Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Though I'd Rather Not

In case some of you are wondering why it is that you haven't heard from me in awhile - I'd like to let you know that I'm in Seattle with my father on business. Although Seattle is really never my choice of destinations, my father is always my choice for a companion, and I of course, happily agreed to accompany him. I'm still here, but we'll be flying out today.
When I got here, I told the Lord in my prayers that this "was the last place on earth I wanted to be at." Surrounded by all of my father's guy friends who only talk business and annoying topics - or politics, (ah!) that I don't agree with - and that I can't argue with, either. Simply because they're men means I can't say whatever I want whenever I want to, that I can't be like I usually am with my dear father. Everything is so much different, and yesterday, at least, I hated it.
But guess what? That's right where God wanted me to be yesterday. He wanted my smile in Seattle, my helping hand, and most of all - He wanted the opportunity to show up in this dark area through the person of me. I had that opportunity and I took it, feeling that if I didn't take it, I'd regret it later. Even though it wasn't fun, Jesus helped me to see that by following His lead anyway, He'd bless me for it and make everything turn out right anyway.
And guess what? He did.
My father and I have been able to enjoy some wonderful talks and special times together, and even when we haven't, and I have been surrounded by those who I consider to be the most indescribably boring people on the universe, (ha!) Jesus has proved himself faithful. Through me, no matter what kind of a time I'm having - good, bad, or horrible - I want people to see the Saviour of the world. Though I'd rather not, it doesn't matter. Hey, that makes a pretty good proverb to live by.
See you when I'm home.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

This Old House

This old house has lost its heart, the very thing that makes a home a home.

With each step my heart sinks. This very home that I so looked forward to living in eight short years ago, has become an empty nest of the past - holding more memories than I can ever hope to remember. The green shutters and the wide front porch are as inviting as ever under this cold canopy of overcast clouds and slim rain showers. The lights are on inside the big house, and both levels are swarming with people coming in, and people coming out. It's a Friday morning, and the last I will ever spend in the shelter of my old home.

I enter the cheery kitchen with a song, and a wave of memories flood me. This little kitchen, the first large one we had ever known, reminds me of all the growing up years of happiness. Even the unpleasant memories, like staying up until two o' clock in the morning on Thanksgiving washing the dishes all by myself, what I considered a mighty feat for a ten-year-old, has the tiniest hint of happiness attached to it as I think of the character my parents were building in me. Most of the memories are delightful, even the embarrassing ones, like all of the baking mishaps I had, dumping bowls of flour all over the floor, or forcing myself to eat every single one of the muffins I had made with too much baking powder and not enough salt. All of the holiday festivities of our home were centered right here, where Mama made eggnog over the hot stove, where Rachel enlisted the help of the little boys to stir the fudge, and I sat happily in a corner packing away tins of little goodies for our dear friends and neighbors, a tradition we have happily kept since we first moved here. I smile as I remember the many happy hours of baking, followed by the many more hours of sampling the fruits of our labors, those times when my big brother would lean over my shoulder and stick his finger right into the pie filling. Ah! He knew exactly how to make me upset! (I always forgave him... and he always forgave me.)

And the dining room, that little corner of our house that always made me smile at mealtimes. It was the sweet place where my mother would serve us with the greatest delight, and though we helped her, she ever was the queen of the art of servanthood. My father, true to his delightful character, ever kept the table lively with his many stories and funny ideas, but even through his humor he kept his strain of seriousness, his passion and fervor, to raise a godly generation. When my father blessed us at the dinner table, praying the blessings of our Heavenly Father upon the little bowed, (and sometimes not bowed) heads of his children, I remember the savoriness of that moment. I would squeeze my eyes shut, and my soul would pray the words of my father, while my heart throbbed with the love and assurance of God. Now these happy memories disintegrate, while reality slowly sets in. I'm staring at the dining room and the kitchen by turns, but there aren't any children sitting around a table; in fact, there isn't any table at all. Friends of various ages are packing boxes - that cold, dismal art of moving, and they are laughing and talking in lively tones, but it isn't the same. It isn't home.

To escape the noise and confusion, I run upstairs to my bedroom, the little hole-in-the-wall I called mine. Though I am perfectly delighted with the concept of sharing a larger bedroom with my three sisters in our new home, yet somehow a fond farewell needs to be spoken to these walls - these walls who have heard all of the dearest thoughts of my heart, although they do not remember any of them. 'Tis strange, that so dead an object, so lifeless a piece of matter, can provoke the greatest memories to come alive. 'Tis strange that something so without feeling can be so sentimental. My bedroom - with the one little window overlooking our vast Idahoan forests, in other words, my backyard. That one thought makes one of the greatest memories come alive. I can remember, as a nine-year-old little city slicker, what a terrific change we had taken by leaving the streets of Los Angeles behind for a backyard like this one. The thrill, the exhilaration, the elation, the greatness - of freedom, is only truly tasted by one who has been truly bound. And then I remember how I prided myself in being a little run-everywhere, climb-everything, do-anything tomboy, although I truly wasn't, as no girl truly is, having been created distinctly female with a different design and different abilities. My brother was so manly, and I, not truly understanding the gift and power of womanhood, fell to the idea that I was made to be manly as well. Until my bike accident...but that's another story. Anyhow, people today are shocked when I tell them that many years ago I was a fiery little female with strange, unnatural masculine tendencies. Many years ago. That tells me that God's sovereign work of grace in me is doing something, as it always does, no matter how much I dare to doubt it.

But back to my bedroom. I glance around the room. All is silence, but as I stare at these bare walls I hear the sounds of my past rising up in my memory. Laughter, tears, laughter, tears. With my childish ways, I rarely had anything else. Usually, either I was very happy, or I was very NOT happy. But then, I can't honestly say my extreme temperament was without reason. Although I would rather excuse it, my life was full of troubles, my heart torn at times, and I can vividly recall the times it felt as if my life was shredding apart. Some of it was just the old fashioned "growing up" stage, and other parts of it were very real troubles indeed, large enough for my tiny shoulders and yet perfect in God's sovereign plan. The days I didn't know who I was, the days I felt the world was against me, the times when I felt tempted and even longed to walk a different road, with a different crowd, a different purpose, and a different destiny - all of it was sobbed out in this little room. The thin, worn pages of my journal speak volumes for how I felt, but right now, just sitting here in the quiet, remind me of my struggles enough. I feel I am there again, a struggling thirteen-year-old, wondering where in this great big world did her little self fit in, which path would be best for her tiny feet to travel? And why did this little person in a little place with a little church and a little life have to have such big dreams? Was I wrong to dream them? And the family that I loved - why did God have to make me different than them? Not intellectually or spiritually, but with a biological father different than the only father I had ever known and loved - the father of every one of my siblings? Forget what theologians say, but why did this world have to have so much suffering and pain in it? Why did life have to be so hard to live? I know all of the questions; they form the very real past of mine. I once again feel the pain of uncertainty, the scary and stark realization of tragedy, and the throbbing heartache of wanting to be loved, all of it circling around the question, "Who am I?" But this time, I feel it with the very answers rising inside of me. To each question, I hear an answer. For all the darkness, there is a light, there is a Hope. I feel the urge to speak up. I feel passion rising in my soul. I raise my hands and shout my identity to the walls, "My name is Sarah Elizabeth Byrum," and then, "My name means princess and oath of God! I am a visionary with dreams that I am delighted to dream and I only care to serve the Lord Jesus Christ as long as I live, and with His grace He will do great things through me! And yes, even the bad things are part of the greater plan of my Heavenly Father. In that, I choose to believe. Now unto Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy. To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen!" Jude 24 & 25. The very typing of these words sends shock waves throughout me. I sit on the ground, my head against a wall, my heart full of worship towards my Heavenly Father, my Solid Rock, my Shield, my Comforter, my God. Though all forsake me, yet will I follow Christ.
And the light dies away from where I am sure it streamed into my window. The moment takes on reality once more, and I am faced with today, with tomorrow. This tiny little bedroom has become a monument to the grace of God and the everlasting love towards His own. I stand today, a recipient of the blessings of God, bestowed by Him through the prayers of my parents and by those He has raised up as a cloud of witnesses to light the way for me.
As I look at this little bedroom, I remember you, Dad, sitting on my little couch with me, reading me scripture and teaching me the wisdom of God. I choose not to remember the times when you were rightfully angry with me, just as you have chosen to forget the times when I was so cold hearted and rebellious towards your leadership and protection. Your perseverance and the love you have shown to me has won you my heart as your daughter. I love you, Daddy! You ARE the best Dad in the whole, wide world.
Mama, the dearest earthly best friend the Lord has seen fit to give me, the memories of you sitting on my little pink bed, talking life over with me are countless. You are my heroine, and the wisest woman I know. I know you're not perfect, but neither am I. You chose life for me, and after I was born and until now, you still choose life for me. Mama, I want to be just like you when I grow up. Saying "I love you," will never say it enough.
Jonathan, my dear big brother, you may never know how often your life has stood out as a beacon of hope for me. Just you choosing right - to honor your parents and your Lord, have inspired me beyond words. You are one of the best friends I've ever had, could ever ask for, or ever will have. The man in you has made the woman in me. I love you.
Auntie Lizzie, you too sat in this little room with me many times, helping me with my many perplexities, always encouraging me to honor from my heart and to go to the Lord with my troubles. You always encouraged me to do right, and then praised me whenever I did. You have been a cheerleader for the song of my life, and I wish to thank you from the bottom of my heart, which, because of you, has become deep.
Rachel, my sweet little sister, you keep me laughing as the day is long. May you never stop shining the joy inside your heart. I can't say how many times you've pulled me up from that "Slough of Despond." I've enjoyed every moment we've spent together as the sweetest and dearest of friends. You are the dearest fourteen-year-old in the whole world and I love you.
Sarah, Jordan, Lindsey, Kindra, Leah, Noam - and all of my friends who know me inside-and-out, I have the best circle of friends ever! You inspire me and remind me that this world really does have the brightest, most aspiring, diligent, happiest, most fulfilled, wonderful young ladies left in it! You are the hope of the next generation, and the prayers of my heart go out to you as we grow up together and raise a mighty generation together, side by side. I believe in you & love you all!
And to the many unnamed others who stand, unknowingly, incredible masters of inspiration in my life. To the ministry of Vision Forum and its associates, your ministry uplifts me, challenges me, and makes my spirit throb for joy while shouting "Huzzah!" You are some more people I want to be like when I "grow up," as if there is such a thing. Run hard, and never stop! Persevere, persevere, persevere.
But back to this old house. My alone time is up. My little brother is pounding on the door. That's okay with me, though. I recognize that this is my calling. Back to the first line of my post, this old house has lost its heart, the very thing that makes a heart a home. What is it? The table and chairs? The clock on the wall? The fresh milk in the fridge? The couches where we spent countless devotional time with Dad? No. The heart of this house is the very little feet that pad around in it, the hands that clap for bedtime stories, the prints of fingers on the door, the cries that welcome family members home, and more. The heart of this house is its children. My mother expects that when her children are all married and raising their own children, her house will truly not be that much of a home anymore. Not with just her and Dad in it. But when I come to visit, when my brother comes to visit, and all the will be! Grandchildren will swarm the house we're now living in with happiness and life. That old house will indeed have lost its heart then, but it won't be that far away. I can almost here the children say, "Grandma, Grandpa, can't you come sit with me?" "Can you help me find a book?" "Tell me how my dolly looks." "Will you tie my shoes again?" "Can I help you bake those cookies?"
Then, even then, that old house will be home again.
And until then, we wish a beautiful farewell to all of the memories we have made in this, our happy home. My heart is filled with the goodness of God, in the land of the living.
For the Kingdom,
Sarah Elizabeth Byrum

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Newsy News on This Corner of The World...

We, the Byrum family, are well-known by our close associates for a crazy lifestyle. That is, one that is only organized by little leaps here, and rarely by bounds. We are the family known for their late nights, super busy schedules, and the family known for loving company. For as long as I can remember, my parents have been the most people friendly people I know. Sometimes this gets us into trouble, (as we're finding out with our children getting older) but at other times, we find that the essence of life finds us right there - in the midst of it all. I am, really, truly, happy to be sharing a life with the sweetest people I know, a life with a family that is truly the greatest...even if my schedule can't be kept while keeping theirs.
This next week will be an amazingly busy one for even our family. It is THE moving week! We are so excited to be actually moving into our new home, even though the construction is not completely finished. My bedroom, (actually, us girls' bedroom) is still dirt and gravel with a covering over it. We can't start construction on it until our radiant heat material comes in the mail. When it does, our room will be up in no time. Until then, however, I find myself looking out the window in the place that will be my future room, and dreaming of the happy years ahead - when I will be dreaming and writing in a new bedroom, in a new home, with the same people I love.
Another exciting highlight of my week is the arrival of my precious friend, (whom many of you know by reputation) Leah Cross from Colorado! What a dear friend she has been to me through the years! (Leah - I love you!) She stands a wonderful example for me, (for almost nine years!) and the big sister figure I have never had. We are elated that she is able to stay a week with my family and me. We will have a blast, to say the very least!
My big brother turns eighteen this Saturday. My family and I stand in awe at what the Lord has done these past two years of his life with us. My brother is a constant source of strength for me -the cornerstone and pillar in my life who anchors me to the ground when my dreams soar too high, my source of smiles when my laughing tank is empty, and my dear brother in the Lord who ever presses me on to greater heigths in my walk with God. I love you, Jonathan!
My mother's birthday is also coming up. I plan on posting a tribute to my precious ruby on the ninth.
And, until next time, I will be ever busy with my family's plans, and also the continuing project my precious friend, Kindra, and I are working on: our Christmas musical script for our drama group's Christmas performance this year.
Also, stay tuned for the latest Byrum website on the block: Me on the web? You bet! Two years in the making, with various technical changes and problems, will soon be available to the public along with all of my vocational branches including the SVW, the NICHEAD, my current writing projects, photography, and music. We are praying that this online ministry will be a haven of joy, a source of excellent literary and musical art, as well as a wellspring of spiritual encouragement for Christians.
As I close, know that my family keeps you, our dear friends, in our thoughts and prayers as we draw closer to this special time of year. With each autumn leaf that falls to the ground, another is on its way...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Homeschool Heroes

In Christopher Klicka's latest book, Homeschool Heroes, Mr. Klicka dramatically retells the passionate story of the heroes thirty years ago - the heroes rarely mentioned, who sat in their basements, their Bibles opened, a globe on the table: teaching their children the Word of God. Contrary to what society said was "normal", despite the threats of arrests, these brave heroes labeled "home schooling parents" faced all opposition and won a great victory. Through this book, Klicka tells their story and encourages a new generation of home schoolers to rise up in honor and gratitude. Because of their sacrifices, we now have a new generation of home schoolers who are living and breathing the joys of this freedom to home school.
In much the same way, I feel another group needs to hear the gratitude of multitudes, and they will, you may be sure. This gratitude will not be expressed to the winners of Noble Peace prizes, champions of athletic or technologically advancing research, or even the great leaders of family friendly politics, but rather the little boys and girls playing with legos and having tea parties, or the teenagers who think they are "ruining" their brain by pumping it with information as they sit absorbed in their laptop and books. These same home schooled children, who are tempted at times, (who maybe do at times) to believe that they are isolated, uniformed, handicapped-to-the-world whimps, are the children I believe the world is celebrating, and will continue to celebrate. And as these children stand at the very pinnacle of success, their parents, the real heroes, who combated assaults led by family members and church members, will gently applaud their children as well, while the entire family will have been edified, strengthened, awakened and changed by the journey.
I remember a very dear friend of mine at the age of eighteen telling me that she was sure that her incredible success in high school was due to the way her mother taught her. Curious about the protocol her mother took, she informed me that her mother was at first very nervous about home schooling, but, being a creative individual on a limited budget, (in a world very anti toward home education) she did the absolute best that she could. Every Friday she would load up her daughter of six and her son of eight, and would walk three blocks to the library, pulling along two empty wagons. When they headed home some hours later, the wagons were laden with mountains of books, and when they returned the next week, every one of the books had been read, dissected, discussed, and reported on. Besides making this their major curriculum, these bright children never neglected their play time, the little son playing with his legos and building castles, and the little girl dressing up and playing tea party. In fact, after interviewing this brave mother, she told me that she felt like her son had spent his entire childhood playing with legos - not "doing school." At the time of her active home schooling, this worried her. But she didn't have much to worry about. Fifteen years after her first year with all of its opposition in various shades, (many coming from her own doubts) this precious lady is the proud mother of a leader in the original Microsoft Seattle, Corporation, an author of Microsoft's latest computer handbook, a top developer of software for the company and rising quickly to the top. My friend, the very nervous young lady, who, like her brother, thought that she would be inadequate and incapable to cope with her world, is now a completely capable young woman with outstanding social skills whom her local college has done articles on, and whom full front-page headlines have spoken of. She is known as an amazing individual in our area, especially because she was home schooled, but she is also known for her excellent skill as an RN in a major city hospital, and for her radiating smile through which she witnesses to her world.
Another friend of ours, a dear lady in California who completely and confidently raised her children, says that even though she spoke volumes of confidence into her children, she, at times, did not feel like having that confidence. Her children say that because of her indoctrination, she raised successful adults. "I would tell my children," she said, "look at that school fence! Those poor children are in prison! I'd hate to be in that school! WE get to do school whenever! Let's go get an ice cream while those poor, poor children have to stay in that place." By giving them a positive outlook on life, her children began to look at their position as one to be envied. But still, there is that little thing that tells us, "You're not going to make it. You're not like everybody else. Look, even your relatives don't agree. Even your CHURCH does not agree. You're WEIRD!" The wise child throws these thoughts off, but truly, we're all human, and we all face the temptation to fear. Listen to what the home schooling graduates of today are saying:
"DON'T FEAR!" There is nothing to fear from your friends, your culture, your world. You are doing something (being home schooled) because you believe in it; because your parents believe in it...because it's a part of who you are. Don't be afraid! God is with you, and the world will be astounded at what He can accomplish in and through you.
When I was fourteen, I went through what I call an academic "drop out." I was rather depressed at my fall of normal straight As, and I considered the home schooling movement a waste because I wasn't making it. I remember an old friend of my mother's telling me one day, "Sarah, don't worry about geometry. Just focus on what's in front of you now, and shine. When the world sees you, I want them to see you, not your grades, not your talents: you - because Who is in you is far more important. When the world can see your smile and the shine in your eyes, that's how they'll know that your difference as a home schooler is important and worthwhile. And they'll begin to question the depth in you - Jesus Christ. Shine, Sarah." These very words I wrote down in my journal, and you know what? They've stuck with me all these years. I can't quite seem to forget them.
Whenever a home schooling friend gets discouraged, (or, whenever I suspect they are!) I try my best to uplift them with positive encouragement. Who are the heroes of education? Home schoolers. And for this reason, if not any other: because they have pressed on, regardless, period. To the parents and heroes of our generation, thank you. You will never know what you have done by the valiant, courageous, godly choices you have made. To the children and heroes (that's right - heroes) of our generation and the generations to come, thank you. Thank for choosing to stand for what is right beside your parents, for uplifting the same banner they hold. Thank you for making a difference. You have. And I believe that the impact of your decisions will extend far into the depth of your future, our future, and the history of the world. To our great Father God, the greatness of our gratitude belongs to You alone. For it is You that gives us the grace and the strength to get through every day, every hour, every moment; even tomorrow when we're down to the itty-bitty, everyday things like teaching phonics, working at the math table, studying history, feeling Your hand...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

Mama the Wonderful

Mama the Great. Mama the Supermom. Mama the Heroine. Mama the Incredible...and on and on and on. I could have chosen any of them to use as a title for this posting. However, to do so would be to dishonor, for though I think my mother is all of these things and more, yet she is so human that she would cringe at my calling her those things. She is wonderful, however, and no one can deny that. I want to make something straight here, though. Most people who know my mother look at her as if she was some kind of super-mom, some type of human being with extra powers. I live with her, and know that this is not the case, but what is is the fact that she walks faithfully through every day, never looking back, always forward - ever pressing on for the cause of Christ - whether or not it's fun, and whether or not it's easy. That's faith. My mother is wonderful because she chooses to take God at His word - whether or not it makes sense. My mother's life is powerful and influencing because she lets it be. That's simply it. She will readily tell you that womanhood is a powerful tool to wield, and that any woman can use that gift of herself to communicate vast volumes of truth into many lives - by using this gift of herself. A mother, (and mine especially because I view her everyday) teaches far more than words by the example she portrays with her life. But she does use words, too! My mother's words are deep rivers and penetrate the coldest of hearts. I've watched her be used mightily of the Lord in dealing with not-so-perfect people. But, to me, her daily life is the sweetest blessing.
Mama considers her highest goal to be helping her husband raise up her ten precious children for the furtherance of the kingdom of God. And she does her job well, some people think, too well. My mama is wise. She knows how to relate to each one of her individual thinkers, talkers and smilers. Her heart lights up with joy when her little son, Micah (our ultra-tenderhearted) informs her of some little happiness in his life. (In other words, she's not pretending to be happy when Micah lets her know that he is so glad he found the toad he lost.) Her face melts in compassion, though never in resolve, when her little wayward son, (the unnamed supremely animated member of our family some of you will know by his huge smile and high voice!) has just strayed from the path of righteousness again. Or when her older sons and daughters have heavy issues on their hearts, my precious mother never treats the issue lightly; rather, prayerfully she addresses our hearts with the truth in love - her proven recipe for success.
Has my mother always been this way? I smile, thinking about the many times in the past when she certainly was not. But God is changing her, just like He will any willing vessel. My mother is a study in complete femininity, and being completely feminine, she recognizes her position in the hand of a Sovereign God who created her and placed her right here, to serve us, her family.
My dear mother recognizes in her highest goal of raising her children for God the high goal of leading them to Him. My mother led me to Christ at the age of eleven, and has, this summer, by the prompting of the Holy Spirit, led my little sister Rachel (14) to Jesus after many tears for her soul. A month ago my brother Micah (7) came to the Lord, and today, I praise the Lord to say that our two peas-in-a-pod, Bethany (10) and Joel (9) made Jesus Christ Lord of their lives. My mother was there, as she always is, with my dear father, sitting with tears in her eyes and a smile on her radiating countenance. My mother is always beautiful, but never more than when a little one of hers has found a place in the fold of the Great Shepherd and mercy at the cross. My mother is wonderful. And my prayer at the end of my post is that God would give me the same sweet spirit He has given my mother - like He will give every mother who asks Him - so that someday I might have the greatest joy of life: seeing my own precious lambs fall into the arms of their Saviour.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Everything Byrum - (That is, all the Byrum news.)

What beautiful days I am walking through now! Autumn has always been a favorite season for my family and me, a chance to wind down from the busy-ness of summer and embrace the calmness of the season before the holidays.
You all are entitled to knowing that our house has at last closed, and we are the proud owners. We begin the ground floor remodeling/reconstruction this next week, to my brothers' intense gratification, (since that is their delightful area of service,) and to the great happiness of my sisters and me - because we get to decorate it! For many weeks now we have been searching through every home designing book we can get our hands on, and have been debating between which styles, colors, themes, and attitudes we want each corner of our house to have. Presently it has quite a European flair - but that will be changed in a few areas considering the fact that my very western brothers are moving in! Their huge bedroom is being designed like a cowboy's dream. Old saddles on the wall alongside dusty colored cowboy hats, horseshoe dressers and a blue sky ceiling. Bunkbeds, ladders, and gun racks. What more could an all-boy want? The next time I hear someone say that boys hate decorating, I think I'll choose to debate them.
My sisters and I opted to share a bedroom. There are only four of us - including our delightful baby sister, and we felt that it would be hard on our closely kindred spirits to seperate. Besides, my family isn't into the whole "individualist, independent" spirited attitude that permeates our culture anyway. I could "preach a sermon" on that, as my dear older brother often teases me of when talking of the debating pastime I can be far too fond of. We would far rather be close. We tell people that that's because we love each other so much, and laugh while they stare at us. Our hearts cry because more families can't truly say that about each other like we can. But anyway, back to our bedroom. When choosing themes, we had a huge debate over a pastel pallette/ballerina theme, or a royal "up-country" Parisian theme and a rich color choice. My oldest little sister, (as I laughingly call her to her unamusement,) really sacrificed a great dream of hers in choosing. As everyone who knows her is aware of, my sister, Rachel, is a beautiful little cowgirl. Completely western in her styles and dreams, I wish to commend her for her sacrificial attitude in giving up a western bedroom theme. She gave it up to the more Frenchy tastes of her younger and older sisters - Bethany and I - and heartily threw herself into our plans. So, for her sake, together us girls went for the royal French theme because it was less "little girl-ish" as Rachel calls the pink ballerina room. Besides, once we got to thinking about it, that's kind of what we want to be known as anyway. Princesses. My name means princess, in case you didn't know, and my sisters are also royal as daughters in their father's household and in the house of the King of Kings. We want our bedroom, though it is such a little part of our lives, to boldly proclaim our life visions just as we try to in everything else we undertake, and everything that bears our name. The Byrum Family Princesses. That phrase says a whole lot about what we consider our lot in life to be, how we view it; and, in our home, how we celebrate it.

Besides the packing and moving and packing and moving some more anthem we are living to right now, we still find time to live to the lighter tunes of life. My dad and brothers are busily engaged in their ALERT father/son squad with many of their homeschooling friends, a delightful addition to our lives. Everyone morning they are up early, repeating the pledge of allegiance in front of our beautiful flag on the tall pole in the front of our home. Every morning we womenfolk watch them strengthen themselves with their morning excerices and sharpen their minds with intense discipleship with their father, their leader, their patriarch. Rachel is busy as can be with her horseback riding lessons (in which she is excelling beyond her instructor's belief). She is happiest on the back of a horse. I am absorbed in preparing for the launching of our Golden Thread Film and Stage Company - a drama team branching off from the newly kicked-off North Idaho Christian Home Educators Association of Drama. A couple times each week my dear friend Kindra and I meet to brainstorm ideas and write up the developing Chrisitmas musical play we are throwing on stage this December. Besides all that, I still find time to teach piano to little fingers, and writing, of course. School has been postponed until November this year because of the move, and I don't think the children are complaining. They'd take remodeling a house over schoolbooks any day of the week.

Great things are happening on a spiritual level in our family as well. The Lord has added two of our very dearest friends to our home church fellowship, two families we have long loved and whom we are delighted to welcome into our circle. The fathers in both of these families are wonderful leaders, and we - our families - are excited about the foundations we are laying for all of our growing up years. Most people have no idea what it's like going to church, living life, and growing up and old with best friends. It's unlike any church experience I've ever tasted. If your family is considering home churching, I can strongly reccomend it - considering, of course, that it's with the right people. In that area, my family and I are most definetly blessed. We have the best friends in the world - people who share our vision and support it, people who live by goals and strive for them. I will forever be grateful to these friends of ours - this backbone of our spiritual life, and most especially to our Heavenly Father for bringing them into our lives.

Many thanks to all of you, who through your prayers, your love, and your support, have seen us through the most uncertain time of our life. May the blessings of God truly fall upon you in an astonishing and marvelous way - above and beyond that, even, and may you feel the love the Lord in a truer, more realistic way than ever before. I'm not just saying that. I truly mean it. The love of God is deep - not shallow, thin and hollow. I pray that He might make each one of you deep and living rivers of His presence and grace. God bless you. I love you all.

Monday, September 24, 2007

What Makes a Dream Home?

Sometimes dream homes take a little bit longer to create than the turn key commercials make you think. I actually see them all the time. So do you. Commercials advertising construction companies' services by actually false advertising. How? They tell you, "Here it is- the home of your dreams, in the perfect neigborhood. Just turn the key and presto, you're there."
I quite disagree. First of all, what defines a home of your dreams? We'll get to that later. A perfect neigborhood? What on earth defines that? In the most perfect of neigborhoods there is always something, or rather someone, that makes it perfectly unperfect. Turn the key and presto? I don't think so. When a house lacks furniture, it can hardly be called a dream home yet, and certainly when it lacks people it lacks the term "home." But that's what I'm getting to.
My family and I are preparing to move into a house we are just closing on. It's in the location we want it, with all the amenities we want it to have, and even designed the way we would design it ourselves. What makes me write about this today is the fact that we have been out furniture shopping all day long, as we have been faithfully doing for the past week. Furniture and a beautiful home might, to some, be considered a faithful definition of a dream home, but again, I quite disagree.
To me, a dream home is only a dream if the people you love dwell in it with you. Otherwise, to me this "dream home" would be rather empty, and therefore not a dream at all. I would far rather live in a shack, certainly not a physically appealing home, and be the happiest surrounded by those I love - and those who love me - than in the finest home advertised anywhere.
Where my family is, where those I love are, that is my dream home. Certainly my family and I would love to be hospitable with the great tool of a beautiful home, but first things first. My family and I will truly have a dream home when we're in it.
For those of you who have heard about our planned move to Rockford Bay, congratulations! For once you have not heard wrong, and happily, things are moving about as planned. I am delighted to say that by mid October we should be tucked in nicely in our new home. Our dream home, with furniture - but most of all, with us.

Friday, September 21, 2007

A Noble Calling

Here I am again. It's another day, another hour, another moment and opportunity to share with the world everything that God asks me to share. To tell of His greatness, proclaim His kingdom, and allow the world to see His me.
This is not my first blog, as those of you who closely follow my tracks know, however; this will henceforth be my most personal. If you wish to learn of my personal life behind closed doors, you'll find it here. If you wish to know the real me, even though it may be through the aid of impersonable computers, you can find it here. Because on these pages of my public journal you will find the thoughts of my heart clearly printed. In me you may find failure and triumph, and in my world you will see sunshine and rain, but through it all, I pray that you will see the deeper Meaning in life. This journey that I have decided to take - is my noble calling. As you watch my life, my heart's desire is that your own conscience will perceive the need for a life lived for higher purposes, and that your heart will lead you on the journey of your own noble calling. A calling is purpose, a reason we're here, a reason to live, to strive for. Welcome to mine, and may the light of the Lord shine vividly into your heart, inciting change.

The lyrics of a song I once composed with the assistance of my musical partners, my two sisters, goes as follows:

Noble calling speaks to me just like the gleam of stars;
like the sun, as it falls down, or the running stream.
I can hear it plucking on this heart string in me.
It tells me I will never walk alone,
It tells me there's a point to this road,
It tells me that you are always there;
It tells me that this is my call.

Noble calling says me name,
tells me to keep on.
When I'm weak, it breaths in me,
helps me, makes me strong.
When it's not easy,
when it's hard to believe,
yet will my heart still.

Because in me Your call still rings, telling me to go on.

It tells me I will never walk alone.
It tells me there's a point to this road.
It tells me that You are always there.
It tells me... this is my call.

To my dear family, friends, acquaintances, and readers, the reason my life means anything to you and anything to me is because of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, the Giver of all life, hopes and dreams, the Lover of my soul - and yours. The reason the call He gives us is noble is because He is. He is!