Saturday, December 30, 2006


2 days until 2007! The holidays have been great especially with Pat IV home and all regular activities canceled. Marvelous time to catch up with things including my cooking (picture).


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Reason for the Season

First Corinthians 13
Christmas Version

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows,
strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls,
but do not show love to my family,
I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen,
baking dozens of Christmas cookies,
preparing gourmet meals and arranging
a beautifully adorned table at mealtime:
I'm just another cook.

If I work at a soup kitchen,
carol in the nursing home,
and give all that I have to charity;
but do not show love to my family,
it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels
and crocheted snowflakes,
attend a myriad of holiday parties
and sing in the choir's cantata
but do not focus on Christ,
I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love does not envy another's home
that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love does not yell at the kids to get out of the way,
but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
Love does not give only to those who are able
to give in return; but rejoices in giving
to those who cannot.

Love bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things, and endures all things.
Love never fails.

Video games will break,
pearl necklaces will be lost,
golf clubs will rust,
but giving the gift of love will endure.

--Author Unknown
It's so important to remember what this time of year is all about...Christ!

When we miss God in all our hustle and bustle, we miss love.
~"God is love."~1 John 4:8.

When we miss love, we miss true serving and giving.
~"Serve one another in love."~Galations 5: 13
~"God loves a cheerful giver"~2 Cor 9:7.

When we miss true giving and serving, we miss so much happiness and blessing.
~"It is more blessed to give than to receive."~Acts 20:35
~"Give and it will be given to you"~Luke 6:38

Lots of people among the Christian world are saying, "Don't miss the true reason for the season -- Jesus' birth." Yes, of course, we should celebrate Jesus' birth, but we should do that at all times of the year not just on December 25 (which according to scholars isn't even close to when His real birthday was). One thing I admire about my church family is that they celebrate all of His life and ministry during all times of the year.

Now, I'm not trying to downplay Christmas at all. I think it's a wonderful time to put extra emphasis on the rememberance of His birth. And there are extra bonuses too: the family together... the joy that's not usually there in some people... everyone wishing you a "Merry Christmas"... the excitement... the chance to practice my cooking skills on food that's on
!SALE!... etc.

But with our family there's no presents on Christmas. It's a day for remembering the ultimate gift from God not our gifts. But when New Year's Day comes rolling around there's always a fluster of activity under our tree. It's the "New Giving Day" =)!


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A Great Work of Poetry

by Ruyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
And make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thankful for family

Today is Thanksgiving (as if anyone wouldn't know)! It is so awesome to live in a country that allows the freedom of religion. This year our cousin, Sith, came from South Carolina to visit us. We've had a previous post about him (sixth paragraph) when we visited him in April. Thanksgiving is a great time to have the family together and think about the abundant blessings God has given us.


Sunday, November 05, 2006

Corpus Christi Again

Shoutings...tears...laughter...encouragement...old friends...courage...fear...hugs...yes, all that took place yesteray and much more! We found ourselves back in Corpus Christi yesterday after a waking up at 5:30a.m. to leave for a speech and debate tournament. It was only one day so many people call it a "round-robin".

This was the first time I had performed my speeches this year so I didn't know how they would be welcomed, but from hearing the judges comments and critique I believe they were well received. In one speech, I act out a story about abortion from the baby's perspective. During the story the baby is actually aborted and apparently this moved one judge to the point of tears! Wow! I pray that God will use this speech to glorify Him and touch peoples lives.

As for results, at this practice tournament there were no awards in speech, but they did in debate. I won three out of four of my debates as did Paul. Someone from our club, David Umstattd, won first place! Congratulations!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Life Goes On Under An Awesome God

Sorry, about the delay of posting, but life's been extremely busy lately. I don't have time to post about most of what's been happening, but here are the highlights.

Three weekends ago we went to Corpus Christi (I like the name of the city
:-) and camed out on the beach. We went to this gigantic aquarium were there was a dolphin show, rare animals, the largest species of spider-12 inches long, small sharks, puffer fish, jelly fish, a place where you could pet rays and hermit crabs, and so many other amazing creatures of the ocean. Though the aquarium wasn't Christian or anything like that, just seeing these animals makes you realize that God is so cool.

We also went horse-back riding along the beach. This was my first time to go horse back riding without someone leading me (as in holding onto the reins). The horses even waded in the water! I had a reddish-brown horse named Chester who at first was spirited, but as the ride went along was pretty calm. What an awesome experience and another testimony of how cool God is.

The next weekend included driving up to Dallas on my birthday (the 14th) for the wedding of my third cousin. We then watched a very excellently scripted play called "Eternity" with some long, long time friends, the Singletons. Mr. Singleton and I were going to blow out the candles of a birthday cake (his birthday was two days before), but I accidently blew them out with my laughter. Somehow I can't help but laugh a lot whenever I'm with them. Rebekah Singleton turned 13 yesterday (the age I am now).

Last weekend we were able to attend the last half-day of the San Antonio Christian Film Festival. Congratulations to The Oath of Desmorea for winning the grand-prize Best of Festival Jubilee Award!

Yesterday, Paul and I competed in our first debate competition of the year. It was only for a few hours in Austin, but people from Corpus Christi, Dallas, College Station, and Houston came. Out of 28 competitors, Paul got 8th speaker rank and I got 13th speaker rank. In overall placings, Paul got 4th place! Pretty exciting! God is so awesome!


Monday, September 25, 2006

One of the things I want most in the world is to gain the spirit of gentleness.


Monday, September 11, 2006

A Day of Remembrance

Where were you five years ago today? So many people remember, all too well, where they were when they heard the news about the twin towers. I walked into my dad's office to say, "Good morning" to him. He handed me a news article he had printed out from the internet about the tragic story. Seeing that I still did not understand, he explained the situation. After that I don't remember much that happened since I was so young, but I doubt we had school that day. One thing that stands out in my mind was the amount of fear that another terrorist attack would happen. Might it even happen to my family?

And who knows...another attack could happen today, or tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after, etc. Yet we can't just worry our life away. If I died today I know where I'd be going and that gives me peace in an area where unbelievers often can't stand to even think about.

God is in control of everything including the length of each person's life so because of that a godly, courageous friend of mine stated, "I would rather die in God's will than live outside of His will."


Monday, August 21, 2006

Uncle Somyot's Visit and the Entrepreneurial Bootcamp

Photo 1: Lunch with friends from our church on the San Antonio River Walk

Photo 2: At the Alamo

Photo 3: Imax Theatre (screens Alamo: The Price of Freedom)

Photos 4-6: Christopher presenting his business plan and later after winning the "Budding Entrepreneur - Captain of Industry Award"

Photos 7-8: Genevieve Smith interviews conference speaker Don Hart, Jr. for the Home Education Foundation of New Zealand

Photo 9: Entrpreneurial Bootcamp organizer Doug Phillips of Vision Forum with two of his sons

Photos 10-13: More friends at the conference

Photo 14: Group photo of some of the speakers at the Entrepreneurial Bootcamp

Photos 15-17: Touring the courtyard of the Alamo with Uncle Somyot

From August 1-12, my mother's youngest sibling out of 11 children, Uncle Somyot, stayed with my family. His home is in Thailand. My mom had a wonderful time talking in her native language with him and learning about the news of her family still in Thailand. We used this as an opportunity to teach him some English as well, and found him very eager to learn--while talking to him he would usually repeat any key word you said. Most of the time on the first try at repeating the word he would only pronounce the first two syllables correctly and garble up anything else, but on further attempts he would succeed with the entire word. This was an example of how with determination and perseverence one can often accomplish even things that by their nature are rather difficult for you.

During the last three days of his visit we took him along with us to the Entrepreneurial Bootcamp in San Antonio sponsored by Vision Forum.


Sunday, August 13, 2006

Anchors Aweigh!

Hello! My name is Admiral Paul Hastings in His Majesty’s service. Upon returning from my first voyage, I wish to write down my exploits so that I might inspire the citizens that are in His realm. At 7:45 p.m. on August 13, 2006 AD and in the sixteenth year of my life, I left on a voyage of extreme exploits, daring deeds, astounding accomplishments, frightful fears, and utmost….DANGER!?! I went sailing. But let me assure you that it was no ordinary journey of joy and frivolity. No, this was a perilous undertaking. When I stop to think (I assure you I can) that I paddled 100 feet to and fro from my dock to my neighbors dock, I am almost brought to tears, or maybe it's allergies. But nevertheless, I set out on the good ship “Humu-humu-nuku-nuku-apuaa” (which in the Hawaiian language is the name for a type of sea trout) and was accompanied by the press(my siblings) which photographed the entire event. Upon first entering the waters of the cove I promptly capsized. But I re-launched again, this time with an appropriate helmet, and floundered about for thirty minutes. After docking uneventfully, I gave the press some advice and disembarked. Sadly, my trip was not to be without casualties. A most important member of my crew was gravely injured, nigh unto death. All right, what actually happened was I cut my foot on a mussel, but it still hurt. I look forward to when I may tell you of my exploits again. In His service...

Paul Hastings

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Choir Camp

Another one of the Malone's summer music camps, choir camp has filled me with many wonderful memories.


Friday, July 21, 2006

Harp Camp

Picture 1: Danielle & me

Picture 2: Lunch time!

Pictures 3 & 5: The majority of the girls playing during our ensemble practice.

Picture 4: Brittany, my awesome partner

Picture 6: Me playing harp

This past week I attended harp camp which was taught by friend Hannah Malone. Some of the things I learned included:

--Playing harp for 2 1/2 hours a day non-stop can stiffen your back and produce callouses
--Hymns and Celtic songs on the harp
--I have a short thumb (which God made for a purpose)
--The harp sound is soothing just as David and Saul found it: "So it came about whenever the evil spirit from God came to Saul, David would take the harp and play it with his hand; and Saul would be refreshed and be well, and the evil spirit would depart from him." (1 Samuel 16:23 NASB)

Having no experience on the harp whatsoever, I made tons of mistakes and sometimes that was discouraging, but like I learned in the Bible study which we had each day, God wants us to do our best and give however much we have to give whether it's just a tiny bit or a whole lot. Fortunately, Hannah was very patient with me, and although I'm still a long way off from ever performing at Carnegie Hall, I'm striving to glorify God in what I have to offer.