Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Hiding, Christmas

My first Christmas with the Tills was the best Christmas I have ever had. Even though I’ve only been with the Tills for a short time, they have become like my family. I believe that I wasn’t the only one who had a special Christmas this year.
            I woke up one morning and looked at the calendar. It was December 19. “Only about a week until Christmas.” I thought. I knew that I wanted to get Brooke a present, but I didn’t know where I was going to get the money. I was just thinking about how I could make her a really pretty Christmas decoration with my own two hands, when Brooke walked in. “Good morning Roxanne, you want to hear my Christmas list for mom and dad?” “Sure.” I said, and Brooke began to read. “Nail polish, lip gloss, pencils, drawing paper, the Little House book series, and a butterfly net. Well, I’d better get ready for school. I’m going to get you something really nice, Tilly.” I thought about that. I then knew that I couldn’t just make something. She’s like my sister, and she deserves a good present. I thought for a long time that day before I came up with a solution: I needed to get a job.
            I looked out the window and saw the ground covered in soft, white snow. Little kids may look out and think about snowmen, sledding, snowballs, and other activities. Adults may look out and think of mittens, hats, scarfs, and other things to bundle their kids up with. Most of my friends probably looked out and thought of a snow day or two. Me? I looked out of the window that morning and thought of money; money that I would earn shoveling people’s driveways. So, I bundled up, grabbed a shovel, and started to walk around the neighborhood.
            As I went to the first house, I rang the doorbell and waited. A woman of about thirty answered the door. “Hi,” I said. “I was wondering if you were interested in hiring someone to shovel your driveway.” She smiled and we discussed a price. Soon I was shoveling her driveway for five dollars. While I was shoveling, Hillary and Lindsey walked by “What are you doing?” asked Hillary. “Community service or something?” she said in a mocking voice. “No, I’m earning money to buy Christmas presents.” I said. “Ha! I just get money from my bank account. My parents give me all the money I want.” Said Hillary. I told her that not everyone has everything served to them on a platter, which made Hillary stomp off, with Lindsey right behind her.
            Over the course of the next two days, I shoveled driveways and earned plenty of money. Finally, after a lot of hard work, I had all of the money necessary to buy the Little House series except for five dollars. Thankfully, there was still one house left to shovel. However, since it was getting dark, I decided to go in for the night. So, I went home, got my sore body into bed, and opened my Bible. It fell open to Psalm 71:9, which says, “Do not cast me away when I am old, and do not forsake me when my strength is gone.” I glanced at it, and then began my reading in Matthew, where I read the sermon on the mount in chapter five.
            The next morning, I got ready and went to the last house. “Just five dollars more.” I thought. As I walked toward the house, I spotted Mr. Adams already shoveling his driveway. Mr. Adams was around eighty years old and, while his health wasn’t in any danger as far as I knew. He was struggling to shovel. As he went inside for a break, I recalled the verse about old age. I also remembered a verse somewhere that said that when you do something for the least of these, good or bad, you are also doing it to Jesus. With this in mind, I walked over to his driveway and began to shovel. After a while, Mr. Adams came out and, when he saw me, it looked like he was going to cry. “Thank you Roxanne, thank you so much. I didn’t know how I was going drive to the grocery store with my car blocked. Here, let me give you some money.” “No,” I said. “This is my way to bless you.” Mr. Adams wished me a merry Christmas, and then went inside.
My heart soared at the thought of helping Mr. Adams, but also groaned at the fact that I was five dollars short of the gift for Brooke. I went to the store and saw that they were selling drawing kits for almost the exact amount of money that I had. I picked up the kit and started to walk toward the cashier. Before I could pay, however, I heard a small cry. I looked around, and saw a young boy of about six standing with his mother. The boy was crying, not a whine or a scream, but genuine, sad cry that only comes from a truly broken heart. They were near the Christmas trees, and I couldn’t help but overhear. “Mommy, can’t we please get a tree, even just a little one?” he pleaded. “I’m sorry honey, but we just don’t have enough money for a tree right now.” She said sadly. “But didn’t daddy get a new job?” “He did, but he hasn’t yet earned enough for a tree or presents.” The mother said, near tears. “But mommy, without a tree, where are we going to put up grandma’s star?” There was more, but I had heard enough. I looked at the drawing kit, and then at the mother and son. I could see that their clothes were old and worn. I went to the cashier and asked how much the trees were. “Twenty-five dollars.” He said. I thought to myself: If I bought a tree for them, I would only have enough money for nail polish. When I thought about the least of these, however, I knew what I had to do.
Exiting the store with one dollar in hand, I went to the dollar store and purchased a Christmas nail polish (red and green together). When I got home, I put it in a small gift bag and laid it under the tree. During the candlelight service, the pastor asked if anybody wanted to share something. A young woman came up to the front, and when I saw her, I realized that it was the woman who I bought the tree for. She wiped away a tear and spoke. “Yesterday, I was with my son at the store. He wanted a tree, but we couldn’t afford one. When I went to purchase my things, the cashier said that someone brought us a tree. When I asked him who it was, he said that they wished to remain anonymous. It just caused me to think about the true meaning of Christmas: charity and the birth of Christ. To be honest I blamed God for my family’s misfortunes, and he still saw us through. For this reason, my family has decided to begin attending church again.

The rest of the service was beautiful. I was thanking God that I made the right decision and that he used me in such a glorious way. I no longer felt guilty and saddened by my small gift for Brooke. In fact, when she opened the gift, she gave me a big hug. I looked at my parents, and they had tears in their eyes. “What is it?” I asked. My mom replied, “We know what you did for Mr. Adams and Mrs. Clark.” I was puzzled. “How could you know that?” I asked. “It’s really quite simple.” Said my dad. “Mr. Adams is a good friend of ours. Also, Mrs. Clark is his daughter. When he heard about the tree, he suspected it was you.” “You know, said Brooke. “Mr. Adams has been trying to convince Mrs. Clark to attend church for years. She used to allow him to take her son, Aiden, but after Mr. Clark lost his job, she wouldn’t let him go.” I couldn’t believe it! My small act of charity brought a family together and back in the church. I was overwhelmed that God used me in such a wonderful way. After such a wonderful Christmas, I just have one thing to say: God bless everyone!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wisdom Teeth (con.)

All went well. I cannot feel my chin, lips, ears, or cheeks. They had to prick me three times for the IV because they couldn't find my vein. The IV ended up having to get put in my hand. The most painful part was when they had to tie a really tight rubber band onto my arm. I am currently in no pain, although I am a little sore. I got home and had a peanut butter cup smoothie; now I am watching movies on Netflix. I will not have to miss Spanish class or church, but I will have to miss soccer. I will hopefully recover quickly. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Wisdom Teeth

Tomorrow, I am getting my wisdom teeth removed. I am really nervous, but not about the surgery itself. Actually, I've been a little excited it because I've always wondered what it feels like to be asleep during a surgery and what it feels like when you wake up. I'm nervous about how painful it will be recovering. I will miss at least one soccer practice and game, if not, then more. I might miss my Spanish class on Friday, and I might not even be able to go to church. I have four wisdom teeth that will come out. Two of them are already coming in. Hopefully, my mom will videotape me waking up and, if it's funny, I will post it.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Hiding chapter 9: An Affection, an Escape, a Sacrifice

I have my diary back now, so I can finish writing the story the Miles told Brooke and I while I was in the hospital. If you remember Miles was kidnapped while Brooke and mom were at the library. After a car accident, Miles escaped, went home, and found his family gone. Miles was recaptured and taken to Turkey, where he met several other captured people, including a girl his age name Ella.
Over the next few days, Miles got to know everyone better. They would talk about their families, friends, things they like to do. “So Ella, is it nice in Wisconsin?” asked Miles one day. “Oh yes. In the winter, my family and I would all go sledding together. We would bring hot cocoa for when it got very cold.” Miles saw tears in Ella’s eyes and wanted to comfort her. He put his arm around her nervously and said, “I miss my family too.” Ella appreciated his sympathy. “God has helped me be strong, but sometimes I just feel like I will burst with sadness.” Miles told Ella about his dream the other night. Ella was comforted by the dream just as much as he was. Some of the other people moved as far away from them as possible. They didn’t want to hear all that talk about God.
As time went on (and on and on and on) Miles began to appreciate Ella’s company.  He began to find more and more ways that they were similar. It was very nice to have someone to talk to. She looked like she enjoyed hanging out with him as well, but one could never be sure about these things. Miles started feeling strange, It happened when he hung out with Ella. She was becoming more than good company. Miles loved her. He knew that it was silly, because it wasn’t very likely that she loved him back. He tried to deny it, thinking that it was just a passing crush. The longer they stayed in that room, the more he felt affection for Ella.
That night, Miles was thinking about Ella. He was dreaming of the day that Ella and Miles were free, and they could be together. He thought about Ella more and more. Miles then started thinking of what his parents taught him about courting, staying pure, and waiting for the right woman. Back then, Miles told his parents that he would never have a crush or fall in love with anybody until he was a grown up. Now, Miles realized that he wasn’t waiting. Even if Ella was the right one, they were both much too young. That didn’t stop him from loving Ella, but he did pray for a long time about God helping him to resist the temptation to be or even have thoughts about being unpure. After a while, Mile felt more confident and started to drift off to sleep. “Besides,” he thought. “There’s no point in pursuing someone who probably doesn’t love him back.”
Of course, Ella wasn’t the only one he talked to. Henry, a sixteen year old boy, was also one of his friends there. Eventually, Miles noticed that Henry began to look rather thin. This was strange, because their captors always gave them plenty of food. “Henry,” Miles asked him one day. “Why have you been eating less food? You’re getting thinner and thinner.” “Because,” Henry answered mysteriously, “The smaller the person, the easier the escape.”    
We couldn’t believe it. Henry was going to escape? Henry showed us a map of the building. “Where did you get this?” asked Miles. “I’ve got my connections.” He answered. Ella leaned over and whispered “He had kitchen duty last week. He must’ve drawn the map then.” “But you’ll be caught!” said Ella. “Not if I’m careful.” Said Henry, “But even if I do get caught, it will be worth it.” When Miles asked Henry when he would escape, he said it would be that night.  
Just as he said, that night, Henry stood up and went to the door. With all his might, he gave the door a kick. Surprisingly, the door gave way and Henry dashed toward the exit. Ella and Miles sat, waiting to see if he would make it. We didn’t dare make a brake for it, for fear we would be caught. Only an hour later, a man came in and put a door in the looked much stronger than the previous one. “That fellow was a fool, to try to escape. He just made it worse for you guys.” Miles got a bad feeling. “What did you do to him?” asked Ella. The looked as if he might slap her, and Miles got ready to defend. “They took care of him, as an example.” Miles gulped. He didn’t think that they would see Henry ever again.
After Henry’s attempted escape, everyone was chained up for the night. Miles was getting restless. He had to escape. Henry’s words came to him: “The smaller the person, the easier the escape.” Miles looked around and spotted the keys hanging on a hook on the other side of the room. Being chained to the bed. Miles thought about how to get over there. After a while, he got an idea. Slowly and quietly, Miles eased out of bed. He could just barely stand up. Miles reached to the headboard, and lifted up the bed. He tipped it over so that the bed was about ten inches from where it had been before. “And ten inches closer to the keys.” Thought Miles as he reached for the headboard again.
With the room having a width of about eighteen feet, he would have to flip the bed twenty-one times. It was truly a hard and grueling tasked, for Miles had to ease the bed slowly to the floor to keep from making a noise. After about three hours of flipping the bed. Miles could just barely reach the keys. He stretched his hand as far as could. Miles touch the keys with his fingertips, pushed the keys off the hook, and caught them just before they hit the ground. 
Miles first unlocked his chains, and then went over to Ella, who was awake, and freed her as well. “Come on, were getting out of here.” He said. Miles and Ella crept to the door. When Miles unlocked the door and opened it, however. An alarm sounded. Miles and Ella looked at each other and ran as fast as they could. They through the building (only knowing what was on Henry’s map) and were able to make it out of the building and searched for a place to hide, since their captors were behind them. “There!” Miles shouted, pointing to a helicopter. Ella and Miles run to the helicopter, which is getting ready to take off, and try to climb inside. Miles goes in, but then realizes that there is only enough room for one person: Miles or Ella.
            Miles begins to crawl out, but Ella stops him “Miles, you go. I’ll escape eventually now that you’ve showed me that there is a way.” She said. “No, you’ve been here a lot longer than I have.” Said Miles. “Look,” said Ella, “I just know that you are supposed to escape today, and not me. I’ll escape someday and find you. Then we can see each other again.” Ella started to close the door, but Miles stopped her. “Ella wait, I love you.” Ella smiled. “I love you too.” With that, Ella closed the door, and Miles was enveloped in blackness. Miles waited a few minutes, waited for something, anything, to happen. Suddenly, Miles heard voices. “Come on, we have to go get another one.” Said one. “Who is it?” “Someone who’s gotten away from us too many times. Her name is Vivian.” Some time later, the helicopter took off. As Miles shifted to a position where he was comfortable. He prayed for Ella, and that wherever he was being taken, it would bring him closer to his family.
Well, you know the rest. The helicopter landed in the woods behind my house, and Miles got out and walked until he came to the creek, where he saved me from drowning. God was watching over Miles the whole time he was away from the Tills, and undoubtedly, he’ll watch over Ella as well.  

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

She's Here!

The girl from Europe is finally here. She is staying with us until July 31. It has just been wonderful. She knows a lot of English and is so sweet. We will go bowling, biking, roller skating, to a baseball game, Bucsh Gardens, to the beach, water country, camping, and more. She said that coming to America has been a dream come true for her. Hopefully, we can teach her about God's love and give her an experience she will never forget. She's only been here a few days and she has already changed our lives and has made everything worth it.

Hiding chapter 8: A Story, a Kidnapping, a Dream

I am out of the hospital now. We are all going out to dinner to celebrate Miles’ homecoming and my recovery. Speaking of Miles, while I was still in the hospital, my mom and dad had to go fill out a bunch of forms since I was injured. Miles and Brooke stayed behind to keep me company. Little did I know that Miles would soon tell us a story that would give me a new, deeper outlook on God’s protection.
            Brooke and I were talking about various things like church, summer activities, and what school would be like in the fall. When Miles walked in, Brooke jumped up and gave him a big hug. “I’m so glad you’re home, Miles.” To be honest, I felt a little left out, since I never knew Miles. “Well, how are you feeling?” asked Miles. “Good.” I said. “A little restless though.” Well, I think I can fix that; you want to hear what happened to me when I was kidnapped?” he said. My eyes lit up with excitement, as did Brooke’s. “YEAH!” we both said together. “It all started with a knock on our door…”
            “Mommy, can you take me to the library?” asked eight-year-old Brooke. “There is a book there that I really want to read.” “But honey, your birthday is only a week away. What if you get it for a present?” reasoned mom. “Well, then I can read it over and over again. Besides, my friend Mary is going to be there.” Finally, mom agreed to take Brooke to the library. Mom told Miles that they would be back in about an hour, and then left. It was only twenty minutes later, when Miles was playing his favorite video game, that he heard a knock on the door. He went to his room and looked out the window. Seeing people he didn’t recognize, he decided not to open the door. “They must be selling something.” He thought. When he went back to play his video game, he saw the men outside the back door. Miles stood up and headed for the phone. He never got to dial 911, however, because the men ran in through the unlocked back door and kidnapped Miles.
            Miles woke up in the back of someone’s car. He felt groggy, and assumed that they had knocked him out. Seeing this in spy movies, Miles tried to punch out the taillight, but it just wouldn’t budge. He looked around for his cell phone and, not surprisingly, the men had taken it. Miles stared to pray. He prayed that God would help him find a way out. Suddenly, Miles heard the screeching of brakes and tires. A thud came, and he was banged against the trunk. Because of the force, the trunk flew open, and Miles nearly fell out. Slowly crawling out, Miles went to the front of the car and peered in. Both men were unconscious Miles looked around and saw the car that had hit them. Before he could even try to flag them down, the car took off. Miles was a little disappointed, but at least he was free for now. Miles decided to leave before his captors came to. He took off running towed home, no matter how far.
            After running for quite some time, Miles slowed to a walk. Eventually, he came to a rest stop. He went to the bathroom and asked for directions. Miles was delighted to find out that his neighborhood was only thirty miles away. Miles slept at a bench, and hitched a ride the next morning. Miles was let out on his street. He ran the last few yards, but when he got to his house, he stopped. In his front yard, he saw a for sale sign. Miles got a feeling of dread as he rushed to the door, which was unlocked. He opened it, only to find that the house was completely empty, not just of people, but of furniture as well. Miles recalled how quickly his family moved out of their house that time they were in the witness protection program. With a gasp, he realized that his family had probably moved again. Miles sank to his knees and sobbed. His family could be anywhere in the world.
            Wiping away his tears, Miles stood up and slowly walked out of the house. Miles knew what he had to do “I’ll contact the FBI and tell them my situation. They’ll pick me up and get me to my family. Nothing to worry about.” Miles went back to the car. “Um, could you take me back to where you picked me up, please?” Miles realized too late that it was not the same car. Miles looked at the driver and, just as he recognized him as the guy who was in the passenger seat of the car of the men who kidnapped him, everything went black.
            When Miles came to, it was very different from the first time. For one thing, instead of a trunk, he was in a small room, and that room was moving. Spotting a window, Miles peaked out. To his shock and horror, he was in the air over an ocean. Miles was in a plane! In a plane flying over the ocean!” Just then, a man came in, and he did not look happy. “Well, you’re a hard one to find Miles. We thought we had you until the car accident. By the way, I blame you for my brother’s death. If we hadn’t had to kidnap you, we would not have been driving that day. I’ll be able to avenge him when we land in Turkey.” Miles could hardly believe. They were going to Turkey? Before he could respond, Miles suddenly felt very tired, and he fell asleep.
            “Hey, kid, wake up.” Miles awoke to the sound of a voice. The voice didn’t sound angry, so Miles opened his eyes. He was staring into the face of a man. Miles sat up and looked around. There were several other people in the room: Adults, teens, kids, and even a baby. “What’s going on?”  Miles asked. “Well, we were all kidnapped and brought here. Probably for ransom or something.” Some of the people introduced themselves. One of the girls, who was about his age, looked very pretty. “My name is Ella.” She said quietly. “I was brought here two years ago from Wisconsin.”  The room they were in was dimly lit. There were some books, a row of beds, a table, and a television. “They gave us TV?” I asked. “Not really, they send us messages through that. Tell us what to do and such.” Said Ella. Miles read books for a while, but then got bored. “I’ve read all of them.” Said Ella. “My favorite book isn’t here, though, it’s Treasure Island.” Miles’ smiled a little. “That’s my favorite book too. I didn’t know girls liked that type of thing.” “You treasure and pirates? Well, I’m not really like other girls.” Said Ella with a little laugh. “Yeah, I guess not.” Mile said shyly. It was good to be around other people. If he were all alone in a place like this, Miles knew that he would go crazy. That night, as Miles lay in a bed, which was very uncomfortable, Miles thought about his family. It made him sad to think of them so far away. “Did they think I was dead?” thought Miles. He didn’t even know if he would ever see them again. After all, he was kidnapped, and stuck in a room somewhere in Turkey. He wanted to see his family again, but it didn’t look as if he ever would. I looked as if he would remain without them forever.
            In a dream, Miles was in heaven. He was looking around, and he saw his family. As Miles ran to them, he realized that even if he never saw his family again on Earth, someday, in heaven they would be reunited and spend eternity together. When Miles woke up, he guessed that God had sent him that dream to comfort him. Miles smiled slightly, thanked God for his comfort, and fell asleep.

            Well, I want to finish the story of Miles’ adventure, but I wrote in this diary instead of doing my chores, so mom told me I could have it back next week. I’m a little disappointed that I haven’t finished the story yet, but I will as soon as I can.

I will post part two in one week. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Camping I Will Go!

Today, I am leaving for Ranch hand camp for a week. I don't know a single person, but I'm confident that God will help me make friends. The only other time I've been to camp is when my mom was a counselor. It is a big step, no, leap, in my maturity. I will write a blog post after camp to let y'all know how it went. Hopefully, I'll survive. :) Please pray that everything goes well.