2.25.2009

9/11 - An 8 Year Old's Perspective

Join me in "Wednesday's walk down memory lane."
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On September 11th, 2001 I woke up to my mom sitting, mouth agape, in front of the television. Her stunned facial expression told me that something was going on. As she related the events of the morning to me, I just looked confused and asked questions. Eventually, I got a pretty good grasp on what had happened, so I went upstairs and woke my brother, Jared, up and spilled the news as fast as I could. I’m sure I didn’t relay it correctly, but whatever I said got him out of bed just as quickly as he could move.

That day was spent pouring over the 10 different stations which were all playing the same thing—looping tapes of the twin towers collapsing over and over again, and live footage of the scene; people scurrying, horrified, throughout the streets and coughing in the heavy fog of dust and rubble.

I was only 8 years old at the time, and I know that I didn’t understand the catastrophic magnitude of the events that occurred that day—I didn’t even know what the World Trade Centers or the Pentagon were, but the panic that resonated through the U.S. definitely caused a butterfly effect and ended up getting to me.

By the end of the day, my almost 11 year old brother and I were thoroughly terrified. My parents caught on and suggested that we take a night to have some fun. Jared’s birthday was the next day, and the two of us loved to go out to the “cottage” in our backyard—a tiny little house with 3 rooms, a kitchen, and a bathroom. So, we spent a few hours goofing off out there and trying to get the events of the day off of our mind. After listening to our favorite radio drama—Adventures in Odyssey—and reading for a while, we made our bed in one of the little bedrooms and settled down to get some sleep.

We switched off the lights, but after a moment agreed that it would be safer to leave them on. We got up every 5 minutes to make sure the front door was still locked. We jumped at every little creak that seemed to resonate throughout the little house. Finally, we both got to sleep…but not for long. In the wee hours of the morning, I woke up and really wanted to go inside and get some warmer pajamas on, because I was absolutely freezing. I tried to wake Jared up to walk me into the house, but to my great agitation, he didn’t stir.

Finally, I mustered up enough courage to go into the house alone. I gave myself a mental lecture—attempting my own conviction that there was nothing to be afraid of. Stiff as a board, I rolled out of the safety of the covers and made my way over to the bedroom door. When I reached the door (it seemed to take forever), I stretched out my hand and turned the cold doorknob with my trembling fingers.

Horror….The door wouldn’t budge! My heart raced furiously as I replayed in my head the safety precautions we had taken the night before—we had definitely not locked this door. I ran as fast as I could back to the bed and jumped on top of Jared, begging him to “please wake up!” Finally, he opened his eyes and looked at me, slightly annoyed it seemed. I told him what was going on as calmly as I could, because as scared as I was I didn’t want to look like a wimp in front of my older, and highly respected brother.

After listening for a moment, he turned over and closed his eyes once again; ending with a nonchalant, “Try the window.” Of course! The window! I made my way over to the small window, climbing on a couple of things so that I could reach it, and pushed it up with all of my might—no luck. I tried everything to get it to open for about 5 minutes. I looked back at my brother, to see that he had been watching me, dumbfounded from the bed. Finally, he got up, walked over to the door, coolly turned the knob, and opened it. He started laughing really hard, but I definitely wasn’t feeling the humor at the moment. I was still totally freaked out. Eventually, I was able to laugh at myself, which was good because I was the brunt of his jokes for days!
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Don't forget to come back on Monday, March 2nd to participate in Monthly Monday Poetry! Click here for more information.

2.18.2009

In Dreams

Join me in "Wednesday's walk down memory lane."

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Dreams are extraordinary things. They can transport us to a world that we didn’t even know existed. They are the feral unleashing of the most unexplainable ideas—they are the creatures in the corners of each individual’s mind, exposing to the subconscious our deepest thoughts, desires, secrets, fears, and sometimes things that we didn’t even know we held inside of ourselves. Dreams often call me into the proverbial realm of the supernatural—pushing me beyond the limits of my own human shell, and swelling my soul to the broadest of extremes. Sometimes in dreams, I feel my human limits would be the most liberating kind of freedom—I can’t move my legs…I can’t breathe…I can’t scream…all I feel is a suffocating sense of claustrophobia—like I’m being held in a straight jacket with a thick cloth over my face.

Do you ever feel a very real presence in the abyss of dreams? It’s almost as if someone is creating the story as it plays through your head. Not just your subconscious—but a completely vivid and independent being. I believe that dreams may be some of the closest glimpses we can gain on this earth into the world of the pure and raw—the world in which the purest light is found, and at the same time, the darkest evil. In dreams, our humanistic tendencies are discarded—like watching a film unfold on the screen, our surreal senses witness the unraveling of events which were already formed in our minds, but had never been tapped before.

Numerous times in the Bible, explicit communication between angels and man through the tunnel of the human subconscious is mentioned. I don’t believe this kind of vivid approach happens anymore, but I do believe that we are still linked to the universe of both angels and demons through our dreams. When we are helpless to intervene, the battle in our mind’s eye begins.

Several months ago, I had a dream that I can’t cast from my memory. I don’t think I’ve ever felt contrast so vivid between light and darkness before. As the dream started, I found myself enveloped in the carefree joy of life—it played out as a totally alternate life from my own. I was in my early twenties, lived on the coast somewhere, in a house completely different than mine, with a family that I know looked like no one I’ve ever known. Somehow though, it all felt familiar—like it really was my life…not my real life, but my life in this reality. It wasn’t vivid; quite surreal actually, but we don’t often realize the surrealistic nature of dreams until we awaken.

Later on, my dream took a drastic turn, placing me in the darkest situations I could have imagined. I felt utter dread—like everything was about to change my world forever. It was in the darkest moment that I heard a sweet voice; it spoke to me the most beautiful words of comfort. The consoling tone of this voice sent goose bumps over my flesh and a stream of warmth through my veins. It was so vivid…I could feel tears streaming down my cheeks. Moments before awakening, I entered a place that was like the materialization of joy—a sphere of thick and luminescent color. I could see both the sun and the stars. It was like basking in the culmination of all my happiness.

I don’t think I’ll fully understand dreams until I can be enlightened by my Father in Heaven someday, but I know that I’ve had many that have changed my thinking—because what better time is there to acknowledge the unseen beauty of our Creator than when our human forms are in a state which cannot protest it? I praise God for the numerous ways that He’s shown Himself to me, and I will always remember the sheer awe that I felt as His voice in my mind grasped my heart and held it so tenderly.
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To read more memories, please visit Lynnette @ Dancing Barefoot.

2.15.2009

Imperishable Beauty


Several months ago, I wrote a piece entitled “Pride of the Flesh”. I hope that if you haven’t read it, you will do so now. As a child of the Almighty God, I am very passionate about the importance of being upright and blameless in the eyes of Jesus Christ. In the full scope of things, His favor is all that we need. My heart yearns on a daily basis to attain the type of fleshly death that will give me the freedom to rest, blameless in His eyes. It isn’t easy—I’ll never win this constant battle with my sin while I am on this earth—but with Christ’s help, my thirst for purity will one day be satisfied; the day that I’m kneeling at His feet.

I’m excited to tell you all that my good friend, Olivia @ Nobody 416, and I have officially launched a new blog titled “Imperishable Beauty”. This blogging venture is aimed specifically at teenage girls—we hope it will be a great way for us all, as sisters in the heart of the Father, to encourage each other in our walks with Christ as we strive for ultimate beauty in His eyes—strengthening the Spirit inside of us and letting Him slice away the thick flesh of sin that suffocates us. To read more about the purpose of the blog, please visit the “About the Blog” page.

I hope you all will help spread the word around about Imperishable Beauty, so that we may create a strong force of passionate Christian teen girls, devoted to the acquisition of inner beauty.

1 Peter 3:3-4
3Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—4Rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.
1 comments.

2.10.2009

Emily - The Inspiration for a Passion


Join me in "Wednesday's walk down memory lane".
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The discovery of oneself can be affected by many different factors. I have found this to be true through and through in my life. So, today I would like to share with you one of those factors. One of my greatest passions was breathed into existence through the influence of one of God’s greatest gifts—a child—a little girl by the name of Emily.

Throughout my entire life, I’ve been a doodler. Any time a piece of paper and a pencil lay nearby; I could nearly hear their prodding whispers beckoning me to cover the naked white. So, I’d scribble out a ten to twenty minute sketch to satisfy my thirst. What I lacked, was the proper motivation to do anything more. Drawing was simply a hobby—one that was often drowned out by the thrills of everyday life and activities.

Sometime after my fourteenth birthday, a family began to attend our church. I didn’t realize it at the time, but they would become the stimulus for one of the most intimate pieces of who I am.
This family grew to hold a very special place in my heart as I got to know them better. The kids and I shared some fun times together as I babysat them several times over the course of a couple of weeks while their parents were in the hospital with their youngest daughter. When sweet Emily was seven months old, she went to Heaven to spend eternity with Jesus.

My heart broke as I watched Emily’s family grieve. Each tear that they shed left another tear drop of compassion in my heart. I had been through death with Anna, but this was a new experience for me—watching somebody else go through a trial. I felt rather helpless. After all, I was just fourteen; what could I do? I didn’t know, but for the first time ever I felt a gnawing at my heart to reach out to them.

On February 13th 2007—the day before Emily’s memorial service—I sat down for the first time in a long time to swipe at the famished ache in my heart. My pencil sat limp, and yet determined in my hand. I knew I had to uncover it; the truth of a passion always rings true in a soul, even when it hasn’t been discovered yet. My pencil hit the paper, unsure of where to start; searching for an answer to the blank riddle which sat before its eyes. After two hours of work, my completed drawing sat before me. It wasn’t what I expected it to be. From the feelings I felt steadily pulsing from my soul, I was sure it would be a masterpiece. It was not that, but I still felt inclined to give it to the family in hopes that they would see the result of their daughter’s inspiration in my life.

After I finished this drawing, I constantly yearned for that same feeling of inspiration that I had been given through the beautiful life of Emily. So I searched…everywhere. In every nook and cranny of my being, I scraped for inspiration. It became such a vivid and intense search, that the hunt nearly became the inspiration. Finally, I had a purpose for my drawing. It was no longer just a hobby—it was the means by which I expressed all of the emotions of hope, love, joy, and so much more that I found in life and in my Father. February 13th marks one year since I started drawing with the motivation of my Savior's hand. Please visit my website to see more of my artwork.

Several months later, I drew a second drawing of Emily. She had such an impact on my life that I felt I had to create one more tribute to her. God’s work in my life through such a precious source is something I will always remember and hold dear to my heart.


Emily entered paradise a year ago yesterday. Her momma, Amy @ Raising Arrows put together a slideshow in honor of her life. I hope you will stop by and take a moment to share in the joy of the life that we held for a little while, but that Jesus now holds in His arms forever!
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To read more memories, please visit Lynnette @ Dancing Barefoot.

2.07.2009

When I Survey

See, from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down;
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Isaac Watts

As I read through the lyrics to Isaac Watts’ “When I Survey” this morning, this—the third verse—particularly caught my attention. The contrast presented in these words is striking and thought provoking. Jesus’ love for us is unsurpassed. It follows no rules, it is truly unconditional. When He gave His life on the cross to make us pure, never before had such a beautiful combination of sorrow and love been created; and none will ever be. Dying for somebody you love is, in my opinion, the most potent way to show your love for someone. Humanity has caught onto this fact, creating beautiful stories of sacrificial love through death—whether it be physical death, or the death of something which hinders the growth of their love.

What the world tends to ignore is the reason we have an inbred sense of beautiful anguish when we hear of such a sacrifice. It exists because we are all presented with the truth of the life that was given to make us pure and give us a future in Heaven with our truest Love—it is weaved into our very being.


Romans 1:19-20
19Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

We can’t reach the secret depths that hold this truth until we place our faith in Jesus Christ—until we activate our faith, it is simply a truth that molds our way of thinking. In this fact, there is only fleshly denial. Jesus Christ is real. He really came to earth and lived amongst the evil of sin for thirty-three years. He really spoke to the masses and showed them the way. He really suffered persecution because of what He spoke. He really was flogged, beaten, spat on, mocked, and pierced by the nails of His creation’s hatred. Why? It was because of love.

His immortal love for us was proven by the crown of thorns which gashed His innocent head. It was proven by the blood that He shed—in that fountain of scarlet that poured from His speared side. Yet….

That crown which they used for torture, He used for the glory of His Father. The holes which they placed in His head, His hands, His feet, He willingly bore as the mark of our sin. The blood that they spilt, He used to cleanse us. Because of His unsurpassed love, we are free to bask in a platonic love which we only become capable of carrying once we have beheld and accepted the Source of the only real kind of love.

My dad is a musician, and being touched by the lyrics to “When I Survey”, he decided to recreate the song. I hope that you will stop by his blog—eFusions of an Inspired Musicianhave a listen, and give him your feedback!

2.03.2009

Jonas' Gift





Join me in "Wednesday's walk down memory lane".

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A couple of weeks ago, my awesome little bro, Indiana Jones (um…I mean, Jonas) did the most adorable thing which I just had to share with you all. When we make grocery shopping trips, we typically don’t all unload from the van and go in places together, so we kids take turns going into the store with Momma. Well, after a short debate in the car, we decided on this trip that it was Jonas’ turn to go into the store with Momma.

So, I sat in the car with the rest of the kiddos. We carried on casual conversation and listened to a bit of music to pass the time. After about half an hour, I looked in the rearview mirror and saw my little brother hand in hand with my momma walking back to the van. I briefly took notice of the cute picture, and then waited for them to get in so that we could get going.

Jonas crawled into the seat behind me saying in his cute five year old voice “Abigail! Cecily! I got you something!” I looked back and what I saw brought a huge smile to my face. Clenched in his outstretched hands was a big bouquet of pink flowers. “Do you like them?” he asked us, with a sweet sparkle in his eyes. Cecily and I both expressed our adoration of his affectionate gesture, and it gave him the strongest sense of accomplishment that he had done something nice for his sisters.

I just had to tell you all this sweet story and share a picture that I got of him smelling the flowers which brought a smile to my face every time I looked at them.


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To read more memories, please visit Lynnette Kraft @ Dancing Barefoot.

2.02.2009

The Stranger


Click here for instructions to join me in "Monthly Monday Poetry".

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Carefree and hopeful;
Hand in hand they began.
Her dress, pure and white,
Trailed like water through sand

Their life held such promise
As love, their hearts held
Nothing could touch them
As their gazes so told
His soul stared in hers,
Blue, with innocent love
And hers pierced through his,
Green, glimmering,
Like bright diamonds above

Their eyes spoke the words
Which their mouths lacked in power
Their love was immortal,
Timeless it stood—
Its pulse staunch and sure
And strong as the sea,
Filling the basins
With awe in decree

Tendril of shadow
Darkness deep

Absence of light
Iron keep

Laden with stone
Blackened with blood

Hatred invades…

Clenched fingers gripped
Around her fair neck—
Bruises formed on flesh
Under Hatred’s right hand
A knife gripped in the other
To his throat it was held;
A token of hatred
Or envy untold

No room to struggle
Forced to sit in stiff stance
On his knees before she
Whom he’d loved at first glace

From her eyes spilled the tears
Which she’d vowed to shed
When her heart she had given
To his open and earnest hands
Her soul seeped out
In the rain of her eyes;
The soul which blindsided
Had met its demise

What once was connected
Was now rent twain
In her heart she longed
To be one again

His hands yearned
To touch hers—
His heart, screamed to whisper
In her ear,
“Have no fear;
My love, have no fear”

Their life which was calling
Was fleeing like sand
In an hourglass falling
In panicked attempts
To break free from the clutches
Of claustrophobic sense

In icy cold malice
He, Hatred, broke through
“You’re worthless,
Your love will never be true.
Love is selfless—
Every man hides evil within.
When faced with a choice
Love cannot transcend.
Who shall it be?
For one shall live,
But a life must be chosen
For the other to give”

Suddenly, out of the fog all around,
A Stranger walked through,
Had they finally been found?
So sweet was His voice,
Which was mercy in wealth
He took Hatred’s blade,
Cutting into Himself

Blood from his head,
His hands, his feet,
The Stranger unraveled
The lovers’ defeat
He smiled so softly,
And lay down his head,
As the blood soaked the ground:
The Stranger was dead.

And then with a scream,
Hatred kneeled on all fours
And was forced to the ground
Where then he changed form.
There in the mud, in Hatred’s wake,
Hissed and recoiled a slithering snake.

Her eyes met his,
Full of hope, fear aside
Then they both wept with sorrow
For the stranger who died.

He lifted her off of the ground
To her feet,
Where the touch of their lips
Once again was made sweet.

They danced and embraced,
And then said without fear,
“Because of his death,
We are free to leave here.”

Even as they, hand in hand,
Took the road
The Stranger behind them
Took breath and arose.

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Abigail & Jared Kraft 2009
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