Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.


A Big Bite of Apple

210/365 - Comparing Apples and Oranges
The first woman was not very different from this woman.  She had a perfect, sweet relationship with God, walking beside the Creator of her perfect world in a sunrise aurora each morning.  One morning, she tossed that intimacy aside like a stripped chicken bone—exchanging face-to-face conversations with God for a bite of fruit.

I have never had a perfect relationship with God. But I have, when faced with a stretch of time, discarded meditation like a stripped chicken bone—exchanging intimate conversations with God for a big bite of Apple (or Microsoft, as the case may be).

Sleep was the apple for the disciples waiting in Gethsemane.  This present world was the apple for Demas.  And technology is often my apple.  Technology is not wrong, but when it or society or sleep or any other thing distracts us from meditating on the words of God, they become our apples.

Think of meditation as gorging your soul on the Bread of Life and on the sweeter-than-honeycomb words of God written to you.  In spite of that potential feast, stupidity often carries the day for me, and I still hold up my palm and say, “I’m good—I’ve got my Red Delicious of the knowledge of good and evil.”  It’s a fruit that tantalizes your tongue but paralyzes your soul. 

So when you contemplate your apple today, when you gaze at your reflection in its glossy ruby skin, when your fingers reach out to caress its buxom shape: choose, just choose, to talk to God instead.  After your tongue tastes the honeycomb, you won’t ever want to go back to Apple. 

Photo Credit: Helga Weber


Meeting Michael

We had just departed from another wonderful church family camp, where I was convicted and challenged by the Spirit through the preaching, and where we all enjoyed a weekend together of transparent fellowship and memorable fun.

As we left camp, we took advantage of our close proximity to the Pacific Ocean, and stopped by the beach with another family to enjoy a half hour of salt, sand, and crashing waves--a combination I never tire of. The anticipated became the unanticipated when an older gentleman with a thick accent and a young girl came up to Micah and began asking him questions about his kite. Before long, though, he asked, "Are you Christians?" as he took in our group of people strung hither and yon along the beach.

By this time, our fathers had joined in on the conversation, and they eagerly told the man we are indeed Christians. With joy, the man explained that he and his family were also Christians, and that he had guessed our identity by the clothes and manner of the women and girls.

Left to right: Micah, Julie, Susanna, Jonah (front), Mr. M. (back), Lauren, Mikaela, Papa, Gideon, Michael, Michael's wife, Christina, and Esther
What followed was a wonderful time of getting to know our brothers and sisters in Christ. Soon we had all met Michael and his daughter Christina, who translated for her father when he was trying to convey a particularly difficult concept and couldn't find adequate words in English.  We stood on the beach, shivering (because the beaches in the Pacific Northwest are never warm) and conversing about our mutual love for the Saviour, their coming to America from Kazakhstan, and witnessing and preaching to a nation who says "we know God," but does not obey God. At one point, Michael asked us to sing an American song of praise to God, and as we began "Come Thou Fount," he readily joined in with us--singing in Russian.
Family Camp 2012!

We exchanged phone numbers and left with an open invitation to visit his home any time we wished. I walked away with a warmness in my spirit and a heart of gratefulness to God for a weekend of fellowship with believers, some of whom I had known my entire life, and others--like Michael and his family--whom I had known for only a few minutes. Many have been the times when unbelievers have asked about my attire, but it was a delightful surprise that our choice of clothing when we got up in the morning led to such a Spirit-filled meeting. The world digresses daily into androgyny and cross-dressing, but what a privilege we have as women of God to dress femininely and modestly for His glory. We stand out as different, unusual, and peculiar! What a good thing this is, for the deeper into darkness our world plunges, the brighter our light shines in the corner in which God has placed us.


{Don't} Rain on My Party!

Come Friday, we strapped down the trailer, seat-belted ourselves in, and set off to the coast for a weekend of camping with Papa's family.  These pictures give their thousand-words- worth about a trip we will never, ever forget! 
Crab. Garlic butter. Feast. 

Little man watching big man wrangle his crab. 

Aunt Hiedie enjoying her share. 
Central pillar of the weekend: food!  Uncle Larry flips some flapjacks in the picture on the right. 
We celebrated Rebecca's college graduation and Mikaela and my fast-approaching graduation all at once.  My Aunt Vickie is to be held responsible for the atrocious blown-up photos behind us. 
l-r: Cousin Amanda made Melanie an amazing beaker pinata for her birthday, Mikaela and I open up Polish pottery (a family tradition!), and Rebecca unwraps her kit and kaboodle of kitchen gadgets from our family. 
Game time: Who knew Jonah could balance five dice on the end of a popsicle stick held in his mouth?

How many pencils can you toss in the air and still catch?
Zach creamed us!
Cousin Ryan demonstrates the next game which involves a pulley system using your ears. 

l-r: Aunt Vickie, Aunt Lisa, Mikaela, and I

Aunt Lisa and Amanda
Uncle Joe introduced Micah to his passion: golfing!
Cute toenails!
Cousins compete with cards!

Mama and Reed

We had a gourmet s'more cookoff complete with several rounds of five entrants, and three judges per round.  Pop rocks, bacon, espresso, mascarpone cheese, tea, raspberries, sour patch kids, cream cheese, and molasses cookies were just a few of the ingredients used, with surprising results! 

A judge examines his scorecard. 

Grandma and Grandpa approve!

l-r: Ryan and Micah

Happy Camper
Apparently I come by my love of reading honestly. 
Say cheese!
Our true selves come out! 
On Sunday it rained, but all the other days were nice.  Except for when the thunder woke us up on Saturday morning and everyone simultaneously scrambled for tarps.  Oh, yeah, and when the rain was our alarm clock on Monday morning.  But puddles in your tent are normal, right? 
Needing some warmth, we travelled to the Tillamook cheese factory, a favorite stop.  Get a look at the worker's t-shirts!

"Fall in loaf for the first time" says the official hippy loaf van. 
Aunt Lisa and Susanna's matching umbrellas served a good purpose in soggy-hamburger-bun prevention. 

Monday, the final day of the trip, we scrambled to pack up early and head to complete Papa's birthday present: a kayak tour in the ocean bay! 

First things first: none of us tipped over! 

And we had a lot of fun, too!

We returned home five pounds heavier, a bit more sore in the arms, on marshmallow overload, with sand yet between our toes, and still talking about all the silly and sweet memories of the weekend.  Eager to rejoin civilization, we raced up to our door only to realize two things: our water was about to be turned off for construction in a few hours, and church family camp was only days away.  But the sun was high in the sky, and we suddenly realized that showers aren't all they're cracked up to be, anyways. 


Busy as a Baskin-Robbins on a Hundred-Degree Day

The past seven days? I dare you to come up with a busier, more pell-mell, yet rewarding 168 hours. Here's everything that's been keeping us from textbooks this week...

Last Monday, Emily, Rachel, and Sarah came over for a fun girls day, with Emily and Rachel getting to stay through Tuesday. Of course, Starbucks was the first stop after a 7 AM rendezvous. A walk around the park, picnic in the woods, hairstyling, photo shoot, and...oh, yeah, Susanna inexplicably fainting in Rachel's arms made for a very exciting time!

So you can believe that this sinking wreckage is made out of cardboard...

But would you believe that this one is as well? We cheered and clapped and laughed all the way through the Cardboard Boat Regatta as over 50 boats competed.

Beautiful Lauren

We enjoyed a barbecue at our house with two other families on the Fourth before heading to the center of town. The fireworks display at our park inspire, amaze, and overwhelm. We knew we were not to be disappointed when the first song to accompany the sonic blasts was from the gorgeous "How to Train Your Dragon" soundtrack.

Thursday was full of lessons to teach (no slacking off through the summer!), before heading out on Friday to the beautiful Washington peninsula for a girls' conference. There, we met up with friends and spent the weekend together. That's Melanie, Mrs. M, Lauren, Mrs. D, Florence, Susanna, Mikaela, and Julie.

Melanie, Mama, Lauren, Susanna, and Mikaela

Lauren and Mikaela

Saturday was the culmination of many months of preparation on the part of Johanna (center) and Ruth, and many weeks of preparation for us and other dedicated volunteers. (In that upper left picture, you can catch me modeling a very unflattering "what-not-to-wear" outfit and Lauren looking beautiful and glowing in her "what-to-wear" outfit as the girls learned about true beauty and dressing tips.)

Manning the registration table wasn't hard on this beautiful 80 degree day (one of the first this summer)! Mrs. R, Melanie, Lauren, Susanna, and Mikaela, left to right.

Ruth and her husband Chris blessed us with a session on "Success in Singleness."

It was so precious to see moms and daughters learning to love each other and God even more!

Lauren and I were honored to share a session on "Don't Just Live with Your Siblings: Love them!" We challenged the girls to realize just what an important calling and responsibility we have to love our siblings and family and gave practical tips and ideas from our own experiences.

Susanna, Julie, and Florence--lovely young ladies!

In the afternoon, the moms attended a session on "Spiritually Strong Moms" (top picture), while the girls attended skill classes. Susanna chose the gift wrap and candy bouquet class (bottom picture), while Lauren and I taught an hour-long class: "Writing and Blogging: Is the Pen Mightier than the Sword?" (Throughout the class, we had various challenges and exercises for the girls, and one of them was to reinvent an overused simile. Lauren gets the credit for this post title, which she revised from the typical "busy as a bee" expression.)

Melanie, Lauren, and I played "Come, Christians Join to Sing."

Afterwards, we debriefed over carbs at Panera.

Ruth and her adorable daughter, Jacqueline.

A whole bunch of us, exhausted, but grateful to God for bringing everything together and allowing so many girls and moms to attend and learn with us.

This was the view out of our window!

What better way to unwind than to play Dutch Blitz? Despite the fact that Lauren and I had gotten four hours of sleep for several nights in a row, we couldn't resist the noisy, addictive game.

After arriving home Sunday night, we celebrated Melanie's 19th birthday on Monday with Sandi and Ron (Grandma and Grandpa also arrived later than night to spend the week at our house). I'm so proud of the beautiful young lady Mel is becoming, as she seeks God and is diligently learning and taking full advantage of the opportunities around her. It's such a joy to see my younger siblings growing up to become my best friends!

This coming week does not promise to let up at all, but I look forward to new experiences and opportunities to glorify God. I may fall into bed exhausted each night, but it is with a smile on my face and praise in my heart. What has been keeping you busy lately?

All photos thanks to Mama and Melanie!

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