Sunday, February 27, 2011

A dose of encouraging courage

 Hello dear Readers,
I know it's been a while since I've blogged...
  I hope you've all had a wonderful last few weeks filled with blessings!
I had a fun little blessing yesterday at my first piano competition - I played  a fun song called 'Peppermint Rag', and got a score of 1! It was a lot of fun, and we've spent the rest of the weekend preparing for our trip to Mississippi and just having family time. Ah...
    I just wanted to give all my dear ones a bit of encouragement this Sunday!
I hope you keep the realization with you that you're in your circumstances for a reason! That no matter how unfair it may seem now, God has a great plan - and you're a part of it! Actually, you're a vital part of it.

     "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of faith develops perserverance. Perserverance must finish its work  so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-3

   "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not  be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

  Pure joy in trials and strength no matter what. That's a tall order. But we can do it! Why? Because -

   "I can do all things through him who gives me strength."  Philippians 4:13

  I don't know where you are in life. You maybe standing in the sunshine, living life to the fullest and enjoying every blessing that comes your  way. I'm so happy for you.  Or,  you  maybe hanging on by a thread, and unable to hoist yourself back up. God's here to tell you that you CAN get up again. And you don't have to do it yourself - if you give all those burdens and anger and grief to God, not only will He take it from you - He'll help give you wisdom through this situation, and strength  to boot.

' How could anyone live this crazy life without God?' That's where the 'courage' part of this post comes out.
 Have  courage to... Stand up  for Christ! Don't let the lamp that is your faith be hidden.

To share the good news! Don't be a 'parrot' Christian, living in your comfortable cage,  never reaching beyond  your borders. Reach out for God - and for the eternity of your fellow human beings.

And have courage to give it all to God! Don't feel defeated if your evangelistic attempts don't strike gold right away. It's a rewarding process, planting those seeds for Christ, but also one that can be depressing.
  Ask God for wisdom and strength and the door will be opened. Prayer is the most important thing.
Pray for those you know who need Christ, and pray for the Christians you know with dear ones who do not know Christ.  And have faith!

   I hope, my Readers, that this post has encouraged you and given you courage.
Your blogger,

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A story of sunshine and rain. And what God's plan has to do with it.

  Dear Readers,
This week I realized that God has the absolute perfect plan. I know we all think 'God, why does this happen to        ?' (-insert your name or someone you know who's going through some unfairness) But, the truth of the matter is - Yes, some things in life are  NOT fair. But it's all in God's plan.  And He is seeing the Big picture - what's best for everyone. We tend to only see what's best for us and our dear ones.
Calico in China!

Such a silly girl...but beautiful with that parasol!

The dragon puppets were amazing to see.
God has planned for you to have sunny days, and rainy ones. If you praise Him in the sunshine and stand under His umbrella in the storm, you'll be okay.
    We had a sunshine-filled day on Friday, for sure. We went to the Chinese Festival. How my mother always comes up with ways to make every subject in school fascinating, I'll never know, but this was one such time.

 We've been studying China, and got a first hand experience yesterday. We ate Dim-Sum and watched a show with a lion puppet (I use that term loosely - more like a true-to-life-size lion), and that was really  amazing.  You could see the men underneath, but they made it move like an actual animal. And, we walked through the beautiful gardens at the Cultural center. The statues were lovely, and Cate was very photogenic with her parasol!
We also watched a lady paint our names in calligraphy. (We're about to do that in school, so it was perfect!)
Chinese calligraphy is such a graceful and fascinating art, I've always loved it. I'll share a picture of my name soon! Mom, Cate, and I went to the children's pavilion and made a lantern. Even though it was supposed to be too hard for children, Cate helped quite a bit and it turned out to be beautiful!
Lastly, we went to the Asian Market Grocery store. It was fascinating. We couldn't understand what we were eating at Dim-Sum, so it was neat to walk through and figure it all out. We saw huge tanks of catfish, octupus legs (suckers included!), baby squids, fish heads, and lots of ginger! We also got these little 'Fruti King' mini sodas which were adorable! (And really good, too!)

  So, as you can see, we had an amazing time. But on Thursday, however, Mom had a bit of sad news for me.   As you know, I'm part of AZ Friends in Sign, which translates songs into American Sign Language and signs them at different places. (nursing homes,hospitals,etc.)
  Well, this past Christmas we went to a home for people with Alzheimer's. I was completely unprepared for what I saw, and my heart went out to the people living there. One man there was deaf. He had not learned sign language, and so had no communication with the people around him.
  After we finished signing, he was reluctant to go back to his room! It made me so happy that we had brought him joy. And then, I went up to him and signed "Merry Christmas, thank you."
(Because we had gone around after the show and thanked all the residents for coming to watch). He signed thank you back to me! That was such a happy moment for me, and I was just certain I (or someone else in our group) HAD to come back and teach him more sign language.
   No one did ever get to teach him sign because he died not long after we performed.
I didn't know that, and so when Mom found out last Thursday so did I.  Mom said (she always has the perfect words) that it is better for him now, though, because he's in Heaven and he doesn't need sign language. He can hear now, and he can remember. That makes me so happy.
   Why am I telling you all this? For two reasons. 1.) Because you should know that God's plan is always perfect!  Yes-I was sad. I'm sure his family is sad. But I know he is happy, and much better in Heaven than here. I understand that this is a part of God's plan - and His plan is  wonderful and perfect. (He's a God of love, not maliciousness.)  
 2.) Alzheimer's is a terrible disease. And, as of right now, there is no cure for it. I'm certain God's plan has a  cure included in it, so did a bit of research to inform all my bloggy followers of. There is an organization called Alzheimer's CURE foundation, Inc.that has come up with a nice incentive for scientists. They are working to raise 20 million dollars to award the scientist who finds the cure. This will hopefully speed along the process and add a bit of competition to it! Please go to their website and help find a cure for this disease. Going to that home showed me that this is  a real thing. Not just something you can put statistics on and ignore. (I may be repeating last Saturday's lesson a bit...) 
  I hope my story will inspire you to spread the word, too. Your Blogger(who is SO glad to have a God who does the planning for me), Claire
P.S.- prayer is the best gift you can give! Please pray for the people around the world with Alzheimer's, and their families,too.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

No words

        Dear Readers,
  We've had an amazing weekend. Even though Mason broke his foot. Yeah - it happened again. This time, however, he's not in a cast.'s not as bad as last time,  as you can see from my mom's blog post. 
  We finished school early Friday and went out to lunch with Dad, and after that  we all went to swim class together. And then, (on Saturday), Mom, Cate, and I went to the fabric store. (Mom is going to be making curtains for their room.)  Would you believe we saw a man walking his pet turtle?
   And THEN, we went to church and I was blessed to have a reunion with a dear friend.
So, you can understand how for the last few days I've been feeling especially blessed. And, I'm sure you can also understand how when I read Compassion International's magazine my heart, feeling absolutely full to the brim, was broken for the families and children featured.
    925 million people worldwide are chronically hungry - almost one in 7.
        7.7 million children die each year before age 5. In 53% of these deaths, malnutrition is a factor.
                                  8oo million people do not have access to clean water.
  Wow. Isn't that absolutely heart wrenching? I hate looking at these statistics. As I typed them, I thought about turning right around and erasing them. Really, I did.
  I'm guessing that your first instinct was to probably look away, too, right? It's so easy for us (or at least it is for me) to ignore those facts. To go on with our carefree lives, turning a blind eye to the pain of the world. We want to look away, it's just too much.
     But God never gets to look away.
 I read that in a devotional book, and it's so true. God is always looking down on the people halfway across the world from us, and He loves the people who smell bad and live in garbage just as much as He loves us.
   Here's a link to a website called ''.  The first thing you see is a slot where you type in your salary. After that, a page pops up that  says "The Joneses make       
amount that is double your salary." and "If you have hamburgers, they have steak. If you have this big a tv their's is MUCH bigger." And so on, so on.
  Then you can choose to ditch the Joneses. You then read a story about how families around the world live compared to you. It was shocking. I encourage you to go to this website.
A picture (colored by Cate) for our sponsored child, Moris.
           I'm sorry if I put a damper on your amazing weekend with those terrible statistics.
But, please, don't let it discourage you. In fact, let in ENcourage you. God can free those families from poverty, and you can help. Compassion International  lets you chose a child to sponsor. They then give you the oppurtunity to, along with a monthly gift to your child (of 38 dollars), write letters and give family gifts. On their website, they share stories of how flooding  destroyed a family's home and crops. But a family gift of $300.00 gave them the supplies to build a new home. And also stories of children who thought they were worthless, until their sponsors wrote to encourage them. Jesus can use YOU as a vessel to help lower those statistics. Your Blogger,