. Because this amendment was turned over, millions more babies will be killed without ever having the chance to take their first steps. Right now, over 4,000 babies are aborted each day in America. 50 million abortions occur each year just in America! Think how many more people could be used for God’s purposes if they had lived to see their first birthdays.

God gives life to all things, including babies. We must pray with all our might that God will intervene and save these babies' lives. We must pray for our country, and for the president. Even if Obama is not the man we voted for, we must pray for him and his future decisions. He now has a mighty influence over our country, and he could use it for good or bad. We must pray that he will make the right decisions, and not be influenced by the world. Our country is a powerful and wonderful country. We have a great influence over the rest of the world, and much of the world looks to us for help in times of need. We need to make sure that our example is a good one that shows God’s love and power in our lives.

Please join me in praying for our country and all that is to come in the next four years. Please pray for the millions of babies being aborted every year. If we want our country to be strong and have eternal foundations, we must pray ceaselessly for it. I am going to commit to praying for my country and all of its leaders. I hope you will join me.

God Bless America.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Am I the only one?

Lately, I have been hearing about a series of books that is very popular with girls my age. I’m usually very skeptical about popular reading material, so I found an article in WORLD magazine that helped me better understand what the books were about. The review said that the books are filled with immoral love scenes, and even deal with vampires. The covers of the books are very creepy and have haunting titles.

I have heard about these books from many girls, even some Christian ones. I heard many people discuss the characters, and talk about the movie which comes out next month. I had already decided that I would not read these books, and was shocked to hear that nearly every girl I met had read all four of the books in the series. As I watched teenage girls talk about these “amazing” books, I could see a gleam of hunger in their eyes. They just couldn’t seem to get enough of whatever was contained in the pages of these books. To me, they seemed obsessed. They couldn’t stop talking about them, and were moaning that the movie wouldn’t come out for another month.

I felt as if I were staring through a one way glass, looking at a group of people who are blind, and cannot see the truth. I feel as if I am the only one who can see that these books should not be read, especially by Christian girls. Why are such young girls filling their heads with material that only pollutes their mind and thoughts? Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think on such things.” Even though I haven’t read these books, I know that they are not what girls my age should be filling their minds with. Someone that I believe has the sagacity to determine whether the books are wholesome or not skimmed just the first few chapters and told me that they are not appropriate for anyone to read!

I can’t help but ask myself, why? Why are young teens reading books filled with words that are only a temptation to do the wrong thing? Why are so many Christian girls reading these books at all? Am I the only one who is able to discern what I should and should not read? It is not hard to begin reading a book, but it is very hard to stop. I believe that my generation needs to realize that, even though something is popular, that doesn’t make it okay. We need to develop a discerning heart. If we are able to discern what is right and wrong, our minds will not become impure. We need to be able to look at something and say, “No! God says that this is wrong, so I will take no part in it!”

Although these books are only one example of many, it is what has really been bothering me lately. I look around at the world and think “Am I the only one?” I feel all alone, but I will not let my loneliness keep me from doing what is right. I will not do things that go against God’s will just to fit in and be popular. I want to teach people to have a discerning spirit and a conscience, but more importantly to listen to what God says is wrong and stand up for what is right. I am different, and I will not let anyone or anything make me stumble and fall away from God’s will for my life.