Sunday, November 30, 2014

{Day 30}

30 days of wearing the same dress. 30 days of trusting God to provide for the calling he has given me. 30 days of posting on my blog every single day. 30 days of this project. Complete. 

When I think of all that has happened this month, I am overwhelmed. God has been so good, and he truly is my provider. I am so thankful for this calling he had given me to serve him in India, and I can't wait to see what he does with me. Thank you all for joining me on this journey. 

What we have here is my sari. I plan to eventually cut it down and make a set of chudidar kameez (far more practical for missions work) but I wanted to get a few picture of it the way it is. Although I watched several Youtube videos, I am sure I do not wear it quite right, but still, this is my best effort. 

Here is a video that covers all of the outfits I have done for this project, along with the money I have raised. I am so close to my goal, and if you would be willing to help me achieve it, that would be wonderful. If you would like to get involved, just head over to my fundraising page on the sidebar. 

For this video, I chose the song, "We Are" by Kari Jobe. It speaks about the importance of sharing the love of Christ with the world. This song was also what I used for my graduation video last spring, during a time in my life when God was starting to make me aware of his heart for missions. So now, I will use it again, now that I fully understand and am trying to live out what it says. Hope you enjoy!

In closing, I want to share one of my favorite Bible verses:

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Jesus Christ throughout all generations, for ever and ever. Amen!" 
- Ephesians 3:20-21

Saturday, November 29, 2014

{Day 29}

So what I want to discuss today is this: what defines you? Is it your family, friends, looks, work, GPA, major, or hobbies? I gotta be honest with you, it is easy to let these things define you. For quite a while I was, in all practicality, defined by my test scores and my GPA. I felt that if I could maintain that perfect 4.0 average, then I would be complete, and I would be a success at life. Then it happened. That one class where no matter how hard I tried or how perfect I thought my projects were, I could not get the teacher to give me an A. 

As tough as that was for me, it taught me something important. When I rely on something other than God to define me, it will always let me down. Somewhere, somehow, that things that I think is a good place to base my self-worth will come crashing to the ground. 

Through all this, I came to realize that my God is truly the only one who can define me. He made me, he saved my soul from death, and in him I find my purpose and my strength. 
Hello, my name is Abby, and I am a child of the One True King. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

{Day 28}

So today is Black Friday. Or the start of Advent. Whichever you prefer. 
Personally, while I love a good deal, I do not care for Black Friday. It just displays for all to see the greediness of America. Immediately after celebrating a holiday of thankfulness, we run down other people and fight to get the things we want. Seems a little mixed up, right? Now, if you do go Black Friday shopping, please know I am not criticizing you. I have gone several times myself, but I have decided that the early morning, the grumpy people, and the long lines are not worth it to me. I will just go to Goodwill any other good day :)

But on the subject of Advent, I would encourage you to try to celebrate Advent this year if you never have before. So many times in my life, Advent has been a constant reminder of how we should be waiting on the Lord every single day, and that we should be ready for his coming. For those of you who don't know, "advent" simply means "coming" and it is a time where we celebrate and think about the coming of the Christ. I was just given an Advent devotional, and it discussed the fact that there was 400 years between the old and new testaments in the Bible. So for the people of the time, waiting on God was real. He had promised to send the savior, but for hundreds of years, there was no word from him. Perhaps the people got restless and gave up on God, but some stayed true and trusted in his word. He was faithful then, and he is faithful now. That is so good to remember. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

{Day 27}

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you have a marvelous day of fellowship, food, and thankfulness to God for all the ways he has blessed you. I am so glad to be able to spend this holiday with much of my extended family, and to be able to be a part of my immediate family on a day to day basis. I love you guys! 

If you think this outfit looks cozy and comfortable, you are correct! I picked this for wearing on the car ride over to my grandparent's house. And since they live in a part of the state where we might actually get snow, I figured it was good to be on the safe side :)

Hope you have a turkey-pumpkin-pie-and-mashed-potatoes fabulous kind of day!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

{Day 26}

Do you ever have one of those crazy days when you literally feel like you are flying through the minutes and hours? Well, yesterday was, and today probably will be one of those kind of days. In the midst of the whirlwind, I find that one of the most important things to do is pray. That is one of the best parts about my job, really. Even when I am working for hours and hours, while I am watching over the people in the pool, I can talk to God. 

I pray for the friends he brings to mind; I pray for the children swimming in the pool, that God will raise them up to be his servants; I pray for myself, for my fear and needs; I pray about God himself, praising him for all that he is. He is so wonderful, I often run out of adjectives to describe him. But the exercise of working to find words to define him is so good for me. It reminds me of how small I am and how big he is. So today, in the hustle and bustle of preparing for Thanksgiving, take a moment, and talk to him. We truly do serve an amazing God. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

{Day 25}

I can't believe it is Day 25 already! Wow, this month has simply flown by. I remember when I was considering doing this project and was scared to even start, but now I am just so thankful for all that God has taught me about his grace and provision. He is good and he will work everything out in his good time. 

On another note, I just finished a massive project for my ASL 5 class and now I am free until next Monday! Five whole days without homework. Whoohoo! Now, I almost have the urge to break out into the line from Let It Go, "I'm Free!" but I am sick of that song and I can't hit the note anyway, so I will just go with the Newsboys version :)

Monday, November 24, 2014

{Day 24}

We had a wonderful sermon on Sunday about Moses' encounter with God. It was about the fact that after hearing God's call for him, Moses answered with a bunch of reasons why it wouldn't work. He said things like, "I am inadequate," "I am not a good speaker," I don't have authority to accomplish this," and "God, I really don't want to."

Don't we all do this sometimes? When God calls us to something big, it is so easy to come up with excuses for why it won't work. The funny thing is that God doesn't just call in the cheerleading squad.  My pastor noted that when Moses said he felt inadequate, God didn't start telling him, "Moses, you are totally adequate! You can do this!" No, rather, God simply says, "I am enough." 

We don't have to be good enough, smart enough, brave enough, or strong enough, because we have a God who is more than enough. In fact, it is good for us to be weak, because then we will realize how truly strong he is. So if you know that God is calling you to something today, I encourage you to stop making excuses, and trust in God, who is bigger than all your inadequacies. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

{Day 23}

This is my brother:

He is now 12 years old (since yesterday) and the biggest ball of fun you have ever seen. From recounting numerous Calvin and Hobbes jokes to creating massive lego vehicles and weapons, he is pretty cool. More than that, though, I am so proud of the young man he is growing into. He is kind and caring, and is even cleaning up around the house without being asked (I know, right?). Happy Birthday, buddy! I am so glad you are a part of our family.

On another note, I want to update you on how my fundraising for my mission trip to India is going. If you look over at my fundraising widget on the sidebar, you will see only a small amount of the necessary funds are covered. However, I have been receiving some checks from family and friends, and my church is able to cover part of the trip, so I am only $600 dollars away from the funds needed for me to go to India and minister to the people there. While this may sound like a lot, think about it this way: if 20 people each gave $30, one dollar for each day I am doing this project, that would reach the goal. Would you be willing to pray today and see if you would be willing to be one of those 20? I truly believe that God calls some to go and some to give, so if you would be able to join me in my ministry, that would be such a huge blessing. I look forward to seeing what God does in this next week!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

{Day 22}

Let's be real for a second.

I love kids. I love working with them, playing with them, listening to them tell me about their lives. Kids are fun. But they are also crazy.

Last night, my sisters and I babysat for 16 kiddos with ages ranging from 1 yr to 6 yrs. Now, don't get me wrong — it was marvelous animal-cracker-plus-puzzles-and-ring-around-the-rosie fun. Loud and crazy, with some Clifford stories thrown in. They were a great group and I loved all of them, but as always, there is a learning curve to working with children. So, in the hope that all of you will learn from my mistakes, here is what I discovered from babysitting 16 kids for three hours.

1. One year olds and five year olds have very different interests and attention spans.
For example, a five year old may quietly play with the kitchen toys for 10 minutes, while after two minutes, the one year old decides that the plastic bowl is made expressly for either eating or banging on his sister's head.

2. Crayons and toddlers do not mix. Or taste good.
When I saw a toddler shoving two crayons in his mouth, I was reminded of the fabulous memories of the one year old class at church, cleaning out chewed up green crayon from a kid's mouth. Let's just say we took them away pretty quickly.

3. On the whole, kids are attracted to VeggieTales. Not, however, when it is on a 12 inch screen and there are lots of toys around.

4. Speaking of toys, nursery toys are seriously the loudest things on the planet. And they do not have off buttons. I checked, several times.
The kids were good about it though. One kid kept handing me more toys saying, "Teacher, this one's a noisy toy!"

5. Even if you have taught a two year old how to swim, that does not necessarily mean she will recognize you on dry land. And she will most likely scream in your lap just like she screams in everyone else's. Bummer.

6. (This is the most important one.) Never, under any circumstances give a child under the age of three water in a normal cup. Ever,
A two year old tried to drink some water, poured it down his front, dumped it on the table upside down, took another girl's cup, poured it down his front, and proceeded to cry because his pants were wet. Go figure.

7. Tip: Fruit Loops necklaces are a lifesaver. Literally. Take 16 tired kids and let them make accessories they can eat? It works. Most of them stopped talking and just ate for the last 10 minutes. And if you think we were doing wrong in sugaring up the kids before sending them home, I saw that the vast majority of parents had given them some dessert afterwards, so it's not just us!

Anyhow, those are my tips for y'all! Hope this helps you in all your babysitting endeavors. And I was wearing a different sweater with this outfit originally, but when a one year old smears an animal-cracker-water mixture on your back, the sweater kind of goes out of commission :)

Friday, November 21, 2014

{Day 21}

Do you ever have one of those day where everything just seems to go terribly wrong? Where your good intentions are misunderstood, where you are just plain cranky and can't figure out how to get back into a good mood?

I had one of those a couple days back. It was not fun. By the end of the day, I just wanted to have a good cry and go to bed.

Yet, I think there is a purpose to those days. They remind us that we are weak. That we can't do it on our own, that we are sinners and do fail. Although I do not like the bad days, they do remind me that I have to depend on God for every breath I take.

He is my rock, day in and day out. Sometimes, though, when I am going along and everything seems fine, I tend to think that I can do it on my own. These rough days bring me back to the truth of God's word, that on my own I am nothing, but with him, I can do anything.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

{Day 20}

Shhh. Just for a moment. Pause, and simply listen. It could be to the voice of God, speaking to your heart today. It could be the silent voice in the smile of a little sibling, "Spend some time with me." Or it could be just a person who needs someone to listen to them today. Someone who will be there, hear them out, and support them.

Lately, God has been teaching me a lot about this kind of ministry, the kind where I am willing to sit down and hear a person's story and support them in whatever they are growing through. In this, I have found the extra blessing of building relationships. The truth is, many people are looking to find friends who truly care, who are willing to probe deeper than "How ya doing?" and to take time to hear about real life.

It isn't always easy. Sometimes I don't want to listen; I want to move on with my life and accomplish the things I need to get done. But then I miss out on the important opportunities and the life-changing memories.

So today, I encourage you, listen.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

{Day 19}

Do you ever have one of those days where you realize your outfit makes you look 12, but you still don't care?

Yep, I am definitely feeling that today. Sometimes though, I can't believe that it has been six whole years since I was 12 years old, enjoying the usual homeschool activities without a care in the world. Those were the days— when my biggest concern was the fact that some arrogant boy kept passing me in swim class and my greatest frustration was that Shakespeare clearly did not know how to speak English. While I am so thankful for where God has me in life right now, sometimes it is fun to look back on the way things used to be, and to laugh at the things I worried about then. Which causes me to think that someday I might laugh at the things I stress about now...

Anyway, in light of living in the here and now, here are four things in my life right now that are simply fabulous!
1. This Bible Study workbook for short term missions teams. It is really helping me get excited for the trip and yet focus on God in the process.
2. Kid Snippets. So funny.
3. My sari! It came in the mail last week and I love it. And all other Indian fashions...
4. This trailer for Disney's live action Cinderella coming out this spring. It looks like they will stick to the story and keep it clean, so I am excited to see it!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

{Day 18}

[I know I rarely comment about the items I use in my outfits, but this scarf is one that my Grandma gave me for my birthday, and I absolutely love the color! I am actually going to use it in India, so I will definitely put it to good use :) ]

Have you ever had the sense that you used your time wrongly? That you wasted a gift of an hour or two, one that could have been used to make a difference in some way, for someone. Lately, I have been convicted to evaluate the way in which I am spending my time. Would I want to be doing this if I knew Jesus was coming in 20 minutes? That is how I try to think about it. Of course, school and work are both important things, but I often realize too late that my movie or book or sewing project could have waited till later, but the opportunity to pour Jesus's love into someone else's life could not.