Friday, December 4, 2009

I Will Move Ahead Bold and Confident

Seventeen and a half years ago I embarked on a journey having no idea where it would take me. Dressed in a plaid jumper with my hair pulled back as tightly as Mama could get it, I walked into the classroom for the first time as a student. In kindergarten, I wanted to be a teacher. I probably also wanted to be a teacher in first grade, second, third, forth, and fifth as well. By the time sixth grade rolled around, I learned that there were careers other than teaching and nursing and started to dream a little. The years went on and options were explored and doors were opened. A college major was declared and a college major was changed.

Today, I embarked on a journey having no idea where it will take me. Dressed in navy and ceil blue scrubs with my hair thrown up in a bun as messy as I could get it, I walked out of the classroom as a college graduate. Four years ago I wanted to be an elementary school teacher. Two years ago I wanted to be a dental hygienist. One and a half years ago, I wanted to be a dentist. One year ago, I wanted to be a dental hygiene instructor. In the past year, I have wanted to be a dental hygienist, dental hygiene instructor, dental assistant, dentist, dental product rep, advanced dental hygiene practitioner, and currently a dental hygienist.

Just as I left for my first day of school seventeen and a half years ago, today I step out into the world not knowing where this journey will take me, but with tenacity and trust in God I will take each day as it comes and the lessons it brings. I will walk courageously, meeting each challenge head-on. When I feel like all is for naught, I will look at my five year old self and remember that on that fall day, I did not know what I was to become, only what I was -- a student. My purpose then, as it is now, was to do my best, learn, and to believe that God has a plan for my life.

I am a college graduate. I am a student.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

True Wealth

I woke up this morning in the camper that I'm living in and thought, "I am so rich." I have no money that is truly mine. I have no income. I don't have money to go out and shop, get my nails done, or get a new car, but I am so rich. My parents give me just enough money every month to cover food, gas, and my gym membership. I live in a camper. I drive an old car with almost 190k miles on it. I shop at Goodwill. Despite these things I consider myself to be very rich.

My needs are always met. I'm rich.
I have a wonderful family. I'm rich.
I have a few good friends. I'm rich.
I have a roof over my head. I'm rich.
I have food on my table. I'm rich.
My car runs. I'm rich.
I have an education. I'm rich.
I have Jesus Christ. I'm ABUNDANTLY rich.

Henry David Thoreau said, "Wealth is the ability to fully experience life." True wealth is not quantified. I pity those who count their dollars rather than their blessings, because in doing so, they will always discover that they are lacking and will continually be working for more.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

First Impressions

There are times when we are all put into situations where we aren't able to be ourselves. Perhaps it's an awkward situation, a bad day, our of your comfort zone... whatever it might be for you, it's inevitable that during one of those times you will meet someone and make a first impression that doesn't necessarily reflect who you are. This poem is about one of those times.

The many commas in the poem are meant to convey the speaker's uncertainty, hesitation, insecurity, and overall discomfort at saying any of this. It's a rambling of sorts -- saying it, taking it back, questioning, doubting, but in the end just coming out and saying it. It's spoken quickly with hesitations.

DISCLAIMER: Like much of the poetry I write, while this may be inspired by a situation that I was in or by a person that I met, but isn't necessarily an accurate representation of my feelings toward the person or situation. I think the most accurate thing in the entire poem is the last two lines and they are more a reflection of my desire for people to look beyond the initial shyness that they may see in me. So here it is.

The Verbosity of Uncertainty

Had we but time, and I courage,
I dare say, but I do hesitate
To believe, that you and I
Could perhaps, but I’m not sure,
Know one another better than today.

If I may have but this one wish,
Neither asking nor expecting, but hoping
That you would, by some chance,
In some way or another,
Desire to know me more.

In opposition to your previous
Experience with me I beg of you,
With the verbosity of uncertainty,
Mistake not my silence
As an indication of indifference.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A Shelter in the time of Storm

The temperature has dropped at least ten degrees in the last twenty minutes. The thunder has been rumbling for about the last forty-five minutes and the storm clouds have been rolling in from the south. I know it's the south because I looked at the map and saw which direction the road ran and it runs SE to NW and so I determined that the storm is coming from the south. The lighting is shooting bright streaks of electricity from the sky to the ground. The rain has just started to fall heavily. The wind chimes on my front porch are making a lot of racket. The dog warned me of the coming storm long before I noticed the thunder as she ran into my room and hid under my bed.

When I began writing this post, I was sitting out on my front porch. I watched as the storm rolled in and sat there as it began pounding the earth with its fury. In the middle of the storm, all I could think was this is so peaceful. And then I watched the bikers drive by on their motorcycles on their way to find shelter from the storm.

Sometimes life’s greatest lessons are realized in the simplest of moments. I had shelter from the storm and as a result, I could watch the storm and feel nothing but peace. The bikers, on the other hand, were not feeling peaceful as they rode through the middle of it with nothing but leather to protect them. Life is like that.

There is a storm raging around us and I know the direction from whence it comes. It comes from Satan. Like lightning Satan fell from Heaven (Luke 10:18). God’s voice has often been described in the Bible as a voice of thunder and I can imagine His thundering voice warning Satan of his impending doom as the battle for our hearts is waged. There are times when the rain falls down and the wind blows hard giving evidence of the storms around us. I can have peace in the midst of this storm, because I have shelter in the shadow of the Almighty God (Ps. 91). There are some who choose to remain in the midst of the storm, trusting in their own merits to save them, but they have no peace.

My prayer is that in the midst of life’s storms, in this storm waging between the Eternal God and the Enemy, that you will take shelter and find peace in Jesus.

For lyrics to the song, you can click here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Lesson of the Amaryllis

A friend received an amaryllis bulb as a gift. It came with a soil disk and a pot. She planted the amaryllis and we watched as the bulb took root and the first green shoots sprung up out of the soil. Daily she watched over that little plant, making sure that it had enough water, the right amount of light, and that everything was done to ensure its growth. After a week of watching the plant, it's growth slowed and she became discouraged and doubted that the plant would ever produce flowers.

Sometimes witnessing is like that amaryllis. I try to share God's love with others and through all of my efforts I try to make them know and love God. Just like my friend did everything possible to ensure that the plant would grow and produce flowers, I do everything I can to ensure that those around me will grow in Christ and produce more Christians. So often, I become discouraged when their lives do not reflect my efforts.

Jesus tells a parable about this very thing. He says, "The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows--how, he himself does not know. The soil produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head. But when the crop permits, he immediately puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come" (Mark 4:26-29). The man who sows the seed is clueless as to the work that actually takes place beneath the soil and inside of the plant to make it grow and produce. In the book Christ's Object Lessons, the author says, "Man has his part to act in promoting the growth of the grain. . . but there is a point beyond which he can accomplish nothing. No strength or wisdom of man can bring forth from the seed the living plant. Let man put forth his efforts to the utmost limit, he must still depend upon One who has connected the sowing and reaping by wonderful links of His own omnipotent power."

Just as my friend put forth all of her effort to promote the blossoming of the amaryllis, as Christians we must put forth all of our effort to produce more Christians. There was nothing more my friend could have done to make the plant blossom -- the rest was up to God. And so it is in our witnessing.

Christ's Object Lessons says, "The good seed may for a time lie unnoticed in a cold, selfish, worldly heart, giving no evidence that it has taken root; but afterward, as the Spirit of God breathes on the soul, the hidden seed springs up, and at last bears fruit to the glory of God. In our lifework we know not which shall prosper, this or that. This is not a question for us to settle. We are to do our work, and leave the results with God."

The Lord says, "not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit..." My friend watched the amaryllis for weeks and it eventually bloomed, but it was not by her efforts, but by God's. In this life there may be times when we put forth all of our efforts, and never see the results. Sanctification is the work of a lifetime and we are called to put forth our efforts and allow God to sanctify the heart.

The object of the farmer in planing the seed and tending the growing plant is to produce grain to provide bread for the hungry and seed for a future harvest. So, it should be in the Christian life. CS Lewis wrote,"The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christ's. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became Man for no other purpose."

As Christians we must do everything we can to ensure a ripe harvest and allow God to do the work of sanctification. As soon as the harvest is ready, Jesus will not tarry to return and gather us all home.

Eat. Grow. Share.

("Eat. Grow. Share." is borrowed from The Lower Room, a ministry of the Spartanburg Seventh-day Adventist Church.)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Perfect Dissonance

I am black and white
Hot or cold, never just right
Clean lines, sharp corners

Thunder and lightning
Hitting hard, leaving quickly
Florida summer

You are shades of gray
Cozy and comfortable
Soft lines, round edges

The perfect weather
April showers, May flowers
A typical Spring

Opposites attract
You and I are night and day
Perfect dissonance

Monday, March 2, 2009

50 First Dates

I had a date this morning. In fact, I've had a date every morning for the last 50. And I have to say... I am falling madly in love. Now, ya'll need to understand something. I am NOT a morning person. I don't do mornings. Ask my brother -- I punched him for waking me up once. I know what you're thinking. It's ok, go ahead and pity my date. He knew exactly what he was getting into though. He knows what I look like in the mornings before my shower. He knows I'm a grouch. And he even knows I punched my brother.

In January, I made a decision to spend time with God every day. I've said it before, I know, but it's never stuck. I would always wake up when I felt like finally getting up and I would say, "I'll do it later." Oh right, like you've never had a case of the doitlaters. You know what I learned? When you have doitlateritis NOTHING ever gets done! I knew that if I really wanted to make God a priority and if I really wanted to spend time with God then it would require a huge change in my life. I would have to get up earlier in the mornings and that change, my friends, requires going to bed earlier. That's another thing ya'll need to understand. I love staying up late.

Satan has fought me on this one and he's fought hard! The first night, I could NOT fall asleep. I tossed and turned all night long, but that's ok, because God won that battle. At 5 AM, I gave up and got up! One night I set my alarm and didn't turn it on. Three minutes before it was supposed to go off, I woke up and felt impressed to roll over and look at the clock rather than roll over and go to sleep.

50 dates with Jesus. 50 life-changing mornings. I titled this post "50 First Dates" after the movie. In the movie, this girl, Lucy, had a car accident and has short-term memory loss. She relives the same day every single day. Henry meets Lucy and thinks she's amazing. The next day, she forgets him and he has to make her fall in love with him again. Fast-forward to the end and you'll see Lucy waking up in a strange bed, with a video on the table that she's supposed to watch. She watches the details of the accident and what's happened in her life since then and she's caught up on where she is in life. She walks out on the deck of the boat and finds her husband, her daughter, and her father.

I have had 50 first dates with God. Every day God makes me fall in love with Him all over again. When I forget how far my life has come, God reminds me of everything He's done in my life.

It wasn't easy for Lucy to deal with learning about the accident for the first time everyday. It wasn't easy to wake up every morning in a strange bed with strangers who know you and love you, but you don't know at all. She could have walked away and gone back to her old life, but every morning when she was reminded of Henry's love for her, she chose to stay. She WANTED to stay.

I want to stay. I choose God. For the past 50 days and for the next 50 years and more, I choose God. I choose to fight out the tough times and let God fight Satan for me. I choose to get out of bed every morning, not because it's easy or because I've become a morning person, but because I am in love with God and He tries everyday to win my heart and make me fall in love with Him again.

50 days have changed my life. I can't begin to tell you the peace that I feel because I KNOW that God is going to take care of me. There are no words that can express to you how my faith has grown. School should be stressing me out, but it's not. God's gonna take care of me. I have a deep contentment and inner peace, that truly surpasses all understanding. I can tell you right now, the peace I feel is NOT of myself. It is not medication-induced. It is not from friends or counseling or the support of family. God makes all the difference in my life.

I want to challenge you to have 50 First Dates with Jesus and let Him change your life.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Price of Purity

This morning, I read a story on Fox News about a 22 year old who is selling her virginity online. According to the story, the young woman's offer has netted a 3.7 million dollar offer and has had over 10,000 bids.

The Moonlite Bunny Ranch, the brothel that is arranging and hosting the deal, sounded especially gung-ho about Dylan.

"Natalie is a virgin and would like to sell this priceless and rare commodity in a very exclusive and private setting," says the Bunny Ranch Web site.

While the commodity's rarity may be debatable, more than 10,000 bidders have come forth to put a price tag on Dylan's purity. And if the Bunny Ranch's owner is to be believed, someone has offered $3.7 million, a price far above rubies.

In a reference to Proverbs 31:10, the author claims that the price of $3.7 million is far above that of rubies. The Bible says, "Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies" (KJV).

This woman is not virtuous. She may be a virgin, but she is not virtuous. Virtuous women do not sell their bodies for money. A virtuous woman would be appalled at the idea.

So I started thinking -- if the virginity of one non-virtuous woman is worth that much to over 10,000 men who don't even know her, how much more is the purity of a woman worth to a man who loves her?

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Power of Xylitol

Smack, smack, POP! As I write this essay I am enjoying my Trident® Watermelon Twist™ gum and its benefits to my oral health. Trident® gum is one of many products on the market containing xylitol. In clinical studies, xylitol has been proven to safely and naturally reduce decay by increasing saliva production, “starving” Streptococcus mutans, and maintaining the pH balance of the oral cavity. Xylitol is also believed to have a yeast-inhibitory effect, thereby reducing the risk of oral candidiasis.

Xylitol is a white substance with a crystalline structure that looks and tastes like sugar. It is a natural substance produced in amounts up to 15 grams by our own bodies during normal metabolism and is found in foods such as berries, lettuce, and mushrooms (Xylitol, 2009). Cup for cup xylitol’s sweetness equals that of sugar. The FDA approved xylitol for use in special dietary foods in 1963 and is safe when consumed in amounts of less than 15 grams per day, with the recommended amount being 7-14 grams per day (Burt, 2006; Xylitol, 2009). Xylitol is safe for use in diabetic patients because the sugar alcohols do not promote pancreatic hormone excretion (Gutkowski, 2004).

Before you can understand the action of xylitol, you must first understand the process involved in cavity formation. An article published in the Journal of the American Dental Association states, “Dental caries is a bacterial disease in which diet is a major etiologic factor” (Burt, 2006). Bacteria consider carbohydrates to be a food. Anytime food or drink enters the oral cavity, especially food high in carbohydrates, the bacteria “eat” the sugar. When the sugar is metabolized by the bacteria, acid is produced as a by-product. Streptococcus mutans, the main bacteria involved in decay, proliferates in this acidic environment. The bacteria sit on the teeth, allowing the acid to sit on the teeth. The acid breaks the calcium-phosphate matrix resulting in weakened enamel and allowing the bacteria into the tooth causing decay.

Fluoride is one of the common agents used to prevent decay. It works by slipping in between the broken calcium-phosphate bonds and creating a stronger matrix – this is especially true of acidulated phosphate fluoride which works by breaking the bonds and rebuilding them stronger. “This is all done in the name of fighting decay. This disregards the bacterial nature of the disease and ignores it as an infection” (Gutkowski, 2004). For years people have tried to quit using sugar in an effort to prevent decay; however, this is ineffective because people do not want to change their diet permanently. Scientists took a hint from people trying to quit smoking and decided to recommend a sugar substitute (Burt, 2006). With the use of xylitol, a dramatic decrease in dental caries has been noted along with arrest and some reversal of existing caries. The effect is long-lasting and possibly permanent (Xylitol, 2009).

Xylitol works in several ways. Gum chewing (any kind of gum) stimulates salivary flow thereby increasing the buffering capacity of saliva and neutralizes the acids produced by eating (Burt, 2006). When xylitol is added to the gum and thus to the saliva, the pH is further restored because bacteria do not metabolize xylitol. (Sellman, 2003). In fact, bacteria do not recognize xylitol as sugar; therefore, the bacteria cannot proliferate because they essentially starve to death (Sidder, 2007).

Another way xylitol works is by reducing accumulation of bacterial plaque (Burt, 2006). Plaque is mostly made up of microorganisms. When these organisms fail to thrive, their numbers are reduced, thereby reducing the accumulation of plaque on the teeth. With the death of S. mutans other microorganisms may thrive, but they have less veracity.

Xylitol has been shown to have benefits for a child when used by a mother. Infants do not have an established oral flora when they are born. Over time, this is developed and the oral flora of the mother has a great impact on the composition of the flora of the child due to factors such as kissing, sharing food, sharing cups, and things of that nature. In the Journal of the American Dental Association, Burt writes that there was a study done in Finland to study the results of xylitol use in a mother on the child. The study used 195 mother-infant pairs and all of the women used in the study had a significant level of Streptococcus mutans in their saliva. The study showed that the children of mothers who chewed xylitol gum had a significant reduction in the colonization of S. mutans when compared with the mothers who used only fluoride or a chlorhexidine rinse (2006).

In addition to its ability to prevent caries, xylitol has also been shown to prevent oral candidiasis by decreasing the ability of the fungus to adhere to the oral mucosa (Gutkowski, 2004). A study was done on adults over 60 years of age who were frail, but otherwise healthy. In the study, Group A was given no xylitol gum, Group B was given xylitol gum, and Group C was given xylitol gum with an antimicrobial agent. “At the end of the study, the researchers reported that the group who received xylitol gum had substantially lowered their risk of developing thrush, a fungal or yeast infection that can cause mouth soreness” (Sellman, 2003).
Xylitol has very few adverse effects. The only one mentioned in the articles is that it can act as a laxative and cause gastrointestinal upset; however, this can be prevented by slowly increasing the amount consumed in small increments (Gutkowski, 2004).

Xylitol has been shown time and time again to have numerous oral health benefits. For the patient interested in adding it to their diet, it can be recommended that they chew gum sweetened with xylitol. This method of incorporating xylitol into your diet is cost effective and easy and gives the added benefit of increased saliva production. Xylitol is also available in powdered form in some health food stores for use in recipes. Connie Sidder recommends in her article to not use anymore than one cup of xylitol in a recipe in order to prevent the laxative effects of it (2007).


Burt, B.A. (2006). The use of sorbitol- and xylitol-sweetened chewing gum in caries control [Electronic Version]. Journal of the American Dental Association, 137, 190-196.

Gutkowski, S. (2004). The Magic of Xylitol [Electronic Version]. RDH, March 2004.

Sellman, S. Nexus New Times, January-February 2003. Retrived on February 19, 2009 from http://www.xylitolcanada.come/media.htm

Sidder, C. (2007). The Practical Use of Xylitol [Electronic Version]. RDH, January 2007.

Xylitol. Retrieved February 19, 2009 from

Sunday, February 8, 2009

In Which the Red Sea Parts

The Israelites escaped Egypt with Moses as their leader, but God as their guide. God told Pharaoh, "Let My people go." After a bit (ok, a lot) of persuasion, he finally did. So, guided by a pillar of fire/ cloud, the Israelites were led toward the Red Sea. Pharaoh must have been hit in the head by a few too many frogs or perhaps got some parasite that decided to eat away at his brain from drinking the bloody water, because he obviously was having some issues with his memory when he had the bright idea to pursue the Israelites. I mean, really -- what was this guy thinking?

So, anyway Pharaoh and his chariots and his posse think the Israelites are wandering aimlessly around and get this bright idea to pursue and overtake them. The Israelites reach the Red Sea and realize that they're stuck between the sea and the mountain and have no where to go.

Clearly, the Israelites had some memory issues too because they started whining to Moses, "You brought us out here in the middle of nowhere to die!! We could have just stayed in Egypt slaved away!" Whine, whine, whine.

Moses somehow managed to avoid the Brain Eating Parasite, because he said, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still" (Exodus 14:13, 14).

So, God throws up a wall of darkness and the Egyptians can't see where to go and they lose sight of the Israelites (who are left in the light). Then, God tells Moses to stretch his hand out over the sea and it will part.

The Whiners walk through the sea and make it safely through before the Egyptians catch up to them. The Egyptians start walking through and the waters come crashing down on top of their heads and they all drown.

I believe with all my heart that God has led me to dentistry. He has opened so many doors for me and has made it abundantly clear that this is where he wants me to be. Just like the Israelites, I am surrounded on all sides by reasons that I can't do it. In front of me is the Red Sea of Board Exams. The other side is the Mountain of Projects that I can't climb. And in hot pursuit are the Army of Tests that are determined to kill me. I don't know how I will cross the sea. I don't know how I'll climb the mountain. I don't know how I'll defend myself against the army. But I know that God has called me to dentistry and I keep reminding myself of the saying, "If God leads you to it, He'll lead you through it."

I need only to be still. The Lord will fight for me.

I'm not my own, I've been carried by you all my life.
Everything rides on hope now.
Everything rides on faith somehow.

Addison Road

Friday, February 6, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

On Having an Attitude of Gratitude

I came home from school today and noticed that there were dishes in the sink, so I rinsed them off and loaded the dishwasher. No sooner than I had put the very last dish in the dishwasher, The Child comes along, fixes herself something to eat, and drops her plate (not even rinsed, mind you) into the sink. Then, The Child fixes herself something else to eat and leaves a mess. Then, The Child proceeds to go back into the livingroom to watch Degrassi or Zoey 101 or whatever shows The Child watches.

As I peered at the dirty dishes sitting in the sink and the crumbs on the counter, I thought, "What an ungrateful little brat." I thought of telling her to come clean the kitchen, but The Child would have said, "I'm only 11 and 11 year olds shouldn't have to clean!" I would have replied with, "If an 11 year old can fix herself something to eat and dirty the kitchen, she can clean it."

I decided that The Child isn't mine so it's not my job to teach her responsibility, so I grudgingly put her dishes in the dishwasher along with my own and cleaned up her mess. As I was doing that and thinking about how ungrateful and spoiled her actions are, God said to me, "Amber, how often are YOU an ungrateful child?"

How many times does God rinse the sins off my plate for me to just turn right around and drop another dirty plate in His sink of mercy without a second thought? How many times do I use the excuse, "But I'm only human! And humans shouldn't be expected to always do the right thing because we have a sinful nature!"

By the time I loaded the last dish into the dishwasher, I had a different attitude. Today, I choose to have an attitude of gratitude. When I watch God rinse the sins off my plate, I'm going to thank Him more and show my appreciation by not turning right around and dumping another one in His sink of mercy. And being human, just like being 11, is absolutely no excuse for not taking responsibility for myself and my own actions. The sink of mercy is always there, but like me, God doesn't always want it full of my dirty dishes.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Raising Children

For my daily devotions, I have been reading from the book Patriarchs and Prophets. The book covers from Creation to the reign of King David and discuses the role of our planet in the cosmic conflict between right and wrong. The author talks about the rebellion of Lucifer and fall of man and writes about how this ongoing conflict between God and Satan affects each of us. It does this by showing how the conflict worked itself out in the lives of men and women from the Old Testament. It's really a great book.

*****************If you're in a hurry skip this part*****************

Every now and then, I come across a passage that really means a lot to me. Here are a few such passages:

"God desires from all His creatures the service of love - service that springs from an appreciation of His character. He takes no pleasure in a forced obedience; and to all He grants freedom of will, that they may render Him voluntary service." (pg. 34)

Regarding why God didn't just destroy Satan, "Had he been immediately blotted out of existence, some would have served God from fear rather than from love. The influence of the deceiver would not have been fully destroyed, nor would the spirit of rebellion have been utterly eradicated. For the good of the entire universe through ceaseless ages, he must more fully develop his principles, that his charges against the divine government might be seen in their true light by all created beings, and that the justice and mercy of God and the immutability of His law might be forever placed beyond all question." (pg 42)

Regarding evolution: "Men are so intent upon excluding God from the sovereignty of the universe that they degrade man and defraud him of the dignity of his origin. He who set the starry worlds on high and tinted with delicate skill the flowers of the field, who filled the earth and the heavens with the wonders of His power, when He came to crown His glorious work, to place one in the midst to stand as ruler of the fair earth, did not fail to create a being worth of the hand that gave him life. The genealogy of our race, as given by inspiration, traces back its origin, not to a line of developing germs, mollusks, and quadrupeds, but to the great Creator. Though formed from the dust, Adam was 'the son of God.'"

About the fall of man: "Adam understood that his companion had transgressed the command of God, disregarded the only prohibition laid upon them as a test of their fidelity and love...he must be separated from her whose society had been his joy." Talks about being with God and the angels and blessings... "Yet all these blessings were lost sight of in the fear of losing that one gift which in his eyes outvalued every other. Love, gratitude, loyalty to the Creator--all were overborne by love to Eve. She was a part of himself, and he could not endure the thought of separation. He did not realize that the same Infinite Power who had from the dust of the earth created him, a living, beautiful form, and had in love given him a companion, could supply her place. He resolved to share her fate; if she must die, he would die with her." (pg 56)

"If the law could be changed, man might have been saved without the sacrifice of Christ; but the fact that it was necessary for Christ to give His life for the fallen race, proves that the law of God will not release the sinner from its claims upon him. It is demonstrated that the wages of sin is death. When Christ died, the destruction of Satan was made certain. But if the law was abolished at the cross, as many claim, then the agony and death of God's dear Son were endured only to give to Satan just what he asked; then the prince of evil triumphed, his charges against the divine government were sustained. The very fact that Christ bore the penalty of man's transgression is a mighty argument to all created intelligences that the law is changeless; that God is righteous, merciful, and self-denying; and that infinite justice and mercy unite in the administration of His government." (page 70)

*****************START READING AGAIN*****************

This morning, I was reading about Abraham. There was one passage in particular that really stood out to me and has been on my mind all day long. If you know me at all, you know that one thing I want to be more than anything is a wife and mother (ok, I guess that's two things). What an awesome responsibility that Christian parents have to raise their children to love and fear God!

"On the part of too many parents there is a blind and selfish sentimentalism, miscalled love, which is manifested in leaving children, with their unformed judgment and undisciplined passions, to the control of their own will. This is the veriest cruelty to the youth and a great wrong to the world. Parental indulgence causes disorder in families and in society. It confirms in the young the desire to follow inclination, instead of submitting to the divine requirements. Thus they grow up with a heart averse to doing God's will, and they transmit their irreligious, insubordinate spirit to their children and children's children. Like Abraham, parents should command their households after them. Let obedience to parental authority be taught and enforced as the first step in obedience to the authority of God. . . Not until parents themselves walk in the law of the Lord with perfect hearts will they be prepared to command their children after them." (pg 142-143)

I don't know about you, but that makes me desire even more to spend time with God and make sure that my relationship with Him is strong. I want to be a good mother one day and clearly that starts with being a good daughter of God.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Guarding the Fortress

My heart is secured by lock and key,
bound by walls you cannot see.
What was once a hospital for healing,
has become a prison of my own design.

You're chipping away at the fortress within,
and I desperately long to let you come in.
A pebble slips out, small and unnoticed,
mortar crumbles, stones fall, keys turn.

I must remain on guard and alert,
so my walls will not fall down and I
will not with reckless abandon escape
to place my whole heart in your hands.

--Amber Hill
Jan. 19, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

The One-Minute Writer: Today's Writing Prompt: Obama

The One-Minute Writer: Today's Writing Prompt: Obama

I don't know that I could speak to him. I voted McCain/ Palin and I'm proud that I voted McCain/ Palin.
Beyond being civil like I would to almost anyone, there is very little beyond civility that I could say to him and REMAIN civil. I do not like him. I did not vote for him. I do not agree with him. I am not looking forward to inauguration tomorrow. I do not believe that he is the best thing for our country. I don't care that this is "a big deal" because the first black president is being inaugurated and it's a big day in history (seriously? It's crap like this that continues to allow racism to prevail -- people continually pointing out the difference between black and white). So, at most, if he spoke to me first, I would speak back like I would to any random person I sat next to on a plane, but I would say as little as possible.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


One Minute Blogger Question -- What is the last thing that made you cry?

Exhaustion. Sunday night, due to excitement about school starting mixed in with some anxiety and just a generally difficult time falling asleep these days, I didn't sleep at all.

Monday was an intense day, filled with frustrating things and so as I sat there, I just felt like crying because I was so completely exhausted. So, I did.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

One Minute Writer Prompt: What one moment in your past do you wish was immortalized in a photograph?

When I look back on my past and the things that I will remember most, there are a few times that stand out for me. One is cutting the grass with Papa or reading on the couch with him. He had a huge yard and he'd let me ride on the lawnmower with him whenever he cut the grass. We read so many books on the couch too -- Old Mother Hubbard, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, that book about the little girl who's dog/cat had puppies/ kittens and she took them around in her wagon to get rid of them and ended up trading them for other animals.

And there are other moments I'll never forget -- Stephen and I holding each other and crying everytime he left to go back to Southern, Andrea and I wearing our "beer goggles" around Wal-mart, walking down the sidewalk at Pisgah in the brief moments before sunrise and thinking that there could never be a more peaceful time of day...

But there is one moment that will forever last in my memory and it was captured in a photograph. It was sitting in the dressing room with my best friend before her wedding and laughing and whispering and talking together. I guess it was then that I really began to understand that this friendship is not just another college friendship -- it's forever. Thank you Jeremy Hess Photography for capturing that important moment in my life.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A Good Day

The weather was beautiful today. Well, it didn't start out that beautiful, but it turned into a lovely day. I got up this morning, laid in bed for a long time with my laptop listening to music, catching up on blogs, seeing what was new on the Facebook scene, etc. Then, I got up and went out for a walk. It was cloudy, but warm. I came home, got a shower, and made myself a boca burger to curb the intense hunger I was experiencing... and it was yummy! Then, I went out on the back porch and sat on the swing and finished a good book. I came inside and dinked on the computer for a while and then went back out and started another good book. It eventually got a little chilly out once the sun started going down, so I came back in the house.

I'm really looking forward to going back to school next week, but for now, I'm thankful that today I had a good day.

He Knows My Name

Cyrus, I am sending for you by name. I am doing it for the good of the family of Jacob. They are my servants. I am doing it for Israel. They are my chosen people. You do not know anything about me. But I am giving you a title of honor. I am the Lord. There is no other Lord. I am the one and only God. You do not know anything about me. But I will make you strong.
Isaiah 45:4,5

My freshman year of college, I was at Southern and I was taking Earth Science from Dr. Hansen. Like a good girl I attended class everyday, stayed awake (most of the time), did my homework, made average grades. I didn't speak up in class or do anything to draw attention to myself. I was just one of the other students. Of course, he made an effort to learn our names, but there was nothing about me as a student that was memorable.

I met my two best friends in that class and we've talked many times about Dr. Hansen and how, to this day, when we pass him on the promenade or see him around campus, he always greets us by name. We were just wallflowers and yet, he knows us.

God knows and calls me by name. Before I was born, He knew me and had a plan for me. Before I knew Him, He knew who He was making me to be. God called me and appointed me and gave me a title of honor, Daughter, before I ever knew who He was. And with that calling, He gave a promise that He would make me strong and equip me with everything necessary for His plans for me to be realized.

But Dr. Hansen doesn't just know my name -- he knows Brooke and Beth-Anne's as well. I'm sure that he also knows Desmond, Jonathan, and Jessica too. God doesn't just know my name either. He knows every single person who has ever lived and will ever live.

The God of the Universe knows YOU and cares for YOU personally. I think that's pretty incredible. Even more incredible than a professor who still remembers his wallflower-student's names from three years ago.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Walking with God

I finished reading The Shack recently and did not like it for various reasons; however, the overall message of the book was good. Since reading it there are a few things that have stuck with me -- one being that God is all about relationship.

So often, I think we get caught up in the "rules". Don't drink, don't smoke, go to church, be a good person, don't screw up, don't say bad words, don't have pre- or extra-marital sex, dress modestly, and on and on. I think most of you would agree with me that all of those things are very good things to do/ not do, but I think you would also agree with me when I say that sometimes in trying to keep the "rules", we lose sight of what God is all about -- relationship.

The book brought out the point that without the Holy Spirit's work in our lives, we are powerless when it comes to doing all the right things. Another point that the book brought up is that the law was intended to show us our need for help and that there is no possible way that we could do all of that on our own.

This morning, I went over to BibleGateway to check out the verse of the day and it said, "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8). I love this verse so much. In the book, Mack asked what it was that Papa (God) wanted him to do when he went back to his normal life and what was expected of him. I think this verse answers that question best. God wants us to walk with Him and let Him take care of making us into what He wants us to be.