Friday, December 1, 2017

Cari Jean's Thankful List 2017

On Facebook this month, I did a #30DaysOfThankfulness and posted each day what I am thankful for. I wanted to compile my complete list in one spot - so here it is!

Day 1: I really am thankful that God took me, someone with a past of swearing, alcohol abuse, rebellion, and other types of sinful behavior, and made me into a new creation, which can only truly be done through JESUS!

Day 2: Thankful that even on more challenging days, there is always something to be thankful for, and today I'm thankful for chocolate!

Day 3: The first snowfall of the year always reminds me of this Bible verse. Thankful that all the promises in His word will come to pass.

Day 4: I watched a movie yesterday called The Last Face (it's a tough movie about the civil war that took place in Liberia). I found myself feeling more thankful than ever that we live where we do and that all of our basic needs get met each and every day. Not only does my family have a cozy apartment that shelters us from the cold and provides a peaceful place to sleep, but we always have food to eat for every meal, hot water whenever we need it, and transportation to get us where we need to go. It's easy to take those things for granted, but we need to remember that not everyone has some or all of these things.

Day 5: Today I'm thankful for knowing that when my time on Earth is up, I will get to spend eternity with Jesus. Praying for all those affected by the horrible tragedy in Texas.

Day 6: Thankful that I have a daughter who has the gift of encouragement. We have befriended an elderly widow in our building and every time Faith sees her, Faith has an encouraging word for her. It is definitely one of Faith's super powers!

Day 7: It has been a desire of our hearts for Faith to find a group of kids that she could comfortably socialize with and I am so thankful she has found that at Inspire Collective! Thank you so much Nicole Elliott and also her teachers, Melissa Hyatt, Beth Eidahl, Julie Hathaway, and all the other moms involved for doing this every week!

Day 8: I used to want to have a lot of friends but now I realize the quality of friendships is much more important than the quantity. So thankful for the few good friends I have that I can be completely honest with, laugh with, pray with, and cry with.

Day 9: I'm thankful for my marriage and that my husband is a prayer warrior who loves God's word and seeks His truth. I pray that God continues to use the two of us together to advance His Kingdom.

Day 10: Thankful that even though Faith has a bad cold and her back molars are making her feel even more miserable, she is still trying to maintain a positive attitude. Please say a prayer that she gets a good sleep tonight.

Day 11: Thankful for all those in the Armed Forces that have served or are serving in the military. Our nation is blessed to have the many freedoms that it does and much of it is thanks to our veterans and the sacrifices they have made.

Day 12: I'm truly thankful for the opportunity to gather with other believers and worship the King. There is nothing like His presence and it is always encouraging to hear so many amazing testimonies! Blessed beyond belief to serve such an amazing GOD!!!! 


Day 13: I am super thankful I have not caught Faith's cold (like her dad has). I'm doing everything in my power - including lots of prayer - not to get sick! 

Day 14: Sometimes I think it would be nice to have certain gifts, like the ability to sing, or to play an instrument really well. But then I realize I need to be thankful for the ones God has given me and that He wants me to use those particular gifts for His glory. So today I thank God for gifting me with the ability to write. I hope and pray that He allows me to minister and bless others through this gift He has given to me.

Day 15: Faith went to the dentist today and I'm very thankful she has such great teeth, not to mention a beautiful smile!

Day 16: I have to admit I don't rest very well - there is always something I "should be doing." But today I'm thankful that since wasn't feeling the best, I was able to do just that!

Day 17: Faith has had a lot of struggles with getting good sleep through the years so I am very thankful her sleep has greatly improved and now sometimes she'll sleep for 10 straight hours, which used to be unheard of for her. At one time she had memorized the following Bible verse and used to recite it before going to bed.

Day 18: Thankful for my husband and daughter supporting me in my freelance writing endeavors - especially in the midst of always helping me to meet my deadlines!

Day 19: I'm so thankful that God never fails to meet my needs. 

Day 20: Thankful that God sees me and all my struggles and that He's always just a prayer away.

Day 21: This is one of my favorite Bible verses and I'm so thankful, not just today but every day, for all the truths it contains.

Day 22: Even though it's definitely a challenge, I am thankful that we've decided to homeschool our daughter. It's just so awesome to see the progress she is making!

Day 23: Today and every day I'm thankful for my parents whose love and support throughout the years have meant the world to me. I'm blessed that they live so close and that we can go to their home for family gatherings to eat, laugh, relax, and just enjoy each others company. I'm also very thankful that each of them are in good health so that they can fully enjoy their grandchildren and great grandchildren! I pray God continues to bless them abundantly!

Day 24: Thankful to serve a God who can restore what has been broken and take what the enemy meant for bad and turn it into something good. 

Day 25: Every time I hear my daughter sing, I'm thankful. One of the reasons I'm so grateful is because at one time we weren't even sure she would be able to talk, let alone sing. We were told she would be nonverbal, but God had other plans! Hearing her sing (especially worship songs) truly fills my heart with joy!

Day 26: Feeling thankful to have such an amazing mother, father, and sister-in-law. They truly are treasures and I'm so glad to have such a wonderful relationship with each of them.

Day 27: It's never fun to go through tough situations or experience difficult challenges. That being said, I'm thankful that God does allow us to go through such things because sometimes it's the only way to become the person He has destined us to be and instill in us the qualities He desires for us to have.

Day 28: I'm thankful for good days (like today) when things are so peaceful and everything goes according to schedule.

Day 29: I am thankful for my husband and especially his words of affirmation and the encouragement he has given me through the years to pursue God's plan for my life. His prayers give me strength to continue to fight the many battles that have come our way and to never give up! 

Day 30: Ever since I was a baby diagnosed with a congenital heart defect I have had many people praying for me. I can honestly say that the prayers of those righteous men and women were effective! I am so thankful for the people that continue to pray for me, and also for my daughter. 

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Faith's Thankful List 2017

For the past couple of years, I have posted Faith's thankful list on Thanksgiving.

Before I get to her list, I just want to say how very thankful I am to have a daughter who not only loves to encourage others, but that she really is grateful for the things she has and the people in her life.

The first year we did her thankful list was in 2013 and some of the thing son her list included Wheel of Fortune, her bed, and mommy and daddy. In 2014, she said she was thankful for her grandma, seeing her grandparents in Canada, her clothes, and her apartment. Some of the things that made her thankful list in 2015 included her whole family and worship music. Last year her list contained her TV shows, her family, and books and stories.

Here is Faith's  2017 Thankful List: 

Her Grandma and Grandpa: We are so thankful to live so close to my parents. Faith loves visiting their place and getting together with her aunts, and cousins. We were thankful to get to see some of them today on Thanksgiving and are looking forward to next month when we'll get to see more of them!

Faith and Grandpa and Grandma on her birthday
Her Grandmother and Grandfather: I'm sad we don't get to see her Canadian grandparents very often but I do treasure the times we have gotten to spend with them. Faith loves them dearly and it's always a treat to hear from them or get something from them in the mail!

Phoning her Auntie Joh: We get to talk to Rob's sister, Johanna at least once a week and it is a big highlight for her. She loves haring about Joh's adventures like her trip to England, her concerts for the choirs she's involved in and all about her greyhound, Rosie and cat, Ruby.

Faith with me and her grandparents and Auntie Joh in 2014
Going outside in nice weather: We were blessed with a warm October, and although most of November has been cold and we had snow earlier in the month, there have still been some nice days to get out and enjoy the fall weather. Today it reached 67 degrees!

All of her cousins: Faith has seven cousins and she enjoys seeing them when she's able. This past summer she was able to spend some time with her Nebraska cousins. She also loves seeing her big cousins when they're at Grandma and Grandpa's. She even has 2 baby second cousins with 2 more on the way!

Faith and Grandma with her two baby cousins Marla and GracieLynn
Her blended food and feeding pump: I've been blending Faith's food for over a year now and I'm glad this is one thing she is thankful for! She used to hate the loud sound of the blender and would want to be in her room with the door closed while I blended. Lately, she is wanting to help me blend her food so she wants to be in the kitchen with me.

Her mom and dad: I'm glad to know she is thankful for her mom and dad. We have certainly had some challenges this year with raising our teenager but at the end of the day she knows she is loved and I'm know the feeling is mutual!

Us on Thanksgiving Day 2017
Inspire Collective: This is a faith-based homeschooling group that meets once a week where kids are grouped together according to their age and have science, music, and history class. Even though it starts at 9:00 a.m., Faith is always excited to get up and go to Inspire. She loves her three teachers and thoroughly enjoys hanging out with the other kids.

Making new friends: Because of Inspire, Faith has had some new friends that are around her age. She especially loves the seven girls in her class and I'm so glad they treat her with so much kindness. Faith has also made some new friends in our building - they are elderly ladies who Faith and I take the time to visit whenever we see them in the lobby. Faith is very sweet with them and tries to encourage them whenever she can.

Faith in music class at Inspire
I am thankful today and every day for the many blessings the Lord has provided. 
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving and I hope you did too!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Faith's Fourteenth Birthday

Last year I had a tough time getting used to the idea that my daughter had somehow turned into a teenager. This year, I'm having a hard time believing that my daughter is 14 years old. 14!

How in the world did that happen?

Admittedly, her birthday started a little rough with Faith waking up saying she didn't want to celebrate. I chalked it up to her being really tired due to her long day on Tuesday which had begun at 7:30 a.m. If you know Faith, you know that is really early for her.

Somehow in the midst of her crankiness, we managed to get her up and into her chair for her first feeding of the day without the occurrence of any major battles.

When Faith heard her auntie Joh singing Happy Birthday to her while leaving a message, her mood shifted to being happy and joyful. We called Joh back, who had taken time during her lunch break to make the birthday call. We also talked to her grandparents in Canada, which helped as well. After the phone calls, she decided she did want to celebrate her birthday after all, which included going ahead with her party (Thank goodness!).

Knowing Faith would probably be tired (she has a big day on Tuesday which involves a homeschooling group), we decided to have a smaller party with her grandparents and some people who live in our building that we have befriended. Since a few of the people have disabilities and don't drive, we figured the community room in our downstairs lobby would work well.


Faith did well for most of her party but began running out of steam toward the end. After we cleaned up, we asked her if she wanted to go to church. New Life had been having a special speaker all week and Wednesday evening was the last service.
She totally surprised us by saying she wanted to go! So off we went to continue her birthday celebration. She even wore her "Birthday Girl" ribbon that had been pinned to her shirt for her party, so several people from church wished her a Happy Birthday - which she loved!

Toward the end of the message, nearly everyone in attendance went to the alter for prayer. After Faith had gotten prayed for, a friend of ours on the worship team asked if she wanted to go up and worship with her. Faith hesitated at first, but when she realized I would go with her, she decided to give it a try. She wasn't too sure what to think at first, but she eventually relaxed.

What a wonderful experience and the perfect ending for
what turned out to be an amazing birthday for a 14-year-old!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Happy Belated Anniversary to Us!

We got married on Rosh Hashanah (which is the Jewish New Year). So because our day wasn't going so well on the 7th of September, which is the day we got married, we decided to celebrate today, which is the date of this year's Rosh Hoshanah.

For this anniversary blog post, I was going to write something elaborate and in-depth about some things I have learned in being married for 15 years (and all that I am continuing to learn). However, every time I tried to construct it in my head, it just wouldn't come together.

I wanted to share some of our highs and lows, some of the great memories and not-so-great ones. I wanted to be an encouragement to other married couples who might be struggling.

Instead, I wrote my husband a letter thanking him for his constant support, encouragement, and patience. I'll spare you all the details, but I also told him that I'm glad in the midst of the many challenges we have faced these past 15 years, we have simply refused to give up on one another.

If I were to give any advice to those who might be newlyweds or who are struggling in their marriage, it would be this: Buy the book, "Love and Respect" by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. The book centers around one simple truth found in the Bible:

Each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." Ephesians 5:33 

I wish I had read this book when it came 2004; it may have saved me a lot of heartache. But I also know God sent it my way in His perfect timing. 

I could write so much more, but I think I'll save it for some other time. Maybe someday my husband and I will write a book on everything we've gone through in our marriage. For now, I look forward to all that God has for us in the coming years as we continue to grow and learn and seek His will for our lives. 

Here are some pics from our wedding day on Rosh Hoshanah 15 years ago!

I'm looking forward to the next 15 years with this guy!