“Little One—a Maid of Israel”

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

This is a composition I wrote discussing some of the character traits that Little One had in spite of being taken from her home inspired by the book, Little One, Maid of Israel by Bill Harvey . (Little One, Maid of Israel is a fictionalized account of the story of the healing of Naaman the leper and the girl who helped save a family.)

          We don’t know much about her. In fact the Bible doesn’t even mention what her name was. But she must have been a gallant young maid of Israel; kind, good and compassionate in every way. And in this story we come to meet her as she might have been. Little One portrayed a girl of inner beauty, through her simple but sincere faith in the LORD God of Israel.
          Little One was a diligent and cheerful girl. Her father had died; her brother was fighting in the king’s army against the Syrians with whom Samaria was at war. All she had was Mother Leah and Grandfather Rueben, but she had faith in the power of Jehovah and His love. In Samaria, where she lived with her mother and grandfather, Little One never complained of all the work that she had to do on the little farm. Oh, of course she had to fill those heavy water jars by going several times a day to the well, and do so many chores around the farm, but she was cheerful as ever.  Her favourite time of the day was when Grandfather Rueben would tell her stories of how God delivered the people out of bondage from Egypt and brought them to the Promised Land. She loved to hear him tell her of Moses and Joshua and the Laws which God had ordained for them to keep.
          But then one day, the Syrian soldiers came to their farm. Her mother, who had gone to a neighbouring farm had been accidentally run down by one of their men and had died. Her grandfather had fallen ill upon hearing the news, and had died soon after taking to his bed. However, he got Little One to solemnly promise to serve God all her life before he died. Little One was now left alone, but her faith and trust in God remained strong, even when the petrol Commander, Kurd, took her to Damascus to serve in the household of Naaman. She had no bad feelings for the Syrians who had killed her mother, and forgave them. Even in a foreign land, Little One was a blessing to those around her, especially to Mahrrah, the wife of Naaman. When she is reunited with her embittered brother who had become a slave in Mahrrah’s house, Little One’s influence helps her brother overcome his hate for the Syrians and uncover a plot against King Benhadad’s life.
          That little maid from Israel served Naaman’s wife faithfully, and brought joy into his household through her cheerfulness and love. She sung the little children songs of Israel and told them about her God, the one true God. The children loved Little One. She always made them happy and Mahrrah couldn’t remember how life was before the young Israelite maid had come into their lives.  However, nothing Little One did could ever make her mistress truly happy. You see, Naaman, the Captain of the host of King Benhadad of Syria, was a leper. Nothing could make him better and that made Mahrrah sad. Little One saw her mistress weep, and her little heart flowing with care and compassion couldn’t keep silent when she believed with all her being that there was healing for her mistress’ husband. “Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria!” Little One told her mistress, “For he would recover him of his leprosy.” So Naaman went, and indeed was healed of his leprosy after having dipped in the river Jordan seven times as the Prophet Elisha directed. Little One brought happiness and joy to her master and mistress through her faith in God and her compassion. Her testimony shook two nations who might have gone to war over the matter had not the prophet of God intervened. This is a story of a girl who despite being exiled from home, and forced to serve foreigners who didn’t worship the Living God, refused to dwell in bitterness or resentment but served Him even in Syria and lived as a blessing to others as well.

This is a composition I wrote after reading the story of "Little One, Maid of Israel" by Bill Harvey about the story of the maid who told Naaman's wife about Elisha at school. It is a fictional story, but I found it so encouraging, and a very nice story as well revealing the love of God, and the beauty of a maiden who had a cheerful spirit even in exile.

Joy's Rainbow Lens

Monday, 29 August 2011

You may have been expecting this news... maybe not.... So here it is...
I made a new photography blog! It is meant to compliment this one, "Joy's Arbour of Reflection". I will be posting lots of photos as the Lord gives me the time, from our backyard, parks, the beach and different places beyond our area (if I get to see them soon :D). I hope you will enjoy browsing through it, and if it happens that I have forgotten to send you an invitation, please tell me so that I can send one to you :). Oh.... dear me! I forgot to even say what the blog's name is! 

The LORD is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,
And with my song I will praise Him.
Psalm 28:7
May our hearts be filled with praise to our dear Lord today, and may we sing a new song to Him! Have a wonderful, blessed day!

Love in Him, Joy

All Things Bright and Beautiful!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

mist of rain from our backyard

Well, the rains have come to us, and spring is only a few days away! It so refreshing to have blessed showers enriching our gardens after the rather dry couple of weeks that have passed. On Saturday at midday when there had been a lull in the shower, I strolled through the garden, camera in hand, and rejoiced in God's faithfulness, in the rain that watered our garden and made everything so, so green! It reminded me of the hymn... we all know it so well... but I love it so much...

All Things Bright and Beautiful
All things bright and beautiful, 
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful;
The Lord God made them all.

Each little flow'r that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their tiny wings.


The purple-headed mountains,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning
That brightens up the sky.


The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.


The tall tees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
To gather every day.


He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.


Here are some of the shots I took from our garden, they are a very simple little evidence of the beauty of God's handiwork.

 Yes, these are simple strawberry blossoms... and we haven't got any proper fruit from it yet... but aren't they lovely?

Below are some shots from the blueberry bushes... in the few days since I last took a look at them, so many blueberries have bloomed! (still green though)

YES! These are pomegranate  flowers... not that we have had such bountiful produce from the shrubs themselves; every few months comes a rather petite little red thing with some semblance in taste and look to a pomegranate... but the dew, dripping on the red blossoms, do give a refreshing look, don't they?

Didn't recognize these flowers? They are lemons in bloom....

More rain drops, browned twigs and the beautiful mood of winter that's soon to turn into Spring!

This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
Through the LORD's mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
"The LORD is my portion," says my soul,
"Therefore I hope in Him!"
The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.
It is good that one should hope and wait quietly 
For the salvation of the LORD.
Lamentations 3: 21-26

This verse, shared by a friend of mine, truly blessed me yesterday. Earlier I had read this verse and was amazed at the love of the Lord and His compassion for us that never, ever fails! Praise Him!

Might I say that I woke up this morning to an almost cloudless blue sky? It is sooo beautiful!!!! Well, and I decided something... can you guess it? I believe photography has become a hobby of mine! It is so fun to hunt out for beautiful things to take shots of.... Lastly, I best be going :). Today I've got Maths again to work on, and also a good violin practice Lord willing, as my lesson is tomorrow. Oh, you know, my dear viewers, I forgot to mention that I have decided (with the help of my teacher, Mary and through prayer) to postpone my 3rd grade violin exam till next March (2012) Lord willing next year to give me more time... so it's a relief to have a bit more time!

May the Lord bless you today as you walk with Him in the narrow path that He has laid out for you. He is our God, and to Him is the glory!
In His eternal, unchangeable love,

The Beauty of Music...

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Listen to this beautiful version of Dvorak's Humoresque played by Yo Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman, great musicians and personal favourites of mine. You may notice that I am also learning this piece for my 3rd grade violin, though it hasn't come close to sounding as beautiful as this!

I think God planted a beautiful thing in man when he gave him the ability to compose and play such beautiful music!

Why I have been Slack...

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Okay... this is just a very short post. I want to say that I've been very busy lately, hence not much posting or replies to e-mails :(... I will be more busy later in the week, close to the weekend so please understand if I don't answer comments or e-mails until the weekend. If anybody might be thinking what kind of "business" I am talking about well let me give you a few samples of what I've been doing and what I've got to do...

The clothes in my wardrobe need a good wash, most of them anyways. My room (well, Gracie and my room to be exact) is just a horrible, horrendous mess... gets me depressed just looking into it! I have been realizing that I am not a very good example to Gracie in this, and that it isn't very good at all to be untidy and careless. So, with God's grace, I am going to work on that! 

Since the beginning of the week I've been working on hardly anything but Maths and one side of my head is throbbing ever since I finished this afternoon. I had a Math test yesterday (don't know how that went really). And today I had a phone chat lesson with one of the school teachers over my new Maths PACE (hay, and it was really good!). BUT, I've got to complete a certain number of pg. before Monday for my next lesson. I also have a violin lesson come Monday and I haven't done much practice to be honest. Besides that, I've got to straighten my hair tomorrow and tidy my room. The big thing happening tomorrow Lord willing is that we'll be going as a family to Pastor John Piper's meeting in the Brisbane city center (he's come all the way from America to Brisbane, a place that seems to be always forgotten)!!!!!! I am really looking forward to it and pray that we will be blessed by it. 

What I am realizing is that in the midst of all this business, is that I need to keep my eyes fixed on HIM! I read a few days ago "You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. For in YAH, the Lord is everlasting strength". May we keep our minds stayed on Him and may we trust in Him, listening to His voice. Sorry for this haphazard post... I know most of you would have been expecting something grander... oh, and I do promise to reply to all the lovely comments and also the e-mails that have been sent as soon as possible. In the midst of all this, I hope to get a few moments of writing time... and I hope I DON'T get a MENTAL BLANK!
God bless!

Here is a hymn I leave you with!

Love in Him,

P.S. you may notice that the icons and pictures on the corner are all mixed up. That is because a little while ago I tried different templates but wasn't satisfied with any one of them yet. Still, I have found some really great ones that I am thinking of putting up sometime. So, I'll be tidying up the corner soon :).
P.S.S... do you think a change of template design will be nice for a change? I'd love to hear your thoughts on that please!

Thoughts on my Writing Journey

Saturday, 20 August 2011

This is a post I wrote for the blog, "Operation: Just Write" yesterday... with a bit of moderation to it. Hope you enjoy it :).

Before this post gets underway, I'd like to say that the way I've structured this post isn't very organized or professional. I hope I will get better in this area of writing as I progress in high school English. Anyhow... the other thing I'd like to say is that everyone's way of writing is different than the other and so what I have outlined here is all in my words what I've learnt and heard from the little time I've been writing (since 2008) and is by no way any official guideline. With that said, I can also mention that the way I write is rather irregular by itself. Though I will be mentioning later on how I am quite meticulous with my writing, I am also rather lazy when it comes to a lot of things, and I find it hard at times to apply myself to do the rigorous side that comes with writing. Right now, I am working to finish my novel, The Crown of Life, whilst at the same time honing my writing skills.

Hmmm... so the question is: do I just write? Or is my manner, as a friend of mine commented, "like a snowflake"-organized and with full plots and outlines? I definitely struggle with the whole plot/planning vs. the freedom of 'just writing'! My natural tendency is to be quite meticulous with words, having notebooks worn and old, jotted with my story ideas in plans, plots and outlines etc. I also have, what I think to be a terribly annoying habit; it is that I keep editing a page for days, sometimes weeks on end before I'm fully satisfied with it! But I also enjoy the freedom of just writing and coming out with what I've written and say, "Wow!... I didn't think I'd come up with that or know that I'd do that."

To be practical, this is how I really write most of the time: usually I've got my story plot in my head and every now and then I get some ideas; I share it with my family and friends to see how they like it, and after that I try to arrange it into the plot line (my plot or synopsis, really loose and crazy in its style, is around 9 pages long!) I  either store those ideas in my brain or jot them down on to one of my two spiral bound notebooks (one is used for really random thoughts, the other is a very rough draft of the actual story). Then I try on almost every night (except the weekends and Monday and Thursdays) to sit up on the computer and work away (or headache away!) on the ideas that have been brewing in my head. At times, I write directly unto the Word Document, but that is not always the case. Some people find it easier to write with paper and pen, while some get more inspiration on the computer. I do not know exactly which I prefer. It really depends on the circumstances.

Well, this leads me to something else. Mental Blocks. Somewhere out there, I read a really funny title for it, "Blank Page Syndrome"... have you ever experienced that? Maybe not necessarily in writing a novel, but maybe in a school essay? Often I just got those mental blanks in which just NOTHING whatsoever works... and I would do anything but open up my Word Document for days... in those days, I usually keep going over what I've written, disgusted at how disastrous my writing is and just shrink into myself. I have often found that when I purposefully say to myself, "Joy, you're going to write now! You have to write something..." a sudden panic seizes me and I forget everything that I intended to write and my head just feels foggy... I think to myself... "ugh... what did I want to say? How do I say it, or explain it? How do I fill this big empty page with great novel material that will keep my readers (if I ever have any) spellbound? Oh!!!! I simply can't do this!" *Sob*! That is when I know that I need to look to the Lord Jesus for help so that I may not rely on my own cleverness or strength, but on Him! It is the then that I realize that I need Him to give me the words to write, otherwise I can never write anything. For without Him we can literally do nothing. Getting back to what I was saying about inspiration, I have often found that I get the best inspiration (ah, and don't laugh at me now!) when I should be doing things beside writing... e.i. doing a Maths problem for instance. In fact that's how I started writing. One day I was tired and bored and so I started scribbling out a rough draft of a story when I should have been doing my Maths! It is something that really bothers me, and I am praying for God's grace and help in this area of my life... to set priorities right, redeeming the time. 

Anyhow... what I was speaking about the "Blank Page Syndrome" thing is that a lot of this panic is our fear. Fear that we will write something wrong, fear that it will not turn out like those amazing novels neatly tucked away in our shelves, which is of course is often our own pride playing up. We want to have our stuff just as good as those great classics out there... but wait a minute! Their great works didn't sprout up in a day! We have to work our way slowly and persevere. This a bit premature... but there is one question we have to ask ourselves... why are we writing? For fame... money? True, in a lot of us (and me, most of all!) there is the feeling inside of us of wanting to do something of accomplishment, worth to the world. But is that what we really want? To have our whole work built on the pride of our achievements? Oh, how we need the Lord to cleanse us from all illusions of ourselves and may we, by His grace, humble ourselves from the pride that so easily creeps into our hearts! I know I am not articulating all these issues very well so please bare (bear?) with me! But it is some thing to think about and I will talk about it later in this post. The other problem, coming up with the whole panic of what to write, is fear. We all know about this verse...."perfect love casteth out fear". But do we really believe it? One way I believe that we can overcome or conquer our fear and panic when we are in that state is prayer. I know it may sound a cliche but it truly helps you know! The next thing to do is, just write. WRITE. WRITE. WRITE... until your fingers ache... until your head throbs... then the release will come, hopefully. It is certainly a blissful feeling to have a flow of words on in your head, your fingers catching up with your thoughts!

One more thought. First let me say that I don't think it is wrong to be working on more than one story at a time, though personally I have found that to be quite distracting... BUT! Going as far as my limited writing experience, I have learnt (or more accurately I am learning) something quite important that my parents and sisters keep reminding me of ... If you start getting bored or tired with your story (you'll come to feel like this when you've been working on your story for more than 2 years)... DON'T GIVE UP YOUR STORY AND START WRITING ANOTHER! You will end getting bored out with that one too, shelve it somewhere and starting another, and yet another a few months later. I tried it once. My first story, "Escape from Vanity" hasn't been finished because I got bored and wished to try something else out... I do NOT intend to do this with "The Crown of Life"! You may put your story aside and do something else... write poetry, play the fiddle (if you can)... jump rope, scrub toilets :S, make a tumble-turn, clear up your cluttered e-mail inbox, or even curl up in bed and sleep for 48 hours! Just don't give the story up... it might turn out to be a blockbuster novel! (I am speaking as much to myself, by the way, as to any reader/author here!) Well, even if your/my story never publishes, you and I can say that we've finished a whole book... that's something, isn't it? I am learning that the most important thing is to glorify God in absolutely whatever we do. Who cares if it gets published (well maybe, we, authors, care a bit, don't we?) the important thing is do our best, entrust the whole thing to God, and leave the rest for those big agents and publishers to decide. In a world where there is so much immorality, violence and lawlessness there are many books, most of them trash, but little truth. Are we prepared to fill in the gap? However small it will be, to bless those around us with godly, inspirational books/stories that will encourage those who read it? And even if no one outside our family get to read it, we can bless them... our brothers and sisters... our parents. In the future our children. Surely that should be an encouragement for us in our journey of writing! "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." I Corinthians 4:10

In conclusion to this lengthy post... 
Personally I am trying to regulate my own writing so that it is methodical and not so haphazard and idiotic in its manner. I also want to learn to pass the initial barrier of whether I get 'inspiration' or not and simply write it out... write the whole thing, get done with it, the whole time praying for God's guidance and help. Then edit. Then read it for myself. Then let other family and friends read it. Then PRAY! Then try and publish... eventually! All the time trusting God that He has a plan for my life, infinite and lovely in its design, knowing that if He wants this to work out, then He will open the doors and lead me. And He will lead you too. He will lead all His children, "for all things work together for good to those who love God"! I believe our Father in Heaven is interested in even the smallest things in our lives. Nothing is too great or too small for Him, even our little stories and problems. Let me tell you something... I really, really want to publish my story! But it is not what I want, but what He wants, that I truly desire in the depths of my heart. It is all in His hands, we are in His hands and that thought, is so wonderful! May we give Him, not only our lives but also our dreams, ambitions, our work... and say, "I am Yours, save me!" (Psalm 119)

I'd love to hear the different writing methods you (viewers/readers) use. It will certainly be very interesting!
God bless you and keep you in His love, joy and peace today and always.
Have a great weekend, and thank you for listening to my ramblings... :)
Love in Him

Amazing Grace

Thursday, 18 August 2011

This is a soundtrack clip from the movie, "Amazing Grace" (a personal favourite of mine! To view my complete movie list, click here.). At the end of the inspiring film, a Scottish band plays the hymn "Amazing Grace" with the bagpipes, drums and flutes and the organ. It is so beautiful to hear and so true for our lives. It is His amazing, unspeakable grace! Well, I just wanted to share it with you...
"I once was lost, but now I'm found...
was blind, but now I see!"


Have a blessed day in the Lord!

Photos of Nature in our Backyard

Monday, 15 August 2011

Here are some photos of nature that come from our small backyard... no animals... no bush... no abundant flower gardens... but simple as it is, there is so much beauty here still and evidence of God's loving care. 

O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.
 Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.
 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:
 All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;
 The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.
 O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!
Psalm 8

 This morning I gazed out through the 
glass garden door and drew in a deep breath of
 silent awe at the beauty of the heavens
Thank you Lord for the beauty of your Creation!

 Clouds blanketing pockets of blue sky...

 The sun shining atop the clouds!

 The clouds are like 3D!

 The beauty of the last pink gleams of 
sunlight reflected in the dusk sky

Mama's carrots and beet seedlings growing...
hope they produce a good crop!

 Silver beets from Mama's vegetable garden

 More greens from the garden...

 Mama's fava beans growing bushy and big...
praying for a good crop!

Broccoli seedlings...  

 Boc Shoy in the soil...

More fava beans and eggplants in the garden bed

Hurrah! Eggplants dropping down in the shade...
they're delicious...

Mama's lemon tree, growing slowly
 and quietly but surely!

 Ah! Can you see the lemons drooping  down?
Hope they be juicy!

More views of the lemon trees :)

 You guessed it! We growing strawberries...
although there aren't any strawberries yet ;)

 Aren't those strawberry blossoms pretty?

 This is a blueberry bush with white blossoms
we've got a few handfuls of blueberries already!

Here's one blueberry!

Mmmm.... fresh parsley


 All of this is mint... growing like wild!
It is really mint, and not a weed by the way :)

It is even growing in gaps and creaks of the timber!

Those little flowers, blossoming in those pots
are so fragile and beautiful
what beautiful handiwork of God!

 This is a hibiscus herb plant in our garden... 
the flowers are really pretty!

Closer views

 These are trees standing in front of Red Edge Shopping
Center which is less than two streets from our house

 Beautiful low clouds... 
the Heavens truly declare the glory of God!

 I took those photo shots of our suburb while 
having a walk to Red Edge

 Some more beautiful sky views from our area

 Off in the distance you can see the bush....

The street lamp... it isn't snowing, it isn't Lantern Waste
and so it isn't Narnia :)

 The seedlings of a bush in our garden...

I love how green and tropical those palms
look in front of our front door :)

Pebbles... weeds... random...

 This morning we got some flowers for Mama

Rosy pink Carnations

 Closer views...

Be blessed in Him!