Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Elementary school students are often asked to determine the appropriate ending punctuation for a given sentence.  For example, “What color is this banana” should end with a question mark rather than a period.  Why?   If a sentence created by a speaker requests subsequent input from a listener, that sentence is a question.  In writing, such a sentence requires a question mark at the end.  By contrast, If a sentence requires no subsequent input  from the listener (although the listener may choose to comment), the sentence probably could end with a period.  That may seem basic, but you’d be surprised.

One may be asking at this point, “How could someone be THAT confused about which type of punctuation mark goes on which sentence?”  Please consider another comparison between elementary school lessons and God’s life lessons.
When God speaks to us, sometimes He asks us questions….but not because He doesn’t already know the answers… He asks us questions for the same reason any teacher would.  For instance:

Teacher: What are snowpants used for? (This is actually the sort of question I ask students…)
Student:  Uhhhhhh………
Teacher: Do you wear them on your head? (at this point, the teacher would preferably have a pair of snowpants on his/her head.)
Student:  NO!!  (dumb teacher…) You wear them on your legs when you play in the snow!!
Teacher:  Ohhhhhh…… You’re right; you DO wear them on your legs.

See,  the teacher asked a couple of questions there, but for what purpose?  The teacher was requesting subsequent input from the student, but did the teacher NEED that input in order to obtain new information?  Noooooo, the teacher already knew the proper use for snowpants (believe it or not, kiddo!).   The purpose of the questions was to teach the child, to lead the child, until the child was able to arrive (with the teacher’s guidance) at the correct conclusion. 

Certainly, God also often speaks in declarative statements (sentences that end with periods).  Sometimes the declarative sentence comes after a series of questions (as in the above illustration), or it could come on its own.   This is where punctuation confusion can come into play—when we try to place a question mark on a statement of GOD’S that is clearly meant to end with a period.  PERIOD.  This can be tricky, especially when God has recently given us a long series of questions…. In these PERIOD moments, God is not requesting input from us.  Action, perhaps.  Input, no.  Yes, it is our prerogative to comment, whine, or voice our own opinion, but it won’t matter much.  When God speaks with a PERIOD, none of that is going to do any good, and time will be wasted. 

In conclusion, God speaks, and when He does, Listen carefully—What type of sentence is He voicing?  A question to teach you?  A period to direct you?  (Or maybe an exclamation point for some reason??)  Either way, you can bet that there is Purpose behind the message, and He wants to use it (and your response) for His glory.

Monday, January 21, 2013


Once, while attempting to explain the activities of the UIUCYG to my mother (I was maybe going through the homemade demotivator calendar), she commented facetiously, "Sarah, I'm just really glad you were able to find friends like you."  :)  I think about that comment frequently, especially after a weekend like this past one, not only because it is true....(It is true.  I am incredibly blessed to have been given the friends that I have, and it took some stunning acts of God to make that happen), but also because of recent conversations had with others who struggle to find/form true friendships.  It is super humbling to look back at the paths God has led me down to bring countless amazing people into my life.  You know who you are (if you are reading this, you are probably one of them).  I'm not typically great at expressing myself in person, so please know that each of you are heartily-appreciated gifts from God. :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Kicking and Screaming

I spent most of this morning wrangling a wriggling 3-year-old at school.  Well, "wriggling" would be an understatement.  Kicking, screaming, hitting, throwing, pinching, scratching, pushing...that sort of thing.  I tried to reason with him at various times in the way adults reason with extremely defiant 3-year-olds...

 "Do you know why we are sitting here?  You are not making good choices.  You are not listening to your teachers.  You are not following directions.  You are hurting yourself, your friends, your teachers, and the things around you.  Your teachers like you, and we want to do fun things at school, but we can't if you don't follow the rules.  We have rules for a reason.  We need to make good choices so we don't hurt ourselves or our friends.  Do you like to feel hurt?  Of course not.  No one likes to be hurt.  You don't like to be hurt, your friends don't like to be hurt, and your teachers don't like to be hurt.  Following directions makes everyone feel better....."   and so on.....

Not surprisingly, the reasoning was not especially effective.

Do you know why she is mad? "Whyyy??"  Because you hit her.  "Whyyy??" You can't hit people.  "Whyyy??"  It hurts them.  "Whyyy??"   

You get the idea.

Anyhow, as I thought back to his little teary eyes, his little kicking feet, and his BIG screaming voice, I couldn't help wonder if that is how God sees us sometimes, or, who am I kidding, oftentimes.  He leads us step by step; he breaks down his instructions into simple little pieces.  Yet, I still so often find myself not understanding, writhing around, and asking "Whyyy??"

I get it, kid.  I get it.

You do need to listen to your teacher, and I need to listen to mine too. :)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Last week:


So...boredom is settling in, and I am resorting to such activities as photography and blogging. :)  Just kidding...sort of.  Today has been slow, but I do enjoy wandering around with a camera when I get the chance.  Besides, there's always Chicago with Andrea tomorrow to curb my need for adventure.  Yay. :)

Back to contrast: 
My parents have a very pretty front porch.  Can you guess which pictures were taken today and which were taken in the summer??  (hint: yes, yes you can.)



 Daniel 2:20-22
Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.

Secret/revealed; Darkness/light; set up/remove.......more contrast?  Okay, I am grasping at straws now.  :) One more bit of contrast before I give up: 

This one gets me every year.
As we wrap up the Christmas season (no pun intended...*eye roll*)

Beautiful and Majestic :)

Christmas Tree Cemetery  :(

The price of service.  As my dad would say, the tree is fulfilling its destiny.  "It loves it!  Who wouldn't love fulfilling their destiny??"  I suppose that's true... But he says the same thing about fish flopping around on a hook.