Christmas Update 2011

Hello Everyone:  Here is the link to my Christmas newsletter.  Merry Christmas!

Prayer Update Dec 11

 

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Prayer Letter Update

God has been working a lot of things out in my life recently.  Here’s an update as to what has been going on.Prayer Update June 11

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Praying and Waiting

It has been much too long since I took the time to record some of my thoughts or ideas here.  Much of the reason for that is that this has become a season of searching and seeking and questioning and praying.  Not always the easiest thing to put out there for others to read.  Especially since I still have no answers or even clear direction on where to go from here.  I’m still firmly in the midst of the questions.

It’s been more than two years now that I’ve been trying to raise support and planning for long-term ministry in Zimbabwe.  While God has blessed me with some faithful supporters and partners and I have had opportunities to share my dream with many people, there has not been much financial support come in to support such an endeavour.

So now, the questions run rampant:  Do I try to continue to raise support to minister in Zimbabwe despite my lack of fruitfulness so far?  Is this God closing a door or directing me in a different direction?  If so, what direction?  What other dreams are on my heart that could provide some sense of where to go next?  How do I figure out which (if any) of these dreams to give my time an attention to?  How do you pray and seek answers from God in the midst of uncertainty and confusion?  How do I honour the faithfulness of those who believed in my ministry and have already been supporting me?  Where do I go from here?

So far, answers have been hard to come by.  Sometimes it actually seems like the more I try to clarify things and pray things through, the more uncertain I seem to be.  And so I continue to sit back and wait and pray and dream and consider options.  I talk things over with friends and try to understand and journal and think and let go and see what God has for me.  I pray and wait some more  . . . and wait.

Out of the depths I cry to you, LORD;
2 Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.

3 If you, LORD, kept a record of sins,
Lord, who could stand?
4 But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

5 I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
6 I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.

Psalm 130

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Filed under April 2011

Fun in a Winter Wonderland

It has slowly dawned on me over the past few years, that there are people out there who truly seem to hate winter weather.  This was so completely foreign to me that I’ve ended up spending time reflecting on this and trying to figure it out.  Perhaps I am mistaken, but it seems to me that a vast number (if not all) of these people who profess to hate winter, are actually those who hibernate indoors as much as possible from October to May.

Now, I guess if you truly hate something you do try to avoid it, but I have a suspicion that the very reason that winter-dislikers have such animosity toward the season is exactly because they don’t get out to enjoy it!

Way too many people seem to lose that childlike wonder at snow and cold temperatures as they choose to replace the fun of winter with winter drudgery.  If my only outdoor experiences in the winter revolved around snow shovelling, driving in snow and running to and from house, car and work in clothing unfit for the weather I would likely find myself hating winter too.

Remember back, if you will, to the childhood joys of winter.  Remember snow days and weekends filled with snow angels, snowmen, sledding, snowshoeing, games of tag, ice skating on a frozen pond, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, the sunlight sparkling off the snow as you ran through fresh, unmarked powder or the wonder of feeling snowflakes melt on your tongue as they fell?

I think it is long past time for many of us to get outside (yes, in the winter) and have some fun!  Put down the shovels and car scrapers and salt.  Bundle yourself up and go out to play.

A bit impediment to winter fun is feeling cold, so make sure you have the right gear.  There are many outdoors stores that would be happy to help you find the right things or even how to properly layer the items you already have to ensure that you stay warm and dry whatever your activity.  Most people’s’ experience of feeling cold during the winter is related to being inappropriately dressed (or from not moving around enough while outside).  Trust me when I say that while I may feel a little cool for the first 10 min or so outside, by the time I get active, I am opening my coat and taking off layers as I get too hot!

Equipment does not have to be expensive or elaborate.  Simply walking in the winter (especially with others to chat with) can be a great way to get started.  If you had a favourite childhood winter activity, check out local used sports stores or outdoor stores to get you ready to jump back into it.

For those of you out there who are moaning and complaining about the weather from October through May, you’re absolutely right.  The adult tendency to make snow and cold only about drudgery and work is no fun at all.  Maybe, however,  it’s time to get up, get dressed warmly and get outside to play!  What better way to stay healthy, be active, remember great moments from our past and have some fun!

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Christmas Letter

I realize that I have been very remiss in updating this blog, but finally I have an update in the form of a Christmas letter.  Please enjoy with a warm drink and some Christmas music playing, if you are so inclined.

Every blessing to you and your families this Christmas, Carrie

Prayer Update Dec 10

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The Passage of Time

There’s nothing that makes you stop and realize how quickly time passes as watching little ones grow.  My newest niece was born 29 days ago and already she looks and acts like a completely different person than she did in those early days.  My experience with other kids reminds me that before I know it, these early days with her will be only a memory and something chronicled in pictures.

On the other hand, this week I had the great blessing of having friends over for dinner.  Since they are currently living overseas, I have not had a chance to see them in person in more than 4 years, yet we were able to pick up our conversations as though it was just days ago that we had spoken.

The past month has been a busy one as a result of some of these events.  Somehow, even though I no longer head back to school in the Fall (nor have kids I’m sending off) the return to the busy Fall rush always catches me by surprise.  Personally, I wish the lazy days of summer happened to coincide with the beautiful weather of the Fall.  I am taking a week off in October to take advantage of my favourite season and to get a bit of a break.

I hope you all are feeling refreshed and energized as we enjoy these crisp, gorgeous Fall weather.  I’m certainly trying to see the blessing in everyday and trying to avoid getting caught up in the rush of the season (not to mention, trying to get lots of time in with the little people in my life who change oh, so quickly).

Psalm 145

A psalm of praise. Of David.

1 [a] I will exalt you, my God the King;
I will praise your name for ever and ever.

2 Every day I will praise you
and extol your name for ever and ever.

3 Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.

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Our perspective on things

As I was driving home from work today it occurred to me how our past experiences shape our perspective today.  For instance, I was realizing how chilled I felt with the cool rainy day today.  Reality would say that the temperature was about 18 C.  Today, after recently experiencing hot 40 C days, today felt cool and damp.  If, however, we were to experience an 18 C day in March, we would find it to be balmy and warm!  While all of our experiences affect our responses to current and future events, it is often the most recent or the most significant which shape our perspective.

So often we (and I fully include myself in this) think that our perspective is reality.  Many times, we think it is not only reality for us, but reality and truth for everyone.  On the contrary.  As in the practical example above, our perspective can change completely over something as trivial as the temperature in a matter of weeks or months.

Consider how this might be true in other areas of our life as well.  I know for myself, that often my view of the sin in my life is coloured by the lens of what I see others doing around me.  In a society of increasingly blatant disregard for morality and for God’s Word, I end up looking not really too bad.  But when I compare myself (as God directs me to) to the perfect, sinless example of His son Jesus, suddenly my life is looking pretty wretched.

God requires us to look to the Truth of His Word to be the guide for our perspective.  As Jeremiah states in chapter 17:

7 “But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,

whose confidence is in him.

8 He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”

9 The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?

10 “I the LORD search the heart
and examine the mind,
to reward a man according to his conduct,
according to what his deeds deserve.”

Our hearts are ultimately deceitful, we are quick to compare ourselves and easy to try to absolve ourselves of our sinful nature.  However, only Jesus can absolve us of our sin and it is only by looking to Him, by immersing ourselves in the Truth of God’s Word can we begin to get a right perspective on our life and our experiences.

Proverbs 3:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;

6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight. [a]

7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil.

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