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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Families

Family: 1. parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not.


What a definition eh?? If you ask me, I think that's pretty sad that "The Most Trustworthy Source for Definitions" at Dictionary.com has this as the first definition for "family." And if you really wanted to ask me again what I thought, I'd say that the definition of "family" should go something like this...



1. Father and mother and their children, considered as a group, living happily together and pursuing God together.



Now sure, you may think this is a little far fetched... especially in today's society, and c'mon,, it just doesn't work that way. I mean look at this world. There are families composed of Father + Father + kid (who will most likely be very messed up when older), or maybe a Mother + kids, or Father + Kids, or possibly no parents + kids, the list could go on and on. Then you consider the fact that the majority of families are the equation of Mom and Dad and Kids. But, you throw the argument out that nearly all of the "normal" families have problems too. Not just small problems like who gets the green toothbrush, or Jonny got the biggest piece of pie, but big problems like prodigal children, drug or alcohol abuse among teenagers, or even the parents, a young child dying thus leading to depression and anxiety, countless health problems, or even.. divorce,, thus leading to the equation of Mom + kids, or Dad + kids, or even worse... mom this weekend, then dad next weekend, either way leading to even bigger problems. You tell me that problems among families will never cease to exist. I won't argue with you about that fact for one second. Problems will occur, and strife will not be inevitable in a family, BUT I will argue that Jesus Christ is that answer to ALL of that.





Jesus Christ commands us to be like Him..... Simple right?



Let me say that when you see a family who has one main purpose in their life, and not just a bunch of "get through the next day goals," and that main purpose is to Glorify God and "be like Christ," let me tell ya, you will see nothing but God. When someone is sincerely striving and going for God as hard as they can, you will see the side effects of it. You will see suffering and trials, problems along the way, but ultimately you will see God and His blessings over that person. The Holy Spirit will flow out of them. God's Word will be BURNING IN THEIR BONES (Jeremiah 20:9 (one of my favorite verses btw))!! That's what is so amazing about the concept of family. When a family has that mindset, and their goal and passion is to strive continuously for the Lord, such an amazing impact can flow from that family! Unfortunately, that concept has been lost these days. It has been thrown along the wayside, and trampled on. It has been taken out of our schools, and been forbidden to be encouraged. The idea of life these days is just simply "take control of your own life, and live it how you want." How sickening is that?! Where do you think broken families and broken hearts come from!? Why do you think this world is taking more and more turns for the worse?! Why do you think more and more people are committing suicide every year, and more abortions take place?! Why do you think people die every day in car accidents because of drunk drivers?! Why?! It's because this world wants to live WITHOUT GOD! I don't need to state any more statistics or general facts we all know.



A person is modeled and formed almost entirely from their parents and family life. This world is living proof that the concept of family that God created it to be has completely almost vanished... and unfortunately, it's getting much worse. That should so burden us as Christians to be striving towards the best family life you can possibly have! I know I'm not a parent yet... or even a spouse for that matter (okay, I'm only 17 and not really worrying about it too much at this point), but when I'm older and hopefully raise a family, I really pray that it will be a family that is God honoring. I pray that my future children will grow up to be not just good kids, but Godly kids who love the Lord and want to carry on a Godly heritage. It's almost weird to be thinking about at this point in my life, but I don't want that kind of stuff to sneak up on me without any plans! Lol Godliness should be the main focus for a family, and that's not coming from me, but from God Himself in the bible.

Now (this part from now on was supposed to be from the main idea of the blog,,, but as usual, other thoughts come to mind, and I end up usually writing a book on them, as observed from the previous section of this blog :), I can truly thank my personal Heavenly Father for blessing me with a fantastic family and two amazing (not just good, but..) Godly parents. I don't know where, who or what I would be if I was not a part of this family. Right from the get-go, my parents decided on having a Godly family, and they set a lot of goals with an eternal perspective. Their first child was a girl, and her name was Elizabeth, and very sadly, she died within a few hours of being on this disgusting earth. She went home to be with her Lord and Savior in heaven. (I'm not going to elaborate too much on these types of things simply because I could write a long emotional thing that is totally irrelevant to this blog (maybe some other time)) Then, not too long after Elizabeth, I was conceived as a little tiny thing in my mommy's belly. I was a scary pregnancy my mom has said. When I was about 7 months old (in the womb), I guess a doctor had to give my mom a shot with some ginormous needle, and I guess I was within centimeters of being punctured by that needle from the stupid (oops, sorry) doctor. A close call is probably the most frank way of putting it. There were a few other things, but I can't really remember at this point, and you probably don't want to hear me babble about it anyway. But either way, I ended up going over due two weeks (and good thing... otherwise my name would be Patrick (a story for another time)) causing my mom another two weeks of joyous suffering she really didn't want to be experiencing. But then, on the day of March 28, 1992, I entered this world as a little screaming boy. (Weird to think about). I grew up about the same speed as every single other kid on this earth, which is a good thing. I got a new sister when I was only one, and then a new brother when I was just about 4. And of course, there would be another 6 along the way.

So, I have been known as "The Oldest" since my sister Sarah was born, and it's pretty cool. People ask me all the time what it's like to be the oldest of nine kids, and I usually just give them some cliché answer of how it's great because "I'm da boss." Ha! Well all oldest child kids know for a fact that this isn't true hardly at all. But now to tell people, I can write all of the real answers down here, and simply say "Hey, check out my blog!" So relating to that long section I was talking about earlier on families, I must sincerely say, "Thank You God,, You have truly blessed me with a marvelous family." Ever since the beginning, those goals my parent's set for our family were put to good use. Obviously, some rules have come and gone... more coming then going at some points, and more going then coming at others, but all in all, my parents are amazing what they do, and God bless them for it. They threw away that whole "take control of your own life and do what you want" garbage. Instead, they adapted the theme of Godliness for themselves, and thus our family. God's Word has been the foundation for teaching, and God's Love has been at the heart of words and actions.

I was homeschooled until... well, my senior year, which I'm now in. Let me tell you, it's NOT easy. In fact, it is quite difficult to home school children. It's even harder when you have 6 or 7 kids at once that you are trying to teach, plus raise to be Godly children, plus mold them into a well-rounded individual. I am truly thankful for the effort and time my parents, especially my mother put into me personally. She started me in piano lessons when I was just five years old, which I am still taking to this day. I was able to read by the time I was four, thanks to her. She put me in gymnastics when I was 7 or 8, which I was in for 3 years (which helped me a lot with agility and other areas of physical health). She had me involved with voice lessons for at the least, four years. She had me try out violin, which I didn't get very far in at all, but hey, I tried it! She trained me to be polite with manners and etiquette, which is one of the most important things to teach a kid. She taught me how to answer a phone properly. She transported me to and from basketball practices for years! She taught me responsibility, and leadership skills. I could go on and on. And don't be confused if you're wondering why I'm not including my dad in these things,, my dad has had a tremendous role in my life along with my mom, and I am just as thankful for one as the other. All in all though, my parents both taught me how to be a well-rounded person, with capabilities in music, speech, manners, drama, communication (which is a HUGE one), and the fruits of the spirit, but most importantly, they taught me God. I was taught from the very beginning of Christ's Love, and about Jesus so much, and that's the biggest thing I am thankful for my parents investing in me. I have learned how to think for myself, but along the lines of a biblical mindset. I love being the oldest of nine children, because no matter what they do, or what they think of you, you will always be looked up too (even if I am shorter than my brother who is four years younger than me :p). It puts a huge incentive to live for God, and show them how to do it through words and example. It teaches True Love,, the Love found in 1 Corinthians 13. I can easily admit that I am terrible at this high standard for love taught in the bible, but being the oldest of nine kids most certainly helps you work on it! I have found myself miserable at times, but after doing a little self-evaluating, I find the reason I'm miserable is because I'm getting wrapped up in this world's motto of living for "self" and not the bible's standard of living for God and others. It’s the idea of putting others before yourself, and ultimately God before yourself.

Now, there are a few other reasons I may like being the oldest, or even part of a large family. They could be along the lines of privileges, to benefits, to trust from mom and dad. Now unfortunately, there are probably more things I dislike about the whole big family thing (which I really need to work on) then there are likes, but the Lord is helping me with that. Ultimately though, I am TRULY thankful for the family I can call mine, and the Father who can call me His child. He’s the Father whom I accepted as my personal Father and Savior when I was just four years old. So I don't think the words "Thank You" quite cut it when I want to tell God "Thank You" for TWO amazing families... but when I see Him someday in the glory of Heaven, I can simply say those two simple words of "thank you" and know that it doesn't matter if I say thank you or not, because He loves me just the same either way. Yesterday, today and forever He will love me. :)


Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Piano Man

Piano. I can definitely say that this is one of the joys of my life. The Lord has blessed me with an ability to play the musical instrument of the piano, and I am most certainly grateful. I'm not any prodigy or anything like that, but I really just love playing piano. Learning new songs are always fun and encouraging,, especially when you complete one, and you light up someone else's face when you play it for them. The idea of "going out" consisting of going to my church to play the piano there to be alone where it's quiet may not sound too appetizing,, but I find myself, quite often taking that five minute trip down to the church to just unravel and play the instrument. I have found this to be very enjoyable as it brings relief from noise, and also allows for experimental playing that may sometimes sound horrendous (okay, on second though.. most of the time it does). But either way, I still receive enjoyment from it and I hope that fervor will never go away.
It all started back when I was five years old. Piano was one of those things (at least things that had more substance than food, movies and toys(the normal toddler "things")) I was first introduced to as a toddler(or, young man as I like to think it) other than God and a new house. I don't remember too much of the early days, but my mom has a recording of me doing a "special music" in my church by playing "Jesus Loves Me" with just my index finger. So humorous to watch, but also very encouraging knowing that you're not still playing piano with just your index finger. I can guarantee that I wouldn't be taking trips down to my church to play piano for hours with just my one finger! Man that would be so much fun!! ;) But anyway, after about one year of general starter lessons from my mother, I started official lessons with a local friend of my mother's. I took about two years from her, and unfortunately I don't ever remember lessons from her. Well,, I take that back.. I do remember one instance where I had to call her and cancel a piano lesson... (but that's irrelevant). But after doing those two years of lessons with her(I don't even remember her name... how bad is that?!), I took lessons from a man named Mr. Westbrook. He was a very enjoyable person, and I always loved it when he came to our house for lessons. Giving smiles and giving stickers were two valid things I remember about Mr. Westbrook. That was something I always loved, was when I would complete a song, he had a "Ginormous!" (so as I thought at the time) sticker book that had the coolest stickers. And I vividly remember my favorite sticker which was a grasshopper sticker. Don't ask me why, I was just intrigued with that sticker. To this day, you can still find that sticker plastered throughout my old piano books. :) How's that a memory for ya? And then, last but not least, my final and piano teacher who I started with next and still to this day take from. Mrs. Mclaren is her name, and I can only describe this lady in one word... "Phenomenal." Teaching piano is pretty much her life,, no joke. She has around 50 students I believe... which is a lot! I'm very fortunate to be one of them. She isn't what you expect though. Not the standard, metiochre piano teacher who has you come to their "practice location" and they watch the clock until your "half hour" is up, then you leave(okay, slightly hyperbolized, but trying to prove a significant distinction here). Nope, but this lady loves piano so much, and it's so much a part of her life that making you a better piano player is her main goal. You could go 20 minutes over your allotted time, and she wouldn't know because she will be so fixed on making sure you learn something, or "get" something you're having trouble with. Pretty strict, but an excellent teacher. When I had that transition between Mr. Westbrook and Mrs. Mclaren was definitely a rude awakening! For quite some time I had gotten used to the style Mr. Westbrook had given of just kind of the easy route, and "enjoy it through simpleness." Well my first lesson I had with Mrs. Mclaren, I distinctly remember crying because of the style transition and how strict she was. I think I ended up crying for a few other lessons over the next year, but it was all for my own good. I could tell she had been through the crying stuff before, because it hardly phased her one bit. Oh well,, either way, I am proud to admit that I don't cry during lessons anymore. ;) But ever since that first tearful lesson, I have really come to appreciate her as a teacher. I can say it again, but "excellent" is quite a fitting description.
Looking back over it all though, I am truly thankful for so much. The fact that my mom and dad put me in piano at such a young age, and paid for every single one of my lessons over every year since then! Or the fact that I received, and still receive excellent teaching. But my most appreciation goes to my my Lord and Savior for blessing me with the ability to play and sincerely enjoy it. Going from playing my very first song on the piano of two simple notes that I would play back and forth with one finger, then silently be applauded by my teacher, to playing in a concert, or for a competition followed by the thunderous applaud of five hundred to a thousand people is such an encouragement and at the least, a huge eye opener to how sovereign and loving my God is. He has blessed me with 4 fantastic wins in a competition called Talents For Christ and another hosted by a local club. He has also blessed me with tremendous ministry opportunities as in accompanying for my church, playing for a school choir, playing for a worship team, or more. Now I really hope this does not in any way come across as a "brag note" on my part. This is sincerely just a way of reminiscing and thanking my God and parents for everything along the way. I don't plan on giving up anytime soon either. I won't expect to be making headlines and ending up on the music cd shelves along the way, but I certainly plan to enjoy what I have been given and use it for God's glory.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The day before the World was changed for all eternity

Christmas Eve!! The day before Christmas is as we all know this day to be. The day before the grand finale of all anticipation that has taken over the minds of nearly every person in the world. The day before all the cookies that took soooo long to make and bake, are eaten within 15 minutes. The day before family and friends gather together to share in joy of knowing their Savior came to this earth as a new born, helpless baby in order to carry out the most gruesome death imaginable to mankind, for us to LIVE, or in most cases, just to open presents and eat food. The day before a glorious star lit up the sky of the world to prove Christ's arrival. This is probably the most anticipated "day before" day of the year. Christmas Eve always seems to draaaaggg out, and then Christmas itself gets here, and before you know it,, it's gone, and already the next year.
Over 2000 years ago, Christmas Eve wasn't exactly such as glorious of a day that it tends to be nowadays. Nope. In fact, it was probably pretty miserable... at least for two people named Mary and Joseph. These two were on their way, and probably at Bethlehem by now, to pay their taxes for Caesar. They were probably very discouraged from all the slander they had most likely received from the fact of Mary being "with child" and them not being officially married yet. And too make matters worse, when they finally arrive, there is not one single place for them to stay overnight. And if that isn't bad enough, Mary(who is most likely a 13 or 14 year old girl) is almost due to have a baby. Not just any baby though.. no, but the God of the Universe! Jesus Christ Himself,, all glory and power wrapped up into a tiny, helpless babe, kept silently in Mary's womb. Now, if that wouldn't put a tremendous weight on your shoulders, knowing that you are about to give birth to the God of the Universe, I don't know what will. So, after finding out that their only resort to sleep was an animal stall, you would find Mary and Joseph sleeping with animals, surrounded by feeding troughs and, well,, dirtiness. Doesn't exactly sound like the Christmas Eve that we've come to recognize in this day and age. The fact of the matter though, was that this was the best Christmas Eve that ever took place! God's glory filled that little, cold and dirty "manger scene," and pretty soon Mary and Joseph were about to experience the most remarkable thing imaginable. God was about to enter this world, into that manger scene, as a vulnerable, tiny baby! Can you imagine witnessing that?! All of the angels were probably abiding in that animal shelter watching over Jesus Christ and Mary. All of the animals in the shelter were probably in awe, and if they could talk or sing, they probably would have been singing "Glory be to God in the Highest!!" Joseph was probably speechless. Most likely being a 17 or 18 year old man, it would have taken extreme maturity to go what he had already gone through (being a "just" man, and not divorcing Mary, but instead trusting God), and then going through what he was about to go through (not just for the delivery, but for the next 33 years of Christ's life)! I know being 17 myself, I ashamedly must admit that I would not be able to go through that, especially with that amount of spiritual maturity. All in all, this was the day before all of God's glory was about to be revealed to this world and save it for ALL eternity!!!
So, as you go through this Christmas season, just take a moment to reflect and think about the true meaning of the season. Think of Christmas Eve as the day before the biggest showing of Love in this world, and not as the day before me, me, me. Give a lot this season,, because Christ has given us more than anything we have ever deserved.
Merry Christmas and may the Lord bless! :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Here in blog world

Hmmm... so,, blogging. It's something I've thought about for quite some time, but finally taken action in creating one. I'm pretty excited now that I'm finally "here" and have finally entered this new and foreign world of blogging. My only thing I'm not a big fan of, is the fact that it takes a long time to figure out. Okay, everything takes some time to figure out, but to me, this is pretty confusing... atleast to get details of the blog to my own preferences. So, I guess I will have to learn this slowly, and take my time. Good thing I have a family member who's a blogger! My mom has been doing this for a while, so she's probably a master at this now.
So what to write about for the first blog?? It seems like it could be the most important one to write, or then again, the least important('cause seriously, who really goes back and reads their first blog after a while of doing it?). But then again, it could just be my ignorance to the blogging "world." So, I'll just have to figure it out as I go.
Well I've already written a bunch of nonsense, but I think for my first blog, it deserves a good personal introductory.
So, me... (part of this may sound like my "About Me" section, but this is probably a little more detailed) I am currently a 17 year old, and the oldest of nine kids. I am a senior in Highschool, and have had a great education. Homeschooling was my main education until,, well my senior year. I had attended part time at a Christian school for my junior year, while being homeschool when I wasn't at the school. The school was a great experience for that part time year so much that I wanted to go back as a senior full time. Having the experience of getting involved with activities and meaningful projects, having a graduation ceremony, and meeting new people were all things I wanted to experience for my senior year. It has definitely been fantastic so far, and I am really looking foward to what the Lord has to bring in the near of far future.
Another thing that is a big part of my life is music. Since I was 5, I have been consistently taking piano lessons and have come to thoroughly enjoy the instrument and music in general. There were a few other instruments I tried out over the years, but never really caught on. I also really love singing. Although piano accomplishments supercede vocal, I still love it just as much. Both have led to a plethora of musical ministries, and a lot of realization of how much the Lord has really blessed me. I pray that I will always be able to serve the Lord through music.
One more thing the Lord has truly blessed me with is an amazing family, and truly remarkable parents. Now I'm not saying this because my mom will probably be the first one to read this blog, but sincerely for my appreciation(whether visible or not at times) for both of these God-sends I can call my parents. I can't elaborate too much,simply for the fact that I could go on for quite some time, but my thankfulness definitely goes the them and my God who is my ultimate Father.

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