Sunday, May 31, 2009

Visit with Friends

This Thursday, I got to take a fun surprise trip out to Edgar Springs to visit the Riefers! :)  At first, Mrs. Riefer thought that I was Josh knocking on the door, but she quickly realized who it was.  After a quick, but very nice visit, I made the return trip to Rolla in time to go to work.
Later that evening, Mr. Riefer, whom I work for, took me back to his house for a wonderful evening at their house!  After a delicious meal and some good conversation, we all went outside to play badminton.  When it grew dark, we returned inside to play Taboo until it was time to leave.

Sorry for the fuzzy pictures, Josh and Megan!  My camera phone does not like taking certain indoor shots! :)


The post-Pirates of Penzance syndrome continues.  You just cannot keep us pirates and policemen apart!  In celebration of Justin's sixteenth birthday, Justin invited Nathan, Joel, Josiah, John, and I over to his house for a camp-out.  We sat around a camp fire, roasted marshmallows and hot-dogs, and had fun!!  And of course, we entered into all the common conversations that take place during camp-outs like why hot-dogs are called "hot-dogs", what the precise definition of a lie is, why Christians usually wear black clothing to the funerals of other Christians when one should rejoice that a Christian is going home, and how we want to die eventually!

Before going to bed around 1:30 AM, we decided that we wanted to have some fun that night, so we proceeded to wake up at 3:00 AM.  Precisely at 3, Joel's and my alarm sounded and our groggy group woke up to sing a late, and I must say a somewhat unenthusiastic, happy birthday to Justin.  We then each played our part to bring to life a big truck--one person being the motor, another being the air-horn, etc.  Of course, all fun must come to an end, so we returned to sleep!

The next day, our little band of brothers ate breakfast, relaxed a little, and helped Mr. Mosher pull nails from some wood he wanted to reuse.  We ended up with a pile of boards about three feet tall by four feet wide of "denailed" wood! :0  Upon finishing this project and eating lunch, our group piled into Joel's car and Nathan's vehicle and headed over to the Nisbett's house to unload a trailer-full of mulch and load up a trailer-full of siding for transportation.

We filled the evening with fun as well, but it would take too long to recount going to see a movie, playing a pickup game of volleyball, or fellow-shipping with friends! :D

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What An Awesome God!

Wow!  What an awesome God we serve!  1 John 5:4b-5 says, "This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.  Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God."  I have noticed several verses pointing out the victory that we have as believers in Jesus Christ all because of what our marvelous Savior has done for us.  I was looking at the following pictures I posted of the Top Ten Pictures taken by the Hubble Telescope and later looked up and saw the most beautiful sky:

I suddenly realized a little bit better just how big and great God is!  When you read the size of the galaxies pictured here, just think that our God made each one by the word of His mouth on the fourth day!!  If my God can put such wonders into perfect motion and order, who am I that He takes any notice of me?  Why am I so important that He would send His only beloved Son, Jesus, to one small planet to die for a group of people who hated Him and sinned against Him?  Because of the abundance of His great love!  When I remember this, it really should change how I live my daily life!  If God is such a great God and loves me so much, why should I worry?  What can take God by surprise?  What care of mine does He not have under His complete control?  We can live victoriously because of what Jesus did for us and because God is so big and so powerful.  He has everything under His control!!  I guess that is why Proverbs 3:5-6 says, 

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."

Psalms 8:4 "What is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him?"

The Top Ten Pictures Taken by the Hubblespace Telescope
One light year is 5,879,000,000,000 miles!

The   Sombrero   Galaxy - 28 million light years from Earth - was voted best picture taken by the Hubble telescope.  The dimensions of the galaxy, officially called M104, are as spectacular as its appearance It has 800 billion suns and is 50,000 light years across.

The Ant Nebula, a cloud of dust and gas whose technical name is Mz3, resembles an ant when observed using ground-based telescopes...  The nebula lies within our galaxy between 3,000 and 6,000 light years from earth.

In third place is Nebula NGC 2392, called 'Eskimo' because it looks like a face surrounded by a furry hood.  The hood is, in fact, a ring of comet-shaped objects flying away from a dying star.  Eskimo is 5,000 light years from Earth.

At four is the Cat's Eye Nebula.

The Hourglass Nebula, 8,000 light years away, has a 'pinched-in-the-middle' look because the winds that shape it are weaker at the centre.

In sixth place is the Cone Nebula.  The part pictured here is 2.5 light years in length (the equivalent of 23 million return trips to the Moon).

The Perfect Storm, a small region in the Swan Nebula, 5,500 light years away, described as 'a bubbly ocean of hydrogen and small amounts of oxygen, sulphur and other elements'.

Starry Night, so named because it reminded astronomers of the Van Gogh painting.  It is a halo of light around a star in the Milky Way.

The glowering eyes from 114 million light years away are the swirling cores of two merging galaxies called NGC 2207 and IC 2163 in the distant Canis Major constellation.

The Trifid Nebula. A 'stellar nursery', 9,000 light years from here, it is where new stars are being born.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Too Much Fun!

I cannot say that I could have had any more fun than I had on the 21 mile hike (less for me)!! It was so much fun being around the greatest group of people in the world and doing everything from talking, to volleyball, to soccer, to running, to being sore, to being tired, and to everall having a blast!!! :D And when you have fun, it is hard to not let a little of the crazyness come out! "Hey! You in the yellow shirt! Yes, you! Did you have fun?"

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Place I Know

From placid pools to sizzling rapids, a river combines the different forces of nature into one single marvel.  Running with the might of a tiger, swerving with the agility of an antelope, and destroying with the power of dynamite, the spring-fed river is both a natural habitat for animals and a scene of great beauty to be admired.  Choosing for its home a remote location in central Missouri, the Current River slithers through masses of lush forest, fleeing from the highlands as if death were on its tail.  This is the life of the Current River all the way from its birth in the chilly bubbling springs.

With its smooth crystalline skin covering the river when it is wide and deep, the river gives the illusion of a quiet, peaceful place, but it is often deceptive.  Underneath its calm skin flows a powerful current that explodes into the air off of rocks when the river becomes thin or shallow.  The casual observer is not the only one carried away by its deception; the trees and rocks are likewise deceived.  Under the guise of a friendly, helpful neighbor, the Current River befriends the trees and rocks in the area by feeding the trees water and flowing over the strong rocks.  As time passes, the river slowly carves into the rocks and bank to obtain more space.  Whole trees are ripped from the ground and flung across the river, and rocks are cut into tiny fragments that line the banks in the form of sand.

The river does not, however, betray all of its friends; the fish find comfort and peace in the strong currents of the Current River.  From tiny flashing minnows to huge black catfish, the Current River teams with fish.  The icy claws of the deep spring-fed water protect the big fish from the unwelcome heat of the sun.  The calm shallow waters near the banks of the river provide the minnows with a warm home.

Birds and beasts enjoy the presence of the river as a means of their sustenance.  Large birds of prey like hawks, falcons, and herons feast on the fish and minnows that live in the waters.  Smaller songbirds find the cool spring water a refreshing place in which they can bathe or drink.  Other times, the river’s soft swishing or roaring thunder provides the perfect background for their musical overtures.  Also, animals like mink, armadillo, and raccoon find delicious food and drink in the shallows of the Current River.

Animals, birds, and fish are not the only ones who enjoy the Current River.  People flock to it like bees to sweet honey.  Manning rafts, kayaks, and canoes, they enjoy the beauty and wonder of the river.  Whether paddling down stream, picnicking along the bank on smooth sand, or swimming in its icy waters, the Current River provides an exciting place to get away from the turmoil of life and relax.  Lush bushes and trees adorn the river just as beautiful flowers in a vase adorn a table.  The birds, fish, and other woodland animals add to the beauty of the whole scene.  When combined together, the place takes on the look of a masterpiece of a master painter—the masterpiece of God Himself.

The Current River, in all of its beauty, will always hold a special place in my heart.  Its combination of power with tranquility, destruction with enrichment, and danger with protection always serve to amaze me.  As I think of it now, I remember the canoe trip my family and I had for our vacation.  Recalling the fun, frolic, and conversation we had on that trip down the river served to further enhance the memory of the river itself.  In the middle of nowhere, this river becomes the somewhere I wish to be.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Psalms 1:1-3

Psalms 1:1-3  "How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!  But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.  He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers."

Rejoice In The Lord

Rejoice In The Lord
by Ron Hamilton

C                 Am                    F                  G
God never moves without purpose or plan
          C                 Am                  F               G
When trying His servant and molding a man.
         C                    Am                         F                       G
Give thanks to the Lord though your testing seems long;
F                     G          C
In darkness He giveth a song.

C                  Am
O rejoice in the Lord,
F                    G
He makes no mistake.
C                     Am                F                G7
He knoweth the end of each path that I take.
          Am             Em           F      Dm
For when I am tried and purified,
C                       F             C
I shall come forth as gold.

I could not see through the shadows ahead;
So I looked at the cross of my Savior instead.
I bowed to the will of the Master that day;
Then Peace came and tears fled away.


Now I can see testing comes from above;
God strengthens His children and purges in love.
My Father knows best, and I trust in His care;
Through purging more fruit I will bear.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Broadway on the Driveway: Little Women

I know that it is a bad picture, but it is the memory that counts!
At a church picnic near St. Louis, I got the perfect picture of this little guy.  If you look closely, you can see a fly between his eyes! :D

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Blessings from A Break

Some people have accidents on accident, but others have accidents because they were foolish!  The second is definitely a description of me in the case of the following story.  In fact, I am only putting this story online because it was requested by a friend of mine (and because it is an interesting tidbit of information about me that most people do not know very well).  I know that I will probably be teased to death about this, but I assure anyone that reads this that I am not so foolish anymore! :)

This story takes place in the year of our Lord circa A.D. 2008 during the reign of our very own President Bush on August 3 in Baghdad, Kentucky at the National Homeschool Alumni Reunion (HSA Reunion).  On one particularly bright and sunny day, I decided to liven things up a little (honestly, it was not on purpose!).  I was standing out back of the cafeteria that was located at the camp where we were.  I was standing on a balcony approximately fifteen feet above a concrete floor.  There was a nice walking trail a short distance away that I wanted to go for a walk on, so I decided to drop down from the balcony.  I climbed over the short railing, grabbed on to the lowest rail, and attempted to swing down into a hanging position.  If I had been successful, I could have easily and safely dropped down from the balcony, but, as I swung down, I found out that I had too much momentum.  As I swung down, my forearms hit the decking, which jutted out a short distance from the railing, and knocked my grip loose from the railing.  I proceeded to fall down, trying to support my fall with my left arm.  When I hit, there was a bang (like a small gun).  I did not realize at first that I was hurt.  When someone from above asked if I was fine, I answered that I was.  I next looked down at my wrist and saw that it was bent.  I knew then that everything was not all right!


            It is so swollen that you cannot see the bend as well as I could! :D

The following are accounts I wrote shortly after the accident and after I had already had the platinum plate put into my wrist:

At the time of the accident, I did not know that I had broken it until I looked down and saw that my wrist was bent.  I was slightly out of it as I walked about 15 feet.  A queasy feeling in my stomach caused me to sit down in case I went unconscious.  When pain becomes extreme, it no longer is a localized pain but is a state of being on the edge of one’s consciousness and knowing that there is pain there.  When pain reaches this level, unconsciousness is the result.  The first time I woke up, my mind felt as though it were “buzzing” along with a sense of delirium.  The next time I woke, I thought I was waking up at home in bed.  This thought turned to the realization of where I was, and the thoughts of the Reunion returned.  Somewhere during this time, I remember people walking by me.  By God’s grace, I went unconscious while leaning against the rock pillars that supported the balcony.  Because of my position, the people around me did not realize that anything was wrong with me, and I could not call out.  It looked as though I were simply relaxing, which I was, in a way.  One person realized that everything was not right when she said hello and I did not respond.  She asked if I was okay.  Since I was not sure how hurt I was, I was debating on what to say.  Eventually, I said in a disoriented voice that I did not feel well.  In almost a frantic voice, she tried to keep me awake and tell her what had happened.  I said simply, “I fell.”  At that, help was called in from the cafeteria.  For several minutes after they came, I felt as though my body did not want to move, but my brain continued to function.  The medical people on staff made sure I was not paralyzed and checked my heart rate.  They also made sure I had not lost my memory with questions such as where I was, when I was born, what had happened, and how old I was.  I tried to be very thorough in my explanations, a fact which helped me remember much more.  The people there got my suitcase and wallet, laid me down, and called an ambulance.  When the ambulance arrived, I was put on a stretcher, my head was put in something to keep my head still, and I was taped down with wide medical masking tape.  I am very thankful for everyone’s concern. Dave Eldridge, Noah, and Camile (one of the people in charge of the Reunion) came to the hospital with me.  Both my nurse and the lady who did the X-rays were Christians.  God is good!

My Later Account of Lessons Learned

God’s blessings come in all sizes, shapes, and varieties.  Some events that may be painful or irritating at the time often yield the greatest lessons and the greatest blessings.  One blessing in my life that I want to thank God for is my broken wrist.  Though I still have much to learn, breaking my wrist has opened my eyes to how I have been blessed with everything that I have.  Few people can really appreciate what they have.  Most people take for granted the great health that they have.  I know that I did and sometimes still do.

Allow me to give you a small hint into the many things that a simple break can affect and how much that we take for granted.  Imagine with me for a moment that you greatly enjoy sports, like to play piano and guitar, enjoy to run and ride your bike, and like to lift objects.  With this background, imagine a day with a broken wrist.  You wake up early and begin to make breakfast.  You grab a box of cereal and go to the refrigerator to grab the milk.  Suddenly, you realize that you are not able to lift the milk with your hand and also carry the cereal.  Upon finishing breakfast and reading the Bible, the time has come to go to school.  As you bend down to tie your shoes, you suddenly realize that tying your shoe requires both hands to pull with such a force that would cause great strain and even pain.  Next imagine that you usually bike to school.  Such a simple action is not encouraged with a broken wrist.  First, it is difficult to ride with only one hand.  Even if this were accomplished, any sudden movements would instantly require the use of the injured hand.

Having accomplished the task of getting to school, you are now behind your desk waiting for your professor to begin.  In preparation, you begin to take your books out of your backpack.  The problem is that opening your backpack requires your injured hand to help pull the zippers open—a task that actually causes a small degree of pain.  Even harder though is putting your books back in the backpack when you are finished with them because this requires one hand to open the pack and one to put the books into the pack.  In short, you are not allowed to play sports, even soccer.  An accurate kick of a ball into your wrist would nicely break your wrist all over again.  You are not allowed to run because any falls would re-break your wrist.  Lifting is obviously prohibited.  Furthermore, even assuming you have retained decent movement in your fingers, you cannot play the piano or guitar because your wrist is not strong enough and you cannot bend or twist your wrist.  You find yourself thinking about how fortunate people should think themselves to be when they can bend their wrist easily even when making simple hand motions.

Please do not misunderstand what I have written here.  Having a broken wrist is merely an inconvenience for me.  I am not having a pity party or trying to muster up sympathy.  My wrist is doing absolutely splendidly!  I simply want people to be able to appreciate what God has given them.

I have a question for you.  Have you ever imagined what it would be like to be paralyzed?  Have you ever imagined what you would be like if your mind became diseased such that you could not think coherently?  If God were to allow this to happen, would you still trust Him or blame Him?  Your whole life would be changed.  The things in life that you enjoyed the most would be taken from you.  If people would honestly consider this, for whom would they live their lives?  Do not just consider this.  Really imagine that such an accident or disease happened to you!!!  In some ways, when God takes away all the earthly things that you and I most depend on, it is as though all that remains is God and the individual.  When in this situation, we can truly learn what it means to trust fully in God.  We have no one else to turn to besides God.  He is the only One in whom we can find comfort.  He is the only friend who stands beside us in difficult situations.  He is the faithful guide and protector.  I cannot fully appreciate any of these things myself.  I can, however, desire to serve God with what He has given me.  If I have one good arm, I will serve Him with that arm.  If I have no arms at all but have a mouth and tongue, I want to speak forth the message of God’s love.  Such actions on my own, though, are beyond my ability.  Only by the strength that God provides can I be who God wants me to be and do what God wants me to do.

2 Corinthians 9:6-11 Giving

Giving.  We are called to give our heart, body, and mind to God.  We are also called to give unselfishly of ourselves to others.  We should set apart our most prized possessions as being the Lord's.  A friend of mine from Tennessee, John Notgrass, once said that we should lay on the altar that which is most dear to us by remembering that it belongs to God and being willing to give it to Him completely.  One of the first things that should be given to Him is our time.  All our time should be used for His glory, but additional time should be set aside each day just for spending time alone with God.  These verses in Corinthians talk about some of the promises in giving.  Our natural inclination, at mine was, was to infer that this passage was simply referring to money.  Though there is a strong implication that money was the gift given by the Corinthians, there is nothing in these verses that limits their scope to just giving money.  In fact, verse 8 talks about how God will provide us with sufficiency in everything so we will have an abundance for every good deed.  Look at the example of how the Corinthians gave in 2 Cor. 8:3b and 5, "They gave of their own accord, ... and this, not as we expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God."  When Christ came, "He scattered abroad, He gave to the poor, His righteousness endures forever." (2 Cor. 9:9)  Christ did not scatter money abroad.  He scattered His love, His grace, bodily healing, and His gift of love on the cross that brought true healing of the soul for those who accept it.  It is God who provides us the means to give.  It is our job to first give of ourselves to God and next give of ourselves to others with our money, our time, our talents, and our love.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Camp David

Last summer, besides helping to design the Hydrogen Fueling Station that is over near Frat Row, I was able to spend some time out at Camp David.  It was such a neat time out there, and I got to meet some really special guys.  All the campers there come from families whose parent or parents are in prison.  They really need to know the love of Christ and have a role-model to look up to.  It was so neat getting to talk to the kids about Christ.  For a whole week, I and my co-counselor became like parents to the kids.  We had to enforce their bedtimes.  We made sure that they made their beds; we fought away bugs and moths (they are terrified of moths); we slept in the same covered wagons as they did; we ate at the same table; and, for a whole week, we really were able to become good friends with them.

I and my co-counselor had the pleasure of being in charge of the youngest group of guys both in Senior Boys week and Junior Boys week.  There was one particular story that I wrote down recounting how precious they can be at that age and how much tough, young, street-smart guys can learn about Christ.  This is an account of a time during Junior Boys week when I was counseling with Sir John.  Little Jonathan was around 9 or 10 years old, was fun-loving, and was full of energy!  For some reason, he asked Sir John, "How do you talk to God?"  Sir John proceeded to explain to young Jonathan about how we talk to God and how He talks to us.  I was away from the wagon helping our other campers get ready for the rest of the day.  When my campers and I returned, Jonathan told the other campers excitedly, "I just learned how to talk to God!"  In the morning, Jonathan said to Sir John or me, "God talked to me today.  He [God] said, 'God is very big, but He is nice.'  He talked to my heart!!"  Jonathan later asked one of us if God was married! :D

Fun Weekend

This weekend, besides study, I had a lot of things that I did.  On Friday, I played volleyball at First Christian (they play every Friday).  The Eldredges and Noah came along as well.  It was fun.  I feel like I am getting a little better at volleyball the more I practice.  After volleyball was finished, we all went over to the BSU, which was hosting a coffee house night with snacks, a scattering of different performances by people around campus, a photo contest, and lots of conversation!  

The next day was equally busy for me.  Our Campus Crusade Bible study decided to have a work day out a Camp David.  We asked CCF to come along as a service project.  It was a lot of fun.  

When I say fun, I really mean fun.  You have not idea how fun it actually is to put up sheet rock, build joists, plant grass, and to move outhouses (the most fun of all).  ;)  The last one really was not as bad as it sounds!  God blessed us with a beautiful day for working!

When I got back from Camp David, I remembered that there was going to be a English Country Line Dance later that night.  After a thorough shower, I headed out to Redeemer Lutheran where I got to experience my second ever time English Country Dancing.  It was fun! :D