Thursday, July 29, 2010

Prayer and Goodbyes

Lately, God has been teaching me several things. (as you may have noticed.)

One thing that He has really been impressing on me is the need for and the power of prayer.

This morning I woke up early (before 5:30, I think I get to call that early...) and my first thought was, go pray. So, I did, for the next hour. Which was kind of odd, because I used to think that an hour was a long time to pray and that it would be hard to stay focused for such a long time

But, recently, several things have changed that. Firstly, there are some very desperate needs that I am praying for right now. Secondly, I have been getting to know God better, so naturally, talking to Him is easier. (hurrah!) And thirdly, I have been seeing, over and over and over, the amazing ways God works through prayer.

Seriously, I am completely amazed at what He is doing right now, both in my life and the lives of friends.

A few examples:

One: we recently had our dryer break. As some of you know, we are preparing for a trip. As all of you know, it is really unfortunate to have a broken dryer right when you are trying to prepare for a trip, and that it is potentially really frustrating. My Personal Philosophy about getting frustrated in such cases is, "What's the use?" haha. And here's why: First, it's already broken. My getting frustrated is not going to help anything. In fact, it will damage things, like my character and also possibly relationships with my family. So, anyway, I just basically thought, well, I guess God has a plan in this, and we'll see how He works it out. (That is actually a pretty cool place to be, because God always does work it out, and it is always amazing. :D) We also prayed that God would provide a dryer.

So, last Monday, since the dryer was broken and we did have laundry to do (lots!) I spent nearly the entire day washing clothes and hanging them up on the line. (and also on the chairs and bushes and wherever else I could find to hang them... :D) I got lots and lots done, but there was still more, so Hannah and I went to the laundry mat. While we were waiting for the clothes to wash, we went over to the consignment store next door (hey that rhymed!) to look around. As we were leaving, Hannah happened to mention that our dryer broke--and it turned out she knew someone who needed to get rid of a dryer and only wanted $25 for it!!! So, we now have a dryer that works! Plus, just as a little bonus, they also gave us a phone-for free! (Our phone was also dead.)

So, that was pretty exciting. :)

Two: I've been praying for several people, and it's been so neat to watch God moving in their lives. I won't go into detail, but it's just so incredibly amazing to see someone's life changing because of your prayers!!

Three: For years, we prayed for a neighbor of ours to become a Christian, and, excitingly, she did, around a year ago! The really neat thing is that lately she has grown so much that her family noticed a difference in her and wanted to know why she was different. Because of that she's had opportunities to witness to them. It's just so awesome to see how God changes people!

Four: He has been teaching me many things, and drawing me to Himself. He is truly becoming my all in all.

Five: He has worked out details for our trip, like being able to see people we thought we would be unable to see, and many other little things.

There are so many other ways He is working... I am so thrilled that He allows us to be part of it!!

So, my encouragement to you is to start praying, hard, for the people in your life. And all the other things going on around you. God listens: He answers. We serve an awesome God!!

Oh yes, and as I have hinted, we are going on a trip. We will be gone for three weeks, from Saturday (early) morning to August 21st or so. We will be visiting family and friends up in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. So, I will probably not be around much for blogging. :) We shall see, I suppose...

Remember: PRAY! And keep doing stuff. ;)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Well At Least I Don't...

...drink, smoke, party, have a boyfriend/girlfriend, swear, or any of that other stuff!

Great. Good for you. We're so happy for you.


What about the other stuff you don't do?

Like doing devotions every single day... or like showing your siblings love often... or like thanking your parents for all they do... or giving of your time when you'd rather be sleeping/reading/emailing/whatever else you like to do... or putting other's interests ahead of your own... or all the other good things you know you ought to be doing...

What about that stuff? Yes, yes, we're glad you don't do the "really bad" stuff. But... aren't we forgetting something? What about the stuff we are supposed to do?

We can't just sit around all the time with our grand list of "I don't do this or that or this other thing..."

We need to DO SOMETHING!!

Go. Right now. (Okay fine, you can finish this post. But as soon as you're done. *mom-type I-mean-it look*) Go do something that you've been needing to do. Go talk to God. Go give your little sister a hug. Go ask for forgiveness from your brother (or whoever it is...). Write a thank you note. Clean your room. Do SOMETHING.

Oh, and by the way, those "little" "mistakes" that we "good kids" make are just as bad (or worse!! Since we know we ought not do them) as those "big" ones. Of course, the big ones may bring heavier consequences more quickly (i.e. Smoking will get you lung cancer and so on) but the little ones are just as deadly to our character: they may start out little, but, unless you take the necessary action, they will grow.

I think about this often when I am weeding in my garden... I generally go out there a few times a week (nearly daily) and take out these little tiny weeds. They are very easy to pull out, since they are so small and the roots are so shallow. Every time (or nearly every...) I think about my life. I think, wow, if I was this vigilant with my thoughts and habits, getting rid of any bad ones promptly, I would be doing so much better!

It's so much easier to pull out little tiny weeds... once you let them get taller, the roots get deeper and stronger, and it's much harder to get rid of them. If you only pull off the top part of the plant, and neglect to dig out the roots, the weed will come back... with a vengeance. If you wait for months and years to take care of them, they will completely overtake your garden-- and kill your flowers.

What an amazing picture of our lives gardens are!! I'm sure you were able to see the similarities between the weeds and sin... it's really quite obvious, so I won't spell it out. :)

Oh, and just in case you forgot: Go do your something. RIGHT NOW! hehe, and you thought you could get away with just reading this... :D (I'm going to go help with clean up now...)

Why are you still here? *raises eyebrows* Go!

And then, (since you didn't listen yet) come back and comment and let us know what you did! :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Thing is...

... when you blog or interact in other ways online, you can appear much different than you actually are. You can appear one way, but live another. You can say nice things, but your life... may not match them.

Same with people you only barely know... you could appear very nice and wonderful and impressive to them in the brief time you saw them...

Even people you see often, like at church, may think you are really sweet and nice.

It's easy to be a sweet, patient, thoughtful person online... all you have to do is know how to write like that... ;)

But just because you come across well in these various places doesn't necessarily mean that you are like that at home.

At home... that's where we "let our hair down". That is where the dreaded "other side" of us comes out.

Now of course I am not like that. I am actually really as perfect as I sound on here...


I have many, many shortcomings and sinful habits... I get angry with my siblings, I don't obey my parents like I should, I am prideful, I seek my own glory, I entertain wrong thoughts, I waste time, I am sometimes deceitful... and the list goes on and on. If you want to know what I am really like, apply to my parents or siblings. :)

*smiles at my sister Cheryl who is watching me write this* (hehe, she just said, are you sure you want them to apply to your parents and siblings? :D)

This blog is about what I am learning. I can write all day about nice sounding stuff... but it's what I do that really counts. I am very, very thankful for God's work in my life thus far, but, please remember, I have a long way to go. :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

I have been thinking...

[exciting, I know] about stories. I have been thinking about the preponderance of sobering, warning stories... the kind that people write about in books to show you the importance of not doing certain things. I have also been thinking about how few victorious, wondrous stories there are... and also thinking of my life, and the stories I am "writing".

I don't know about you, but if people ever write about my life, I would much rather be used as an example of how wonderful life can be when you follow God's principles, and not one of those stories that scare you so bad you start promising to not ever do that.

I have been thinking about what stories I will tell my children... will they be ones I am ashamed of? Or will they be stories that they can laugh over and rejoice in having a godly example to follow?

What about future generations? What will they say of me, and my life?

Oh, that I would live in such a way as to leave a godly legacy! God, give me your strength, wisdom and love!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Count Your Many Blessings...

Last year, I was reading Mrs. Lauser's blog, and saw she had started something called a "One Thousand Gifts List." I thought that was a neat idea, so I decided to start one this year. I just reached 1,000 things a few days ago, on July 6th. :)

It has been really good for me, especially when I first started, because I was working for a mom who wasn't... the happiest person ever, and also it was pretty hard work. And, on top of that, Hannah was gone. :P But doing the gifts list kind of forced me to see good things, and that really helped. :) Though I got kind of desperate some days, and that is when I got thankful for water. :D

I considered blogging my list, but decided against it, so if you want to read the whole thing, you'll have to come visit us. ;)

However, I will give you a few (ha!) samples just for fun. :)

3. Nice new colored pens
10. New thoughts from Genesis 1-3
12. The Christmas tree fit into the box the first time
20. Beautiful colors in the sky -- deep blue lightening into nearly green and transitioning into a pinkish orange
21 Parents who like each other
23. Slipper socks
31. Walking around the block with my siblings in the dark in the cold while singing songs
33. Papa did the dishes while we were at church (some of us were sick)
40. Twirly skirts
46. Friends from the Rebelution
51. God's providence in the little things
59. Dirty dishes --means we have food!
89. Raspberries
90. Laughter in tough times
91. Sunshine and shadow
96. Peanut butter!
97. Adopted siblings
101. Laughing tiredly over ridiculous things with my sisters
113. The joy of using taco meat I made ahead of time :)
122. The fact that we serve a God Who is indescribable and not able to be fully comprehended!
123. Climbing our tree in this weather!
130. Rachel sitting on my lap
131 Hearing about Ellen's scarf and seeing Elisa's practice piece. (knit)
141. Baby Samuel's platelets are at 100,000!!!:D
144. Laughing with the ladies from knitting square
146. Carob chips
149. Nice comments on my blog
155. Thunder and lightening
201. Mrs. Lauser posted pictures :)
202. The way God prepares us for things
221. Baby smiles
222. The cute noises babies make when they're eating
224. Another email from Andrea
228. Mrs. Powell said to someone on the phone "Carissa's awesome, she's so on top of everything"
234. Coming home: "be it ever so humble, there's no place like home"
241. A restful morning listening to the Bright Lights CD, reading my Bible and holding a sleeping Corbin (baby)
257. Rolling down a "hill" with Hannah at Cracker Barrel
259. We got to see Hannah, Victoria, Michaela, Auntie Kim and Cianna
272. Getting added as an Editor on Jay's blog
285. Corbin smiling when I moved my eyebrows up and down
286. Learning that Mrs. Powell hadn't expected me to be much use, but now wonders what she would have done without me. :)
290. Friends who pray for you
337. 1 1/2 hour long phone call with Allison
347. Fun Knitting times at night while we read Understanding the Times (everyone knits now but papa and the boys!)
352. Matthew being funny with reading lessons
356. It got cold again!
367. Talking to Zach and Jeremiah during soccer about science and the clouds and the moon and so on
368. Papa preached again!
381. Pain, so I appreciate not having it. :)
399. Christian Philosophy- makes more sense!
400. A clean counter and empty sink
442. Discussing creation vs. evolution with Josiah
449. WE GOT THE ATTIC [reb] CLEAN!!! :D
454. Ideas
459. Singing "Joy to the World" while holding hands and jiggling them (before supper) [one of the boys suggested singing, and so we sang the first song that we thought of. haha. :D]
463. Moving chairs again :) (church)
479. Grandpa's story about throwing shoes at the light to shut it off (hehe, when he was in the coast guard, if they forgot to shut the light off, instead of getting up, they'd just try to break it with a shoe. :P)
487. Going out with Papa to panera bread
514. Fun talking to all the people at the booths at Pioneer days
529. Rain
554. Finding out that I am, in fact, an ENTJ :)
562. Getting to play Nerf again
574. Jay's story about the baby
581. Nice Philosophical discussion with Mrs. Ursu about random things
582. Respect project in Living room!
587. My painting dress
593. Us all "admitting" that we kind of like how the kitchen looks with no cupboards
595. Essence mapping
600. Poking/hitting war with Josiah and laughing hysterically
615. unexpected call from Beka
627. Jay organizing the B-day cards for me. :D
646. Andrea's recording of her singing happy birthday :)
649. Allison's status "HAPPY 20th BIRTHDAY CARISSA!!!! :D :D :D :D :D :D" [yes, she did have that many smiles. :D]
661. Hannah joined the reb!!
676. Flowers from Josiah (little ones from near the side walk)
681. Joking about "you have a servant's heart" while stacking chairs at church
688. Fun drawing the Elf world
698. Nice long walk down the beach with Cheryl
702. Fun chats with Rebeka
708. Really cool clouds
724. The joy of the Lord!
731. Chess with Josiah--I made him think on one move! :D
733. Sisters doing devotions on their own
738. Fun going in Publix-- all nine of us weighing ourselves, running, etc. :D)
739. Talking with young people at church
740. Light Saber fights with William and Matthew
746. Matt and Brandon liked the cell sock I knit for mama (they called it "sick" and "uber cool" haha)
762. Climbing the oak tree in the dark with Josiah
768. Fun on the stairs and escalators at the convention
781. My garden looking colorful

Wow... I put more than I thought I would. I'll have to add in more later, too. :)

Anyway, I am not stopping at 1,000 (already I'm at 1045) (it's addicting) and I am thinking about blogging my next thousand.

So... What do you think? Yes? No? This blog? Start another one?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Praying Like William Does

When William (my seven year old little brother) prays before a meal, he doesn't just quick ask God to bless the food: he informs God about what he has been doing and what he hopes to do, plus a few more things for good measure. (Like, thank you for the food. Since that was kind of the whole point...)

Now, to some of you, this may seem cute. You obviously don't have lots of younger siblings. :P Just kidding! Though, at times we can get impatient with him and then we start saying, "In Jesus' name..." hoping he'll take the hint. :)


While pondering this, I thought, actually, that's probably a good way to pray. Often, when I pray, usually I end up praying for this person and that person and this request and that one, instead of sharing my heart with God.

I decided that it would probably be a good idea to start praying like William does more often. So, yesterday, I did. It was very interesting. I have prayed kind of like that before, but I was still kind of surprised how it went. Why, exactly, I don't know, since it's perfectly logical...

As I wrote each thing down, (lately I've been writing down my prayers) I would get a sense of either what I was doing wrong that was causing the problem or, what I more I ought to do on a project. It was really neat. :)

I would encourage each of you to make sure you spend time telling God what you're doing and what problems you've been facing. :) (Haha, I feel like I'm telling you something overly simple... but I think it's one of those things that we all know but don't apply like we should, so I'm saying it anyway. :))

Lately I've been really excited about prayer in general... it's just so neat to watch God working through your prayers! God is very amazing! :D