Learning to Pray Expectantly

prayingdevotional

Prayer is an important part of having a strong relationship with God.

I remember last fall, my school took a trip to Windy Gap. We spent the week worshiping God and getting to know one another before heading back to school. One of the last nights we were there, the leaders sent everyone off to have quiet time with God. I found a spot beside the sand volleyball courts. Looking up at the starry night sky, I thought of how cool it would be to see shooting stars.

Immediately after that thought, I frowned. Why should I ask God for shooting stars? Aren’t I supposed to ask for important and meaningful things? How can I ask for shooting stars when there are so many other things to be praying for? I bent my head and looked at my hands, convinced that something as little as shooting stars should be something I should have prayed for.

You could probably guess what happened. When the bell rang and everyone was called back to the chapel, my friends ran up to me speaking quickly about how beautiful the shooting stars had been. I stopped in the path, shocked. God had answered my prayers but I was so busy convincing myself it wasn’t worth the time that I had missed His answer all together!

While we should pray with full faith that He is able to answer our prayers and do everything we ask, we have to remember that it’s God’s Will that is to be done. God wants us to accept His Will completely and give our lives to Him. Once we do that, He openly answers our prayers because we are praying for His Will to be done! Sometimes, though, there are things that He gives us anyway, like shooting stars. But we have to remember that it is God that we are serving, not ourselves. James 1:6-8 explains this idea:

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. ~ James 1:6-8

My challenge this week is that you would pray expectantly, knowing that God can answer your prayers, giving us everything we need, but also remembering that His Will comes first.

signi

Life Update + Awesome Blogger Award!

lifeupdate

Hello, everyone! How are you? It’s been a while since my last life update so I thought I would share one today.

Things have been pretty busy until today. I just finished my third quarter of Senior Year and I’m not exactly sure what to do with that information. I’m excited to graduation coming up in a couple of months but I also know that I’m going to miss so many things from high school. I think, for now, I’m just going to take things one week at a time.

Speaking of, this next week is going to be full of really exciting things! On Monday, I have my final meeting before I head to… Peru! I’ll be gone for 10 days but I will come back with lots of pictures! I also have a Sign Language Club meeting on Monday which I’m very excited about! I’ve always found sign language to be interesting and I’m looking forward to being able to sign with some other people from my church and school.

The Awesome Blogger Award

awe

I was nominated for this award by the lovely Lindsay from Linds4Dance. Thank you so much, Lindsay! Please be sure to check out her blog here and her version of the post here!

Rules

  1. Thank the person who nominated you!
  2. Include the reason behind the award!
  3. Include the banner in the post
  4. Tag it with #awesomebloggeraward
  5. Answer all the questions!
  6. Nominate at least 5 other awesome blog buddies
  7. Give your nominees 10 questions of their own!
  8. Let your nominees know they’ve been nominated!

*I’m going to skip these but please feel free to accept your own nomination for this award!

The Reason Behind This Award

The Awesome Blogger award was originally created by Maggie @ Dreaming of Guatemala. This is an award for the absolutely wonderful writers all across the blogging world. they have beautiful blogs, are kind and lovely, and always find a way to add happiness and laughter to the lives of their readers. that is what truly defines an awesome blogger. ~coffeelovingbookoholic

The Questions

  1. What’s your favorite quote? – “May the flowers remind us why the rain was so necessary.” – Xan Oku
  2. What’s your earliest childhood memory? – My earliest childhood memory was when I was around 3 or 4. I was in preschool and it was my birthday. I remember having pigtails with purple ribbons and having nap time. I was so excited about my birthday that I couldn’t go to sleep. :)
  3. If you could do anything in one day, what would you do? – I would probably wake up early, be productive, have lunch with some friends, and then spend the afternoon with my family. That would be a great day.
  4. Who in your life, do admire most? – My former Sunday School teacher is someone that I admire a lot. She is the happiest 70~ year-old I’ve ever met. Every time I see her, she is always excited and reminds me to be strong in my faith. She constantly prays for me and it means a lot. She hasn’t had the easiest life, but through everything, she has been praising God. That is how I want to be.
  5. Who is your favorite blogger and why? – Oh, my! Okay, my favorite blogger would have to be Madyson Grace. Her blog is full of meaningful posts that encourage us to remember the Truth.
  6. Markers or Colored Pencils? – Markers. 100%
  7. Chocolate or Hard candies? – Chocolate!
  8. Current favorite outfit? – I would have to go with my church outfit. It consists of this fit and flare burgundy dress from Altar’d State, a black cardigan, and flats. It’s really comfortable.
  9. What’s your greatest accomplishment? – Reaching my 3-year blogiversary!
  10. If you could go back in time, where would you go and why? – I would go back to the 1950s because I think that was an interesting time period.  Also, it was during that decade that Disneyland opened!

Thanks so much for reading! I hope you have a great week! :)

signi

An Essay on Stars and God’s Love (Guest Post)

 guestpost-ragtag

Breaking news: I love space. Also, God loves us enough to make stars for us, so that’s awesome.

I do not know why I love the stars so much.

My first memory of the night sky is standing on the driveway, the rough cement beneath our feet and the night like a blanket and my father pointing up to the heavens, tracing the stars into the constellation.

“Cygnus,” he would say with absolute confidence and a little bit of awe. “Orion.”

Why, I always asked. They don’t look like anything but pricks of light. Who was the first person to gaze up and see people?

My parents explained once upon a time, there were no lights. Every night, the sky seemed like it was on fire with the stars. There were more of them to see and trace.

Maybe that was what lit the passion inside me.

I have looked through a telescope two times in my life. Once, the neighbors down the street— a single mother and her teenage son— invited us to glimpse the heavens through theirs. I do not remember what we looked at. Perhaps it is only a dream. I only remember the coldness of the night and the darkness of the sky.

The second time, we went out with our friends the MacMillians to the golf course by their house. It was a bad place to look at stars; there was so much light pollution. But we had just finished a unit in school on astronomy and space and they had a telescope they had acquired from somewhere. We looked at the Moon, I believe, and tried to find Jupiter or Mars.

I remember lying on the golf course and staring up into the blackness with coats bundled close. We couldn’t actually see anything, but we imagined we could.

When I was older, we went to a planetarium. The animated heavens wheeled over us. They drew lines between the stars in the constellations. I did not like the fake stars. I wanted the real stars.

When I was nine and at summer camp for the second time, I was sick in the middle of the night. Most of what I remember is the walk with my counselor down to the infirmary, her hand clutched in mine. I looked up through the trees and it took my breath away.

Stars!

But what stars!

So many more than the skies at home. I could only see pieces of them through the treetops, but I longed for more.

Maybe it was just the mystery. Maybe the reason I love the sky so much is the fact that I have never seen it. I have only seen pieces of the heavens. I keep coming back for more, straining my eyes into the navy, looking for the milky way.

In New York City in 1965 the power went out for a night and all the people went up to the top of the buildings and looked up at the stars— spread out over the cities like they are every single night but visible for the first time in a century.

What a sight.

It seems to me that every time I have been out in the night I have only sought after the stars. I do not know why.

They are beautiful but they are distant. They might not even exist anymore. Their light takes eons to reach us; the actual star could be gone by now but the light is still traveling across space, thundering along at 300,000,000 meters per second but space is so massive it hardly makes a dent.

When I was younger, I wanted to be an astronaut. I have no idea why.

Space is beautiful but it is beautiful in the same way wildfires are beautiful. It is bone-chillingly terrifying as well; as unforgiving as the ocean.

Perhaps that is why astronauts and cosmonauts share their root in ‘sailor’.

Perhaps the younger version of me wanted to sail— to sail to all the fantastical planets no one has ever set foot on; to glide up to the distant stars and wave hello.

But space takes from you.

Space is unforgiving emptiness— silence and loneliness and coldness.

It is beautiful and breathtaking to look at space— those pictures from the Hubble telescope where every prick of light in the image is not a star but a galaxy, with a hundred million stars its own— they bring tears to my eyes.

But space is also wrong in some fundamental way, like watching an orchestra play without sound; the Wizard Of Oz with Kansas in color.

It is beautiful but it is terrifying once you get out in it, just like the ocean.

Maybe I am in love with space because of the book I had as a child. It was all about space exploration. I fell in love with the space race— with the scientists and their rockets. I could almost feel their emotions— disgust as their ideas were ignored, triumph as their vision was realized.

And under the stars, it seems as if the world is clearer.

The sky is high, higher than the ceilings in the great cathedrals of old. The grass is soft under your bare feet. Above, the stars glimmer down— millions and millions and millions of them.

Why are there stars?

Why did God decide to make stars? We wouldn’t know the difference.

We would never know the difference and yet I like the think that God thought it would bring us joy to look up upon the beauty of the sky ablaze as night.

I like to the think that God thought of me and my friends at our school retreat, lying on the cold grass staring into the heavens in unspeakable joy and thought, “I’ll make stars for them!”

I like to think that he saw me and my friends from camp sitting around a dying fire and canning our necks up to the heavens, filled with awe and thought, “I’ll make stars for them!”

I like to think that in all his planning for the world, he knew that the stars would fill us with wonder and amazement and a tremendous desire to see and to know, and so he, with hands so old the stars themselves seem like the lights of fireflies, spun them into the great blackness.

He hung each one in the heavens and thought about how it would bring us joy.

And so I am in love with the sky at night, with the stars, with the heavens.

I have never seen it in all its glory, but I know I will someday.

I know I will be driving through the empty lands of Montana some clear, clear night and I will pull the car over the side of the highway and get out and look up at the sky.

And I will not have words.

The sky will be on fire.

I will see the Milky Way, spread out like diamonds, each star so far away and yet looking down on me with unwavering light, older than the rocks I stand on.

And from above, God will smile. “I made them for you,” he whispers. “So you could have this joy.”

—The End—


Hello, everyone! I would like to give many thanks to Hollis Thundercroft from Rag Tag Essays for writing this guest post!

Hollis is a high school senior who writes essays in her free time. She enjoys running, quilting, and sleeping, as well as playing with her two new cats. Her favorite smell is after the rain, her favorite planet is Neptune, and her favorite rocket is the Saturn V, which, she says, you probably shouldn’t bring up in conversation because she will never stop talking about it.

I absolutely LOVE Hollis’s blog and all of her writing. I find her essays to be very powerful, true, and passionate. Please go check out her blog here and leave a comment!

signi

guestpost

Trusting God in His Plans

sendme

I’m not ready.

As I enter into the final months of my Senior year, that is all I can think about… I’m not ready. Some of the people around me are getting so excited to leave high school and head off to college. But I just don’t feel ready.

Should I feel ready?

I was reading Isaiah a couple of nights ago when I came across the passage in Isaiah 6 where Isaiah was called to speak for the Lord.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

~ Isaiah 6:6-8

Isaiah didn’t stop to think whether or not he was qualified for the position that God was asking him to fill. He didn’t wonder if he was ready or had the time. He didn’t consider what he would be missing when he went on to continue God’s work. No. Instead, Isaiah heard God’s calling and immediately said, “Yes, I’m here, open and willing to do whatever You ask of me, Lord.”

During the Great Commission, Jesus commanded everyone to go. He didn’t say, “wait until you’re ready.” The command was to simply go, out of our comfort zones and into the world. But with that command, He promised that He would be with us. (Matthew 28:20)

So even though I don’t feel ready to head off to college, there is comfort in Jesus’ promise to be with me. Like Isaiah, I need to be willing and open to go wherever God calls me without hesitation. And that’s hard. But I’m not expected to do it alone.

My challenge for you (as well for myself) is to trust God in His plans for you. Whether He’s preparing you for a new chapter of life or simply giving you another week, trust His plans and say, “Here I am, Lord. Send me.” Remember that His plans are perfect (Psalm 40:5) and trust Him completely.

signi

 

God is Enough

Godisenough

“You’re not good enough.” “You’re not smart enough.” “You’re not strong enough.”

These are the words we tell ourselves. Sometimes, they are the words that we get told. They are the words which remind us of the everpresent truth of our humanness.

We fail. We mess up. And we surely fall short in our relationship with God.

But the good news is this: God is enough. His promises are perfect and His plans never fail.

“This God — how perfect are His deeds!
How dependable His words!
His is like a shield for all who seek His protection.
The LORD alone is God; God alone is our defence.” – Psalm 18: 30-31

How encouraging is it to know that we have a God who is forever perfect! When we fail, He picks us back up. When we forget the meaning of love, He shows us that His love is unconditional. And when we forget our worth, His reminds us of the truth.

My challenge for you this week is to focus on the perfection of God in the midst of our failures. When you feel like you aren’t measuring up to the standards in life, remember that He is enough.

signi

Dear You: A Letter

dearyou

Dear You,

Every day you wake up.
Whether it’s a good day or a bad one,
You live.

Life may not always be wonderful.
It can be full of sadness
And failures
And mistakes.

But those are the things
That help you to grow.
Those are the things
Which make the good so much better.

Because when the storms pass,
The sun always comes.
And when the rain stops,
Rainbows fill the sky.

The bad things in life
Are just pathways to the good.

So while things may not be amazing
In this specific moment,
Look ahead to the future,
To the happiness that is sure to come.

It’ll be worth it.

signi


Thanks for reading friends! Be sure to check out the giveaway! There are still 8 more days to enter. Click here to read more.

Seeing God in the Everyday

Godintheeveryday

I pulled into my parking spot and turned off the engine. From where I sat in the parking lot at school, I had a perfect view of the sunrise. Shades of blue merged into purple and pink. Thin clouds raced across the morning sky as birds happily chirped in the cool air.

I watched as the sun rose all too quickly and the sky turned blue. As I continued my school day, I remembered the beauty and wondered how amazing God is! Later, that night, I opened my Bible and read the words that perfectly expressed the awesome beauty I felt only a few hours before.

How clearly the sky reveals God’s glory!
How plainly it shows what He has done!
Each day announces it to the following day;
each night repeats it to the next.
No speech or words are used, no sound is heard;
yet their message goes out to all the world
and is heard to the ends of the earth.
God made a home in the sky for the sun;
it comes out in the morning like a happy bridegroom,
like an athlete eager to run a race.
Psalm 19:1-5

I’m sure I’m not the only one to wake up some mornings feeling completely away from God. It can be difficult seeing Him work in life when we’re going through the motions and routines.

But, as Psalm 33:6 reminds us, God’s hand is shown throughout all of creation, in the beauty of His created world.

This week, I’d like to challenge you to look for God’s hand in the everyday things such as the sunrises, callings of the birds, and even in the beauty of human life.

signi

Eighteenth Birthday Giveaway! (CLOSED)

Hello, everyone! How are you? So today is my eighteenth birthday! Yay! I wanted to do something special to celebrate so I am hosting a giveaway.

giveaway18

Just like the past two giveaways, there will be TWO winners.

What You Can Win

One person will win this “beauty set.” This prize includes one pair of pink floral socks from Forever 21, one marble necklace also from Forever 21, and one oatmeal, milk & honey bath bomb.

The other person will win this “study set.” This prize includes one mini pink binder, one Dare To Dream marble notebook, and one marble pen.

How To Enter

This is a Raffelcopter Giveaway! Click here to enter.

The giveaway is open from February 4 to February 18, 2018. There are six ways to enter with a total of 8 entry points. Any questions? You can read all of the Terms and Conditions here or email me at happilyabi@gmail.com.

I’m really excited for this giveaway! I hope you have a great day! Good luck :)

signi

Photography: Snow

Hello everyone! How are you? Did you get any snow this week? I did! It snowed on Wednesday so the schools were canceled. Life in the south :)

snowday1

The two days off from school were much needed. To celebrate, my family and I went down to the park to go sledding. It was so much fun! It was also so beautiful seeing all of the trees covered with snow.

snowday4

In the park, there is a bridge over the little stream. The sound of running water was calming. With the snow, it was even more beautiful.

snowday5

There’s something about fresh snow that makes time seem to stop. It’s peaceful and perfect for hot chocolate and reading. :)

Did you get any snow this week? If so, how did you spend your snow day?

signi

Liebster Award

Hello, everyone! How are you? I’m doing pretty well! The second quarter ended yesterday and I finally get a chance to breathe after all of the assignments. Yay! I was nominated by Bella from the Dancing Damsel for the Liebster Award! Many thanks to her! Be sure to check out her blog and her version of the post here.

the-liebster-award-pastel-450x450

The Rules

  1. Acknowledge the blogger who tagged you and display the award button.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asks you.
  3. Give 11 random facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 11 blogs.
  5. Notify the bloggers of their nomination.
  6. And give them 11 questions to answer!

Questions And Answers

  1. What are a few of your goals for 2018? – I actually just posted a blog post on my 2018 goals. You can read it here.
  2. What’s a song you’ve had on repeat lately? – I love listening to “Well Done” by Carly Bannister. Both Carly and her sister Ellie Holcomb performed at Windy Gap at the beginning of the school year and it was amazing! You can listen to the song here.
  3. If you write, what’s a current WIP about? – I haven’t really been writing recently so I’ll skip this question. :)
  4. Do you have any siblings? – Yes! I have two younger sisters who are amazing! I love them so much. :)
  5. Sweet, salty, or sour? – Sweet! I love all kinds of desserts, especially if my mom or sister made them.
  6. Which book do you wish would be turned into a movie? – I would be so excited if The Selection series became a movie! It would be amazing!
  7. What’s a word you always misspell? – I also misspell “misspell”. I forget there are two “s”s.
  8. If you could live in only one city or town for the rest of your life, what would it be? – I’ve always wanted to live in London.
  9. If you could have any superpower, what would it be? – If I could have a superpower, I would want to have the power of teleportation. That way, I could just “poof” myself somewhere instead of having to drive.
  10. What is the best and worst movie you’ve ever seen? – The best movie I saw was Wonder Woman. It was so good! I don’t know the worst movie that I saw.
  11. Why did you start blogging? – I had been thinking about starting a blog for a while before I finally did start writing. It wasn’t until a lot of my friends started blogs that I decided it was finally time. I started Life as a Homeschooled Teen in November of 2014. It was a way for me to practice writing and I continued by adding more posts about life. And now here I am. :)

Tag! You’re It!

  1. A Day in the Life of Anonymous Me
  2. Call Me Ash
  3. Day Dreamer Teen
  4. Dreamers and Dancers
  5. Elsie LMC
  6. Georgie Grl
  7. It’s Louises Life
  8. Joy Unspeakable
  9. Linds 4 Dance
  10. Livalittle Blog
  11. and You!

Questions For You

  1. What are some of your goals for this year?
  2. What are you looking forward to?
  3. What cheers you up?
  4. Give one piece of life advice.
  5. What is your favorite pizza topping?
  6. If you had to move to another country for 10 years, what are some things that you would miss?
  7. What comes to mind when you hear the word “rabbit?”
  8. What is your most reccommended book?
  9. Do you have a bullet journal?
  10. Tea or coffee?
  11. How would you describe your style?

Thanks again to Bella for tagging me! Be sure to check out her blog and I hope you all have a great day! :)

signi