Wednesday, November 23, 2011

April Fool's

Warning: For some of you, this post is Completely Random. It's perfectly fine if you'd rather not read it--though if you do chose to, it may amuse you. ;)

And no, I haven't lost my mind... I do know it's Thanksgiving tomorrow and not April Fool's day... See, on April first of this year, a bunch of my friends and people from two of the forums I help moderate (The Rebelution and Holy Worlds) absolutely flooded me with emails. Somewhere around 220, to be exact. And I have finally, finally finished answering them!! And in honor of that accomplishment, I've decided to post a sampling of the kind of emails I got with some of my replies. 

They actually did two waves, the first one including tons of smiley emoticons... here's one of the more interesting of those emails.

there are many kinds of smiles:
:P :D  :T  :V  :Z  :S :O :B :J :)

straight, crooked, curvy, sly, ones with tongues sticking out, ones that show 2 front teeth, and of course, normal matter which type you have...
SMILE TODAY!!!!!!! :)

Then, completely to my surprise, came the second wave. With the questions. And the letters: serious, sweet, silly. And the goofy stories. And the editing requests. And more questions.... Here are a few of my favorites.

Hey, Duchess Daisy, I have a question. What do you believe about total predestination?

Do you really want to know? Okay, I'll tell you. I believe that God is God, and whatever He believes, that's what I believe. From my earthly perspective, I don't think He believes in it. However, I am quite fallible, and hencely I don't argue about it. :D 

Hi, Carissa.  I was wondering what you thought.  Do you think that gender is something that affects the soul?

This is a very interesting question!! I think it was my favorite one to ponder... I really have no idea. One thing I did fine interesting was that in Psalm 34:2 it says "My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad." David refers to his soul with a feminine pronoun. o.0 I don't know if that means anything, but I thought it interesting. It is fun to imagine different kinds of souls, though... kind of like the dryads in Chronicles of Narnia. :D What do you think?

Oops! I was going to ask, what do you believe about dating and courtship, as well! 
I believe... that each time God brings two people together, it is vastly different... and thus, no two courtships will be the same. I also believe that guys and girls should not mess around with each other's hearts (or bodies. :P) just for fun... if they are getting really close and spending tons of time together, it should be with the intention of marriage. And I believe that wisdom should be sought from parents, especially Christian parents, and other wise people in your life. (And tons more things, but that's all I'm putting here. :P)

Do you enjoying homeschooling?  And why?  What curriculum do you use?

I do enjoy homeschooling immensely! :D There are lots of reasons... probably my top ones would be:

1. I have been able to learn about things I'm interested in personally, instead of just whatever the school system decided for me.
2. I've been able to spend much more time with my family and learn practical skills here at home
3. I haven't had all the negative peer pressure
4. I have been able to be brought up with a solid Biblical worldview; which, while not impossible in public school, is definitely easier at home.

Those are the main things that come to mind right away... :)

We don't really use one particular curriculum... it's just a mix of everything. :D We do use Math-u-see, though, for math. And... various other things... it changes pretty often, too. :) We love to read, so that is a big part of our education. :)

Do you homeschool? And if you do, do you like it and why? 

Do you know of a good April fools day joke?

Well... it's kind of late, now, haha. But... I made an April fool's breakfast for my siblings... I put the oatmeal in their mugs and their tea in the bowls, among other fun things. :D My sister Cheryl also did one where you have a spool of thread hidden under your clothes (in a pocket or something) and you thread it up so it's coming out of the neck of your shirt... then when someone tries to take it off your shirt, it just keeps coming and coming. hehe. :)  

"If you were stranded on a desert island, what one item you would most want to have with you?"
I do expect a reply. 

Didn't you already ask me this once??? One item. That's so mean. I want a pen and a notebook.

Ummmmm.... item. I don't suppose I am supposed to be practical, am I. Cause that would be boring and stuff. So... let's see. 

A...a... shovel! So I could make sand castles and holes and stuff!

Ooooor... a Bible. Cause it would keep me busy for like... the whole time. You can keep on reading it over and over and always learn stuff. Plus also it would help keep me sane and stuff. And I like learning about God.

Hmmm.... perhaps... oh! A boat!!! Yeah! Then I could get off the island! hehehe.

Maybe... peanut butter! It's yummy...

Oh, oh! I know! I'd bring... our harp! Then I could play pretty music! And then maybe someone would hear it and like it and take me off the island! Plus if they didn't I would still have fun...

Okay, is that enough? Are you satisfied?? You better be. huff.  

And letters... 

hey girl...
whats up? hope youre having like a really cool day lol...its like so gray and rainy here its like totally depressing...dude you should like come over...oh yeah i forgot that would sorta take like a long time for you to get whats up, huh?...are you real busy? i'm just totally overwhelmed with like tons of stuff i mean its not even funny lol...yeah so just you know text me sometime so we can hang out and stuff OK?  yeah well i need to go and ill see you around sometime....

lol, gurl, u r so funny. like totally, man. i had an awesom day it was like so cool, man. im sorry it was depresing and stuff over there tho.. thats sad. yeah itwould take 2 long i thnk.. mabye someday we can come again k i will text u sometime. oh but i forgot u dont have a cell yet. thats like, lame, man... hurry up and get 1 k i will ttyl

Hey Carissa!

I just wanted to let you know that I was looking at your blog today, and though that it looked really really cool! :D Your post about the Casting Crowns song was awesome! Our God is so absolutely amazing!

How long have you been running your blog? What do you enjoy most about it?

Congratulations on your new sibling coming!! :D That's so exciting! When is your mom due?

May 'the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace'! (Numbers 6) I hope you have a wonderful day! :D

your sister in Christ 


I'm sorry I haven't gotten back to you sooner... I'm just finally getting around to answering the last of the prank emails. :)

I'm glad you liked my blog! :D He is indeed... very muchly so. :)

That particular blog... I think it's been about two years now. I like being able to have my writing read by others and getting comments... :D I also like picking backgrounds and so forth.

My little sister Esther was born on June 15th! :D :D :D My mom was due June 20th, to answer your question. Esther is super cute... (pictures here) and we love her dearly. It's hard to comprehend that not too long ago she was not here!

Thank you for that blessing. :)

Love in Christ,

Dearest Carissa,
    How are you today?  I am doing great.  I'm singing in a homeschool music festival which is great fun!!  It started yesterday afternoon and it is all day today and tomorrow morning.  Then tomorrow afternoon we will have a concert for our family and friends to come to.  So yeah, when you read this email I will be either eating lunch or singing my heart out.  Well, hopefully not all the way out. 
Stay safe dear, it's a dangerous world out there.  And do be careful when going through doorways.  I mean a thousand things could happen.  You could get dizzy and fall and smack your head on the door way.  Or if you were too tall you would bang your head on the top of the doorframe.  Or someone could slam the door on your fingers as you walk through...I could go on all day, but I'll spare you the gruesome details.  Just...stay safe!!
Love you lots,

Dearest Sally,

Yes, I know. I'm answering this. Don't ask me why. Ahem.

I am doing splendidly! Church was awesome. :D God is amazing...

Oh goodness!! I never thought of that!!!! What if you accidentally singed your heart ALL THE WAY OUT??? That would be simply dreadful! And then you'd DIE!!!!!!! Ahem. I'm glad you haven't singed your heart out yet... try not to, okay? Thank you.

I'll try. Maybe I shouldn't sing anymore... It sounds really dangerous, the way you put it...

Ack!!!! Ada, don't scare me like that! My heart might beat too fast, and then it might QUIT, and then I'd DIE!!

Love you more,

And the stories...

Dearest Mademe Gwinevere,
My, it has been soooo long since I've writen to you, hasn't it?  I feel like I'm writing to a stranger!  Its been terrible rainy here lately.  Well, I wanted to send you a first person account of something that happened to (guess)............Thats right....ME! :)
It all began the other day when I was (drum roll please)....playing with Hosea. (What's new, eh?)  We were kicking the soccer ball around when down the road comes a buggy.  Now, normally I wouldn't pay any attention to a buggy going down the road.  ( It has something to do with nerotransmitters blocking signals from your brain in order to keep you from being constantly distracted with unnecessary details, or something like that.  See, I DO pay attention in science!:P)  Anyways, back to my story.  What was so odd about this particular buggy was that the horse was......cantering.  Thats right, down Spring Grove Road cantered a beautiful brown horse, pulling behind it a black buggy, much to the surprise and puzzlement of Althea R. Wimer.  "Well," I thinks to myself, "What kind of person would let their horse run down this road like crazy, straight into an intersection no less?  No one!!  That horse must have escaped, and is now cantering freely down the road, with no one in the buggy!!"  So I do what most people do when they don't think very well, I panicked.  Leaving Hosea to stand wondering in the yard, I rush into the road, and start waving my arms in a big T, right in the path on the oncoming horse.  (Please, Please, Please, don't tell anyone else about this, okay?  We always been such good friends, right?  You wouldn't want to ruin my reputation, would you?)  Well, fortuanately the horse stopped, without crushing me in the process.  But unfortuanately, there actually was someone in the buggy.  This tall older Mennonite man steps out and in a thick Dutch accent asks me what in the world I was doing. (He didn't say it quite like that:D)  More unfortuanately, Mama had been watching my thoughtless escapade and came out to see what I had been thinking.  The answer?  I wasn't thinking.  Well, totally embarassed, I returned to the house, recieved a long long lecture from Mama, and was sent to my room to consider my actions. 
Well, thats the story.  Very humiliating.  You won't tell anyone, right?  Our secret, huh? 
Lady Cordillia 

(And yes, that story was made up. And yes, I... fell for it for a bit. Don't ask me how... :P)    

P.S. Yes, many of the emails were in green... my favorite color.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Prayer: a Journey

I think it started back when I was eighteen, this journey He's taken me on.

I began reading "The Necessity of Prayer" by E.M. Bounds in January 2009... I caught glimpses of the power, the importance and the beauty of prayer. In spite of seeing those things, however, prayer had still not become a crucial part of my life. I would easily skip praying for days on end... of course, when I realized it had been a while, I felt bad and tried to get back to it again. Still, however, it was more of a nice idea than a reality in my life.

Not long afterwards, Pastor Mark preached on prayer and challenged us to spend a minimum of ten minutes in prayer daily. I decided to take up the challenge: didn't always make it to a full ten minutes every day, but I tried. And through this practice, I became more and more consistent.

In May of 2010, God started impressing on me strongly the need to pray for one person in particular--so I started doing that.

God was drawing me steadily nearer to Him... through many sermons, books, and so forth. The days when I did not pray became fewer and fewer and farther in between.

In January of 2011, I read the book Forgotten God, along with several other fantastic books: God Smuggler (Brother Andrew), Brucko, The Hiding Place, and more. I also refrained from internet use (for the most part) for the entire month--which meant more time to pray and think. Something happened that month. I am not sure how to describe it, or what it was. But something is different.

In June I read the book "Wrestling Prayer"... wow. I highly recommend it. In that book, it mentioned a book called "Intercessor". I was just going to read the other two books it mentioned, since I had those. However, a friend of mine mentioned Intercessor and said I must get it. Since I had the money in the bank, I ordered it that day-- and got it two days later which was... crazy.

I finished Intercessor in July and was moved by it in many ways. I "happened" to be reading it during a time when a group of people especially need powerful prayer... which worked out really well.

I have since read "Prevailing Prayer", "The Power of a Praying Woman" and very recently "Why Revival Tarries"... each one broadening my understanding of prayer and of God and increasing my delight and awe in it... and Him.

I am very excited to see where He takes me from here!

I used to hear people saying that prayer was like a conversation. I wondered if it were really true. I never experienced it like that... But now--I have.

I used to read about people praying for hours and wondered how on earth they could keep praying for THAT LONG. Now... I understand. I still don't do it, at least not regularly... but I'm beginning to see how that works.

Now... I don't know what it is to go a day without prayer. I don't think I could do it if I tried--God has made it so much a part of who I am that I do it without even realizing at times. Sometimes I will be in the middle of something--anything-- and I suddenly know I need to drop everything and go pray.

I've experienced His presence in awesome ways... seen Him do so many incredible things, big and little, through my (and others, I'm sure) prayers... grown to know and love Him like never before.

Why do I tell you all of this? To brag on how wonderful my prayer life is? No... not at all. There is so much to be desired in my prayers. There are still many days when my prayers are brief and lack passion. There are still days when it feels like a chore. There are still so many more "levels" of prayer that I have not yet attained.

Rather, I want to encourage you on in your own prayer life: just DO it. Make yourself take that time every single day to spend 5-15 minutes in concentrated prayer. After awhile, it is no longer a chore: it becomes a joy and a privilege.

There is simply nothing like knowing that your prayers affected eternity... that God used you and your words to bring about something amazing. It never ceases to amaze me how much God cares about the little things: and then, on the other end, how He effortlessly makes impossible things happen. It's so, so important to always remember that no prayer is too small: and no prayer is too big. (provided, of course, that you are praying according to God's will and character.) God is all powerful: thus, to God, there is no real difference between what we as humans view as "hard" and "easy". Don't belittle God by not asking for big, "hard" things!!

The fact that we can talk to God is... mind blowing. It's one of those things, I think, that is so beyond our comprehension that we barely even realize how very awesome it really is... And then... not only are we allowed into His presence in this way... but He listens to US! To us! Remember who we are? We are indescribably small and horridly wicked... and yet... He not only allows us to come before Him: He longs for us to do so!!!

Oh, there is so much to say on this topic... all I can really hope to do is get you excited enough to learn about and experience prayer for yourself.

In closing... a few quotes from some of the books I mentioned.

"O brother, pray; in spite of Satan, pray; spend hours in prayer; rather neglect friends than not pray; rather fast, and lose breakfast, dinner, tea, and supper--and sleep too--than not pray. And we must not talk about prayer, we must pray in right earnest. The Lord is near. He comes softly while the virgins slumber."-- Andrew Bonar

"...remember, God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we could ask or think. When we pray things that are on our King's heart, no matter how outlandishly audacious your prayers might seem to your own ears, they are nothing in light of God's willingness and ability to answer them." --Eric and Leslie Ludy, in Wrestling Prayer

"The potency of prayer hath subdued the strength of fire; it hath bridled the rage of lions, hushed the anarchy to rest, extinguished wars, appeased the elements, expelled demons, burst the chains of death, expanded the gates of heaven, assuaged diseases, repelled frauds, rescued cities from destruction, stayed the sun in its course, and arrested the progress of the thunderbolt. Prayer is an all-sufficient panoply, a treasure undiminished, a mine which is never exhausted, a sky unobscured by clouds, a heaven unruffled by the storm. It is the root, the fountain, the mother, of a thousand blessings." --Chrysostom

“Let our prayers, then, be for Christ’s sake. If we want our sons and daughters converted, let us pray that it be so for Christ’s sake. If that is the motive, our prayers will be answered. If God gave up Christ for the world, what will He not give up for us? If He gave up Christ to the murderes and blasphemers, and the rebels of the world lying in wickedness and sin, what would He not give to those who go to Him for Christ’s sake? Let our prayer be that God my advance His work, not for our glory--not for our sake--but for the sake of His beloved Son whom He hath sent.

So let us remember that when we pray we ought to expect an answer. Let us be looking for it.” --D.L. Moody, Prevailing Prayer

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Full to Overflowing

Over and over, I keep thinking… there really is no other choice but to be fully devoted to Christ; completely surrendered to His will. It’s the only thing that will make sense on judgement day. It's the only thing that truly works here. (Notice I didn't say it makes sense here... ;)

There’s… so much more to this whole life thing than merely being a “good Christian” who goes to church, doesn’t do anything too awful, has a nice house and two cars, gives money to the church sometimes… the world is sick (and dying as a result of) of such shallow Christianity-- as I saw it written recently, “materialism with a few Bible verses tacked on”.

I recently had the privilege to be able to talk to a few people about Church… and God. One girl said she wasn’t into the religion stuff--she had Catholicism forced down her throat when she was little. I tried to point her to The Real Thing: to God Himself. “Religion”, at least the way she meant it, is man made. (Trust humans to make God and His Story boring!!) I shared my excitement over realizing that the God who made all of these marvelous things loved me and died for me… This is exciting, folks!! People should see it in our faces, hear it in our voices.

Oh, that God would fill us to such an extent that we could not contain our joy in Him! Would that His hope and love spilled out of us! That people could see His joy, His peace, His love in us! That they would look on us... and see a little Him.

I talked to another lady who had neighbors who attended church every Sunday: and were mean every other day of the week. She said they thought they could do whatever they wanted and then be forgiven at church.

She followed that up with “that’s not my kind of God.” Of course I cringed inwardly–it isn’t up to us what kind of God there is. But on the other hand: those people were representing God. Granted, they were doing a terrible job. But, regardless, they were representing. They had branded themselves as--at the very least--“Religious”… and so people looked at them and took their actions to represent their god.

People do the same with us. They know, especially when you make distinctly unworldly lifestyle choices, that you are (or at least claim to be) Christians. Followers of Christ. What they see in me… is what they will think of Christ. Yikes. * is very glad His power is working in me *

Oh, people! This is SO important. Souls are eternal--they are more valuable than anything else in this world. And we might be missing God-given opportunities to share the good news with them.

We do not know God. Not really. If we knew Him… how could we go on calmly playing and working for vain things– not making any effort at all to influence lives for Christ? How could we go on skimming glibly through His Word, as though it had no significant meaning? How could we go on praying fake, passionless, small prayers? How could we go on caring about which color flip-flops we have or don’t have? How could we go on allowing sin in our lives?

We don’t have time for this! Eternity is too long for this! We must seek Him. We must get to know Him. And how? By reading His word, by praying, by observing His creation… And then we must share this glorious relationship, this most wonderful of news… WE can know GOD!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

An Idea

Towards the end of last year, I read a book called "Humility:True Greatness". (And yes, I recommend it.)

In that book, it suggested five things to think about upon rising. Well, knowing me, I knew I'd never remember all of them at the same time, much less remember to think of them every morning-- much less actually do it. So! I came up with a plan. I found an image and either a Bible or hymn verse that went along with each thing, and then printed them out and put them on the wall near my bed. I thought some of you might like to try it as well... so I'm posting the pictures along with the things to think about. Let me know if you try it!

Here is the first one: on this one, you remind yourself of what Christ did on the cross. And... the fact that it was YOUR sin that held Him there. You contrast His goodness and sacrifice with yourself and just... bask in the wonder of who He is and what He did for you.
On the second one, you remind yourself how much you need Him for everything. Every single breath.You remind yourself that there is NOTHING you can do without Him. (If that doesn't humble you, I don't know what will...) (And yes, the girl is a bit odd looking... one of my sisters likes to tell me that.)

The third one you thank Him for as many things as you can think of, remembering Who all these blessings are from.

For the fourth one, you remember that you need to pray and read your Bible to learn more about Him... I also usually pray for a few "key" people-- the ones that He's especially laid on my heart. :)

And the fifth one... you remember to cast your cares on Him--to avoid thinking you are strong enough to carry them on your own. Acknowledge that you can't... that you need Him to carry them for you.

I hope this is helpful to you... feel free to print out and use my papers if you want, or make your own! I have found it very helpful for starting my day out thinking about God... and it really helps get things (and yourself :P) in perspective.