to surrender a precious dream…

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“Surrendering a precious dream is a fearful thing,

but to pursue anything but the full measure of the glory of God’s love

is a wasted life.”

~ Joshua Stephen Eddy

This is in loving memory and honor of Joshua Eddy, a godly man, a warrior in the faith, who surrendered his precious dream, and left behind a legacy & an example to follow.

Joshua Steven Eddy
 March 5th, 1993 – May 5th, 2012
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Here is what Raquel said in her post about him :

” The last blog post Josh wrote on his blog was one entitled ‘To Surrender a Precious Dream’.  I have read it numerous times…when I first found his blog, when I first heard the news of his drowning, when they found his body, and just a couple days ago, when I stumbled upon it again…it was by accident really, but I’m pretty sure God made it happen on purpose. 

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In his post, Josh wrote about how overwhelmed he was with the beauty of a sunset he witnessed on the evening he took his brother and sister-in-law’s engagement pictures.  He says how much he wanted to share that moment with ‘his love’.  How he wanted to ‘pull her close and enjoy this beauty with her’.  But alas, she was not by his side.  He did not have ‘his love’ with him.  He wasn’t even sure he had met her yet.  Who was this woman that would have been Josh’s girl?  We will never know…because God didn’t write that in Josh’s story.

In the closing of his post, he said something that has become his, perhaps, most memorable quote.  And honestly, one of my favorites of all time.

‘To surrender a precious dream is a fearful thing, but to pursue anything but the full measure of the glory of God’s love is a wasted life.’

Josh has challenged me to surrender my precious dream…”

I read his post after I had heard of it from her post first…

and, as tears welled in my eyes, I prayed to God to surrender my precious dreams to Him.

Here is another link to his post here. Please read. And then also read a post he wrote in April 2012, “To Die Well…” And grab some tissues.

A great thing to ponder this week.

the hunger games: a christian perspective

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Now, I know this is yet another review about the Hunger Games amongst… probably hundreds. Or that could’ve been exaggerated.

So this is just my humble opinion about the HG books. I’m not trying to start a fight. I don’t want to get in a big, sticky “comment war” over this. I don’t want anyone screaming and tearing each others’ hair out (okay, that *probably* wouldn’t happen…) I mean, feel free to express your opinions, whether you agree or disagree with me, but just…be nice, and respectful 🙂 I’m just a Christian, 16-year-old girl trying to give a balanced perspective of this new series.

For the longest time, I refused to read the HG series, despite the fact that it was “catching fire” (pun intended). I had read a Christian review by an author that I normally agree with on these kinds of things, and was persuaded out of reading these books.

But then, as you could probably guess, things changed.

No, I did not read them just because they were popular. No, I did not read them because I decided to rebel against this author for some strange reason. Actually, I read them because I read a different review, a review which caught my eye and my mind.

A review that really just made sense.

And here are the words of AnnaKate,  from Because He Loves Me :

If you haven’t noticed, the Christian media has been bashing the Hunger Games quite a bit. This review, from a site I usually trust and respect, made me so mad that I was spouting to my dad (who had no idea what I was talking about) and I was only consoled by this other review, which encouraged me that not all Christians had utterly missed the point of this fabulous series.


Some have read the books. Some haven’t. Most haven’t seen the movie. Whatever the case, the large majority of the Christian community really hates the Hunger Games. It’s not that they thought it was bad quality or that they hated the acting. In fact, they all have to admit that it was a stellar example of a movie as far as the quality goes. 


They simply can’t seem to get past the first impressions of this gritty, barbaric-sounding story and discover the powerful message and exemplary subtleties of humanity within. And so, without further ado, I am writing an open letter to the Christian media expression my view of the Hunger Games and its redemptive qualities. 

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Dear Christian Media.



First of all, a disclaimer– the movie/books are disturbing, and never pretend to be otherwise. They are not feel-good, happy movies in a Disney sense. What they do portray is a gritty, life-like battle between good and evil, between freedom and oppression. I left with a heavy feeling in my heart, like many of you, not because the movie/books glorified evil, but because it simultaneously showed it so plainly and yet so subtly for what it was. The violence was not gratuitous or gory– they sought to show the horror of the Games without turning us into those voyeurs called Capitol citizens. The action is not fun or entertaining but sickening (and still without being over-the-top) and the violence is very tastefully handled.

The best way to get a feel for the redemptive values of the story and appreciate it for the phenomenon that it is is to read the books– but I understand if you choose not too. I, too, put off reading them for some time after hearing them described as “the next Twilight” and very dark. But they are absolutely amazing for many reasons, mainly the impacting and haunting stories and messages that they carry.

They are a story of a girl who is motivated by love for her family and not lust for a boy to step into her sister’s place and thus enter a gruesome parade that can end only in death. But she plays the game by her own rules, trying to save the life of a girl who reminds her of the sister she volunteered for and also the life of a boy who gave her bread and hope so long ago…

It’s this boy, Peeta Mellark, who also seeks to play by his own rules, challenging the sick adherence to the Capitol’s mindset and desiring to “still be me” even in death. To show them that he’s more than just “a piece in their games.” Not only that– he has a deep, abiding, selfless love for Katniss and the moment his name is reaped, he chooses to save her life at the cost of his own, teaming up with the Careers to lead them away, fighting others so she can escape, and ready to give his life so that she can go home. 

Both admirable main characters comprehend and appreciate life’s value, a thing which has been forgotten in Panem. And they both repeatedly put their own lives on the line to save others. Consider the contrast between the “Career pack” and Katniss and Peeta– the Careers whooped and hollered as they found yet another tribute to slaughter and laughed at their distress. But when Katniss ran into Foxface in the woods, both run away rather than kill each other– not from cowardice, but from humanity. Peeta would rather die than have any harm come to Katniss, and takes a serious wound to the leg to prevent her death.

What makes these books, even more than the movies, sheer genius, is that no one is perfect. Right and wrong are not clear-cut and black and white and utterly unambiguous, and the Capitol has to muddied purity that it is a constant struggle for Katniss to know what she should do.  Catching Fire is Katniss’s search for peace and rest where there is none, and Mockingjay contains more grey areas than any book I have ever read.

The characters make frequent mistakes, but their intentions are consistently honorable and their greatest virtue is their courage. Courage to stand up to this government when no one else would. It takes a brave, strong, and intelligent young girl and an equally brave and intelligent boy with a tender heart to challenge President Snow and say, “I will not adhere to your rules, and I will not play this Game. I will not betray morality.”

This is a story of hope and humanity that survives in a voyeuristic, all-too-familiar world. Even in this corrupt world that is completely controlled by an even more corrupt government, the characters, after grappling with the very meanings of good and evil and truth and error, make upright, noble decisions. 

And this is a story that is incredibly relevant in a world where reality TV and increasingly violent movies are called “entertainment” and more and more people gravitate to video games featuring torture and bloody killings. Didn’t the Gamemakers– those guys in white suits controlling the virtual panels that controlled the Games– look like teens playing video games? The Hunger Games carries a subtle yet poignant and decidedly un-‘preachy message that is direly necessary.  I agree that to bring children and undiscerning teens to this movie would be unwise, but isn’t that true for every movie? This is a message that has long been necessary and has been previously pushed to the shadows by stories about wizards and vampires. But now Collins’ powerful writing and compelling story have thrust them into the limelight, and we must take notice. Haven’t we already seen a civilization flocking to worship their heroes and then throw them into a arena to fight to the death?



 History repeats itself. 

She words it way better than I ever could.

And one thing that I found from reading the books, was this point Suzanne Collins was trying to make.

She was trying to show how much America is like– and how much more it will become like– Rome.

This girl *definitely* did her homework.

At the school that I go to, I have learned a lot of Roman history. Which made the books much more interesting, to see all of the under-lying meanings in the story.

The country was named “Panem”. “Panem” in Latin means “bread”.

The Hunger Games are not a random idea she came up with. She was trying to reflect the games of the Gladiators, fighting each other, killing each other, for the sake of their onlookers’ entertainment. And she does not put this is a good light at all. She is not glorifying in gory, bloody violence. She is showing how awful, how ugly, and how inhumane it was. I read somewhere that what sparked her idea of writing the Hunger Games books was when she was sitting in a hotel, flipping through a bunch of T.V. channels, and she was disgusted with how much America glories in violence as entertainment.

It’s sickening, really.

And the “Capitol” (which is what the government was called), was controlling of everything in the people’s lives. Everything. They controlled the families. They controlled how much food each district (another name for their “state”). They controlled their lives. At least, until two young kids realized they needed to rise up against them and show them that they are *not* just another piece in their Games. The Games harden and numb the children to humanity and the value of life. And Katniss and Peeta retained their compassion and morality.

There is a lot of politics in these books.

And there are a lot more other parallels between Panem, and America, and Rome. However, I do not want to spoil the book 🙂

And another thing: I know Katniss and Peeta weren’t perfect. By any means. And, yes, they made quite a few wrong choices.

But isn’t that like anybody? In war, there are so many grey areas. Not everything is clear to these two what is right and what is wrong.

And that’s what makes the Hunger Games realistic. That’s what makes Katniss and Peeta human, I guess you could say.

And, yes, there were some things in the series that made me cringe. Why did she say that? Gosh, what were they thinking?! Nooo, Katniss, NOOO, DON”T DO THAT!!!!

And the like.

~*~*~

As you can probably tell, though, I do recommend these books, overall. But just… not to 9 or 10 year-olds. These books– due to the violence and detail and mature content (not in a bad way)– are for a slightly older audience. I would say at least 13 and up. And it’s better if the person knows Roman history, so that way they can contemplate the meanings, the names, and the little hidden messages throughout the story.

I do not recommend these books to those who are squeamish, and weak-stomached. I recommend it to those who can handle reading details about war and its consequences.

~*~*~

Suzanne Collins is sending a very clear message in these books, if you pay attention. Just like AnnaKate said…

History always repeats itself.

the easiest, peasiest, no-kneadiest french bread

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Aaaaahhh… isn’t it beautiful?

Can’t you just imagine that smell filling your entire house as it’s baking in the oven?

Can’t you just taste the soft, buttery goodness?

Can’t you just hear it calling out your name?

In other words, you should make it.

Oh, yes, and this both nut and dairy free 🙂

no knead, no worry french bread

(originally from the Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a Day)

makes 2 loaves

 ingredients

~ 3 cups lukewarm water

~ 1 1/2 tbsp active dry yeast

~ 1 1/2 tbsp coarse salt

~ 6 1/2 cups all purpose flour

how to make it:

1. Wear a cute apron.

2. Put your hair in a cute messy bun (that is, of course, if you are a girl…).

3. Place the water, yeast, and salt in one of those big hefty mixing bowls. Dump the flour in and mix with a floured spoon until everything is nice and moist. Then voila! You’re done. Or, at least done really doing anything.

4. Cover the bowl loosely with a (clean) towel and let sit until it’s puffed up quite a bit. For me, this took about 30-60 minutes. Now, you can either bake it now, or put it in the fridge for another day so you can just pop it in later.

5. to bake the bread: If you just got it out of the fridge, warm it to room temperature before preceding. If not, then flour your hands so it looks like you have gloves, and then take half of the dough from the bowl. Form it into a boule by pulling the sides of the dough into its underside and it forms sort of a ball. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Do the same with the other half.

7. Transfer it to a large, floured cutting board at let it sit for another 40 minutes. 20 minutes before you’re ready to put the bread in, put a cast iron skillet in the oven. Then preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

8.  Dust some flour over the risen loaf and then cut a few slashes in the top about 1/4 inch deep. Put the loaf in the skillet, and bake for 30-40 min. Cool before slicing. Well, if you can manage to wait that long. 😀

 

have YOU heard of kaitlin boyda?

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“What you leave behind is not what is [written on] stone monuments,

but what [you have] woven into the lives of others.”

~ Pericles

This is one of my favorite quotes, and a quote that reflected Kaitlin’s life.

But who is this Kaitlin, you ask?

Ah. From her appearance, she was just a typical, normal, teenager.

But no.

Who she was? She was a godly, set-apart woman who gave her dying wish away.

And left behind something beautiful.

{from therebelution.com}

Kaitlin Boyda, who lived with a faith and compassion that inspired hundreds of people to give to water projects through Compassion Canada, passed away Thursday, May 5, 2011 at age 17.

Kaitlin, from Lethbridge, Alberta, was diagnosed in the summer of 2009 with a cancerous brain tumour at age 16 and spent the last year and a half of her life battling its affects. When she was approached by the Children’s Wish Foundation in December 2010, she decided not to choose a wish to benefit herself, but to donate the wish to build a well for children in need in Uganda.

When others heard of Kaitlin’s generosity, they were inspired by her compassion and gave to help support other water projects in Uganda. Because of Kaitlin’s inspiration, 21 water projects have been built benefitting thousands of children and families.

Brenda Boyda, Kaitlin’s mom, reflects on her wish,

“Everyone always thinks in order to change the world you have to be someone who stands out in a crowd, be the best in school or the one who wins all the races, but Kaitlin has changed the world for more than 40,000 lives just by being obedient to God.”

Caring individuals from Korea, the UK, Australia, the United States and all across Canada came together and completely funded the entire 21 Ugandan water projects in just seven weeks. Other water projects are currently available for funding in Ethiopia and Ghana. To date, over $325,000.00 has been raised to bring clean water to children in need in Africa, much of it through people touched by Kaitlin’s story.

During a televised interview, Kaitlin explained,

“Even though I don’t want to be sick, if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t have received this wish and others wouldn’t have wanted to help and all of these children wouldn’t have benefited. It is a humbling experience.” She went on, “We are only on earth for so long, and we need to make an effort for other people. It’s like we take a picture while we are here on earth — at the end of the day, what do you want the picture to look like?”

Kaitlin inspired those she met and those who simply heard her story. At only 17, she left a legacy that will impact the lives of thousands. Ian Lawson, Kaitlin’s Pastor from E-Free Church in Lethbridge describes her as,

“the picture of true Godly humility — she was not thinking about herself, but she was thinking of others.”

~*~*~

What do you want the picture to look like?