Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Back on Track

I have been rereading the Elsie Dinsmore books recently. That child's faith and strong devotion to the Lord is inspiring. It's encouraging and it motivates me to be more serious about my own walk with the Lord.

I tend to be very passive. Whatever happens okay, cool. Read my Bible? Eh. I'll do that later. Actively seek the Lord? Are you kidding? That takes real effort!

Anyway, Elsie Dinsmore has once again revealed to me where I am lacking and I am once more trying to seek the Lord and to make Him the center of my life and to put real time into our relationship. I often find myself putting Jesus on the back burner, and that's not good. So I'm working on it. This is not a one way deal. A relationship takes two people. So that's where I am at right now. Trying to keep this a real relationship. I often avoid (because I'm lazy) reading my Bible or even talking to Jesus...and now I'm once more trying to fix that.

I go through phases. I'm all about Jesus, reading my Bible, talking to Him constantly...and then my Jesus relationship just fades into the background...and then I wake up and get back on the right path and I'm really trying to seek the Lord and have my whole heart and mind consumed with Him...and then it just fades into the background again. I'm not very consistent. :(

But I am working on it and I know Jesus will help me. :)

Friday, April 25, 2014

A Heavenly Day

Oh today was heavenly!

Well, it started out with God asking me to do something and me down right refusing. That was less than heavenly...

The conversation went something like this:

"I have something I want you to do today."
"TODAY? Are you kidding? I have things that I want to do today."
"I need you to help someone."
"I said no."
"You are the only person who can do this for me."
"I said NO!"
"Do you love me?"
"Fine. I'll do it."

Way to go, Amanda. Not very smart of me, arguing with God. Anyway, I went and did what I was supposed to do, and oh I had a blast! It was the best day ever! I actually enjoyed what God had asked me to do, and the rest of my day was so pleasant on top of that. And so calm, and the sun was shining and I got to sleep in the grass and roll down a hill with a darling four year old girl and there was a beautiful breeze and birds were singing and there was laughter and joy and I have never felt so at peace.

So, next time. I'll just go ahead and do what He asks me to do. Because the pleasure of obeying my Lord, and the blessings that He pours out on me, even when I am so reluctant to do as He asks...it's amazing. Just...amazing. :) The feeling that is welled up inside of me now is so hard to explain...it's a mixture of joy and peace and overwhelming love for my Savior and excitement and sunshine and beauty and...yep. That's just what it is. Heavenly. :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Light Up My Life

Back on the subject of small children! I have a few more stories to share.

I was playing with a four year old girl in the bright sunshine and she says to me "Miss Amanda, why won't you turn the sun off, it is too bright." "Dear-heart, I don't turn the sun off." "Yeah you do. You do it every night." Um...nope. I sure don't. God makes the sun go round. Or technically, the earth go round.

What exactly do you do when you have two little girls on your lap who are pretending to be lions and are eating your arms and your face and munching on your glasses? Me, I just laugh. This has happened to me twice, with two different sets of girls! Do I just look like a good meal or something?

A little girl said to me recently "Miss Amanda, I met another Amanda Mom." Um... "That's nice that you met another Amanda. But...I am not a mom." I wonder where she got that idea? I guess because I babysit and am in charge...that's mom like...

This is not a personal experience of mine, but I did read a story once about a little boy who prayed. And at the end of every prayer he would say 'Gee this name. Amen." and it took the mother (as well as me, the reader) forever to realize that what the little boy meant to say was "In Jesus' name. Amen." I think there might be something wrong with small people's ears. They often hear things weirdly. Or maybe when they hear something unfamiliar they convert it into words/sentences that make more sense to their small minds?

One little three year old girl informed me the other day, "Miss Amanda, we go to the bathroom so we can use the bubble squirt." "The bubble squirt?" "Yes, to wash our hands." "Do you mean the soap dispenser?" "Yes. The bubble squirt."

So...I'm at church, right? And I find that I have a small four year old boy standing behind me trying to be sly and tickle me. So I turned around and grinned at him. "What do you think you're doing, you turkey?" "I'm not a turkey. You're a turkey burger!" "What is a turkey burger, young man?" "A sandwich." "I thought as much. Do I look like a sandwich to you?" A mischievous grin and a slight nod of the head. Okay, lesson learned. I am a turkey burger. But please, please, don't try to eat me!

Those are my stories for now, folks. I know I'll have more, just you wait. :)



Sunday, April 20, 2014

Overwhelming Worship

Christ alone, cornerstone, weak made strong in the father's love, through the storm He is Lord, Lord of all.

At the cross, at the cross, where I first saw the light and the burden of my heart rolled away. It was there by faith I received my sight and now I am happy all the day!

Above all powers, above all kings, above all nature and all created things; above all wisdom and all the ways of man, you were here before the world began. Above all kingdoms, above all thrones, above all wonders the world has ever known; above all wealth and treasures of the earth, there's no way to measure what you're worth. Crucified, laid behind the stone; you lived to die, rejected and alone; like a rose trampled on the ground, you took the fall and thought of me above all.

I was truly overwhelmed by worship this Easter Sunday morning. More than once I closed my eyes with a lump in my throat and just let the music wash over me. :) I have no words to express the emotions I felt at that time. I was awed and humbled by my God and overwhelmed with joy and gratitude and...and at the time I was speechless. I couldn't even sing. I just closed my eyes and swayed slightly to the music and cried. Because Jesus died for me, and Jesus was buried for me, and because Jesus rose again I can have new life!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Feelings

I didn't do much today because I wasn't feeling the greatest...but I did get to spend an exceptionally wonderful hour and a half out in the warm sunshine with my little sister.

Now, first of all, because I wasn't feeling well, my sister had set up a camp chair for me to sit in, and then she came and sat in the grass beside me. At first I felt somewhat like a grandmother on her throne about to teach a circle of small ones some lesson or other. And then after that, as I began to read to my little sister (I read North and South) I suddenly thought of the movie Sense and Sensibility and I could not help but laugh. I felt for a moment like I was Marianne sitting on a little chair on my front lawn recovering from my illness (when Col. Brandon is reading to her...though he was NOT reading North and South!)

I cannot tell you how wonderful the sunshine felt on my cheeks or the gentle breeze that played with my hair and kept the sun from feeling too hot. :) I feel so happy to be alive. But it's not a feeling to make me want to jump and dance and clap my hands as I sometimes do. It's just a pleasant, peaceful feeling of thankfulness for the beautiful life I have been given.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Memories from the Past

It snowed! I love snow! Of course, it's basically all melted by now. But still, the simple fact that it did snow, that a few hours ago the ground was covered in powdery white makes me happy. However, yesterday was so bitterly cold, especially the wind, that I am beginning to rethink my opinion that excessively cold is better than excessively hot. I long for some warmth! On the other hand, if it was excessively hot, I would be desiring a cooler temperature, so I can't really say for sure which is better.

My little sister had her fourteenth birthday a few weeks ago. I find it hard to believe she is getting so old. I started thinking too, about what I was like at fourteen. How have I changed in the last four years? Have I even changed? Well, yes of course. But I can't really say how. I haven't paid that much attention. I'm quieter in the sense that I don't blurt out stupid or embarrassing things without thinking (at least not as often). Since I was fourteen several things have happened in my life. My dad went to Iraq (and then he came back again, thank goodness), I fell desperately ill (okay, it wasn't that bad, but it is fun to be dramatic)...I hope I have grown and matured over the last four years. I've never really been one to analyze myself and I'm not going to begin now. So, I'm not going to tell you some amazing story about the lessons I have learned and how much I have improved and in what areas I have grown. Because I don't know. But it's fun to consider the changes that time has brought to my person. And it's amusing to go back and read my journals from when I was fourteen. They weren't very descriptive, let me tell you. At the very least my writing has greatly improved since I was fourteen years old. Which reminds me, I was fourteen when I completed my first book, a children's story.

I am going to go back to my fourteenth year and share a few things from that time of my life. My dad was in Iraq basically my entire fourteenth year. I don't know if this would interest anyone but myself, but while thinking about being fourteen and reading my journals from that age, I started reading some notes I wrote myself while dad was in Iraq. One of them went like this:

-What cheers me up most when my dad is away is...
Seeing my friends really cheers me up. I don't know why but they have a very positive effect on me. Talking to dad on Skype cheers me up as well. You would think it would make me sad, but it makes me happy. Talking to God usually makes me smile.-

It's rather a silly little note, but it brought a smile to my lips this afternoon. And I do know one thing that would be different if I wrote it today. Seeing my friends still has a positive effect on me and never fails to brighten my day. But instead of saying 'talking to God usually makes me smile' I would say 'talking to God ALWAYS makes me smile'! Because it does! :)

I also wrote a song while dad was in Iraq, which is a very silly little piece. I don't even remember what I thought the tune should be...

-I am sad, but only for awhile
I am scared but it will pass.
Come soon I'll be able to smile
and sing just like in the past.
It is only a matter of time before
I can trust God now! I know He wants what's best for me.
He's in charge and I'll let Him be.
I can trust God now! I know...
I am happy, it will last.
I am brave it won't last!
My sadness is of the past.
So I praise God at last.
I can trust God now! I know He wants what's best for me.
He's in charge and I'll let Him be.
I can trust God now!-

That song is much better than the poem I also wrote while dad was away. I'm not going to share that with you it would be too embarrassing. That poem was hideous! The song, on the other hand, is rather sweet.

When I was fourteen (this is random) I didn't say 'exclamation point'. I said 'explanation point'. :)

I don't really have a whole lot else to add. Mostly I am just remembering random pieces of my history and writing them down as I come across them. I guess though, since it's been a few minutes and I haven't come up with anything else...I'll stop boring you now.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Graduation is Coming

Just thought I would put up a little note.

For anyone concerned my graduation invites are in the mail! Whew. That took a lot of energy and some time...it wasn't an excessively long amount of time. But it was a good amount. I had to write all those addresses (being formal is not my favorite thing on the planet. Writing Mr. this and Miss that for my own siblings seemed at least a little absurd. But it was alright. On the other hand, I hate my handwriting...so I guess I should work on that) I have to tell you, licking all those envelopes was nasty. The first few I hardly noticed, but I think that glue substance began to pile up on my tongue, because they got very bitter half way through the stack. I'm so glad that is done and over with.

I realize that having invitations in the mail means that my graduation is close at hand. And though I am still saddened by this fact, I am no longer depressed by it. This could be the best thing that ever happened to me, who knows? It will be exciting and new at any rate, and I am learning to enjoy the prospect. In the meantime, I will continue to live my life here and now with all the joy and love and gratitude to my Creator for every breath He gives me and all the peace and contentment that I possibly can. :)

For those of you who don't know yet, I love counting down to things! I count down to my birthday every single year starting at 365 days. :) So, today I am going to say...there are 29 days until my graduation and I am sooooooooo excited! :)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Giving Up and Letting Go

So here I am again. It's been a week...which is actually quite a long time for ME not to be writing. That is, I have been writing, in various books...just not blogging.

So...graduation is sneaking up on me very quickly and I don't like it. I mean, I am a little excited about the actual graduation and about my Senior Banquet. That could be a lot of fun and I am looking forward to it. But being done with school? Being finished with co-op and Bible Bowl and all of the other things that I love that make up my life...I really don't want it to happen. I am having some trust issues right now. I feel like I am about to be dragged blind folded across a gorge with giant precipices on every side. For one thing, I have never had interest in college. Not that I think college is a bad thing, on the contrary I think education is one of the best things on earth. Regardless, for me personally, I have never been interested in college. Plus, I'm quite happy in my little, innocent bubble and I would hate to go to college and have my bubble popped. Which, considering stories told by my older siblings and my friends who are themselves in college now...my interest in college in sinking even further (if that's possible) and my fear of it growing. For another thing, I am a very comfortable type person. I have everything in the world that I need or could dream of wanting and I see no reason to move. That's just who I am. (Which is sometimes a problem, especially when God is asking me to do something and I'm thinking "but it's so nice right here"....but that is another story) I love my life the way it is right now. And once I graduate everything will change. I will no longer participate as a student in our home-school co-op. I can't imagine life without co-op. I will no longer be able to participate as a student in Bible Bowl. Bible Bowl is my whole life, and has been for many years. It will be most difficult to give up. And I am terrified of losing my friends. Now this may sound silly, but it's true. Because as my friends who are older than I am went off to college, my friendship with them faded...sometimes quickly sometimes slowly, but it lessened or disappeared altogether (depending on the person). I don't want that to happen anymore. I love my friends! I don't want to lose the friends that I am leaving behind. I would hate to cut them off the way I have felt cut off so many times by my own friends who have gone to college. I don't want my life to change in any way and I don't want to leave my home and I don't want and I don't want and I don't want....

So...trusting. That has been a bit of a problem. I keep seeing all these things I love slipping away and I try and try to grab them and cling to them and it's gotten pretty ridiculous. So I'm going to step back and say "I'm cool with whatever you send my way, God." I want to be willing to follow where He leads. I want to jump into the next chapter of my life with an open mind and a cheerful heart and just go for it. Because whatever happens, He has my best interests in mind. He's shaping me into who He wants me to be...and if who He wants me to be is NOT what I have in mind, I pray He will change my heart and my desires until they are in line with His. *Deep breath* I know my life is going to be amazing, wherever it happens to go. I mean seriously, I'm walking hand in hand with the Creator of the UNIVERSE! Anything is possible. :) So I am going to let go of everything I hold dear (easier said than done, let me tell you) and give it all to Jesus.

And now I'm going to wait and see where He'll take me next. And I'm going to be joyful and hopeful and eager for the next venture. I can't believe I'm about to say this, but....I cannot wait for college!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Perseverance

Today has been about perseverance for me. I woke up this morning very tired and achy and with a stuffy head. (Okay, I have had the stuffy head for several days...) I did not want to get up first of all. And after I was up I only wanted to go back to bed. But I had things to do...

First of all, school work. Not my favorite thing to do when my head is full and I can't think straight. I enjoy school normally, but when I am having a bad day health-wise the last thing I want to do is school. But, I did it. Why? Because it needed to be done. And then I wanted to take a nap, but I couldn't because I still had things to do...

I have a Bible Bowl tournament this weekend and studying is imperative. Did I want to study today? No. I wanted to sleep. Did I study? Yes. That was a struggle to begin with. Every verse I quoted I had to push my way through...but you know what? I am so glad I did it.

I really had to fight through everything that I did today. But I am so pleased afterward that I actually did it. And, of course, now that my day is done my brain has cleared up and I feel up to doing more. (Why couldn't I feel so good this morning?) I am satisfied because I did the schoolwork I was supposed to do and I am also feeling energized and prepared for the Bible Bowl tournament. The reward of being prepared, accomplished and content (since I'm not having to stress over what I did not do) is well worth the effort it took to get here. :)