Saturday, March 24, 2012

Why I Need a Typewriter - Persuasive Letter by Alli Stilp - almost age 8

Alli (2nd grade) had an assignment at school to write a persuasive letter to her parents.  Lucky us, her eighth birthday is tomorrow so she she took advantage of the assignment to tell us WHY she needs a typewriter for her birthday.  Her teacher laughed so hard that she shared it with other teachers at school.  After I read it, I knew why.  Without further ado, here is Alli's letter (with no word changes or corrections).  Don't you want to go buy her a typewriter now?

Dear my most loving and adoring Mother Jodi,

I am writing to you to ask you to get me a typewriter.  This will mean that I will be responsible with it.  Just think about getting me a typewriter.  I would be soooo happy!  I mean hugging you till you fall over sayin "Thank you".  I know and agree that I don't take so much care of things, but with a type writer I will because I want it (typewriter) so much.

I could use it for Monthly projects and the note cards to go with it.  You to wouldn't have to type it on the computer.  I would type it on my typewriter.  Isn't typing kind of hard for you.  I kind of wastes you time when you could be making dinner for the rest of the family, then typing my note cards and paragraph for my Monthly Project.

I can also use it to write nice and loving notes to you and my friends and family.  Don't you love too be loved with notes and type writing letters.  If you were sick you could just tell me to write a note to you.  I would go to my room a start typing a loving and kind note that would prolemly make you feel better inside.

Of cours to me it would make my life better.  Do you want my life to be better?  I mean my life is already good, but it would problemley make it better if you got me a typewriter.  And besides Lucy Buchstaber has one.  We could be twins.  Don't you beilve that my life would be better with a typewriter?  I want a typewriter because I went to Lucy's house and I typed on hers.  I thought it was awesome and fun.  That's why I want one and other reasons.

Mom consider this:  20 years from now I will still have it.  Obviously I know they are expensive but just tell dad to work harder to get the money for it.  If you don't get one for me then I will be sooo sad on my birthday morning.  And I want my birthday to be the best 8 turning birthday yet.

Your Most Dearest Daughter,

Alyssa Claire Stilp

P.S.  I only turn eight once.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

How Yesterday's Story Ends (Part Two of One Sweaty Mile at a Time)

These are the unedited notes from my quiet time yesterday.  Sorry for the rough writing, but I wanted to get it out...

Today I read the follow up to yesterday's story in Numbers.  Chapter fourteen goes on to give more details about how the Israelites reacted, Caleb's plea to get them to view the situation through God's eyes instead of their own, and the devastating consequences that came as a result of their decision.  The word choices in the writing were so interesting that I found myself making lists.

The Israelites viewed the hurdle of taking over the Promised Land through their own eyes, choosing only to see the giants waiting to attack them and not the God who had disarmed them.  Because of this, they...

1.  Threw a fit.  (vs. 1 says, "Raised their voices.")
2.  Wept aloud. (vs. 1)
3.  Blamed everyone except themselves.  (vs. 2 - "All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron..")
4.  Over-exaggerated their situation.  (vs. 2 - "If only we had died in Egypt!  Or in this desert!  Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword?")
5.  Wished they were dead. (vs. 2)
6.  Wanted to CHOOSE to return to a life of slavery and bondage.  (vs. 4 - "We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.)

Basically the entire nation self-destructed and fell into a woe-is-me depression in less than 24 hours.  Caleb (our hero from yesterday) and his friend Joshua stood up in front of the emotionally unstable people and tried to rally them with a pep talk, listing out several reasons why there is no need for their dire mood.  They encouraged the Israelites to...

1.  Look forward, not back.  (vs. 7-8 - "The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good.  If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us.")  The implied message here is to stop fantasizing about the life they left behind in Egypt.  (It wasn't great anyway.)  Instead look forward to the life that lies ahead, living in a land that is "exceedingly good" and promised to them.
2.  Don't sabotage the promise.  Did you catch the "if" in verse eight?  Caleb and Joshua remind their countrymen that the promise comes with a caveat of obedience to God.  They beg the Israelites to hold up their end of the covenant and remain faithful to God.
3.  Don't rebel.  (vs. 9 - "Only do not rebel against the Lord.")
4.  Don't be afraid.  (vs. 9 - "Do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up.")
5.  Remember the LORD is with us.  (vs. 9 - "The enemy's protection is gone, but the LORD is with us.  Do not be afraid of them.")

You'd think the Israelites would snap out of it and turn their eyes to the LORD.  But instead, "the whole assembly talked about stoning Caleb and Joshua."  (vs. 10)  At this point God gets mad.  He threatens to annihilate them all, but Moses intercedes for the people and God relents.  God forgives the Israelites, but doles out some stiff consequence.  God says, "As surly as I live I will do to you the very things I heard you say:  in this desert your bodies will fall.  As for your children that you said would be taken as plunder, I will bring them in to enjoy the land you have rejected, but your children will suffer for your unfaithfulness."  The consequence for disbelief and rebellion was death.  In the end God gave the Israelites exactly what they said the wished for - we need to be careful what we wish for!

The converse was true.  Caleb and Joshua didn't suffer the same fate.  The reward for belief and obedience was life.  Instead God said, "But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it."

Definitely something to ponder...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

One Sweaty Mile at a Time

I can't find the lone picture I have of Carissa, Danielle and I.
This one is of Carissa and I before we ran 17 miles.
We unknowingly wore our matchy matcherson's T-shirts.
And yes, we're wearing mascara but we started mid-day, so don't judge.  :)
I'm nine days into the toughest two-week stretch of marathon training.  By the end of these fourteen days, Carissa (Running Buddy Number One), Danielle (Running Buddy Number Two), and I will cover 105 miles.  Running.  That figure is staggering to me.  Mind-blowing.  And yet every day we're donning our running gear, hitting the pavement, and slogging out one sweaty mile at a time.

Breaking down this huge challenge into daily doses has made it surprisingly manageable.  It feels surreal to me that I continue to cross off double digits runs from my training chart and still live to tell about it.  My muscles are fatigued.  I'm hungry all the time.  And a power nap has squeezed its way into my daily rhythm.  But I'm doing it and it feels so empowering.

Today I read a story in the book of Numbers, chapter 13.  The Israelites had traveled across the desert and were on the verge of entering the land God promised to give them.  Moses sent twelve spies on a stealth mission into enemy territory to scope it out and devise a military strategy.  In spite of a promise from God that He would give them the land, the spies came back shaking in their boots.  One by one they stood before Moses and the whole Israelite community.  They affirmed the bounty and beauty of the land.  But followed up the praise with reports of a land filled with giants and valiant warriors that would be impossible to beat. They told the Israelites, "The land we explored devours those living in it.  All the people we saw were of great size.  We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them."

But two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, viewed the challenge not through their own eyes, but through the eyes of their God.  The God who parted the Red Sea and rescued them from the Egyptians.  The God who made bread fall from the sky every morning.  The God who promised to give this abundant land to them to be their inheritance.

Caleb stood up, silenced the people before Moses and said, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it."  In the face of huge obstacles and impossible odds, Caleb chose to trust the promise of a God who calls Himself Faithful.  If only the people would have listened to Caleb.  They would have been spared great heartache and many wasted years in the desert.

I don't know what impossible obstacle or huge challenge lies in your way.  But I encourage you to not allow yourself to be overwhelmed by the magnitude.  Don't view the challenge through your own eyes.  Instead trust the God who calls Himself Faithful.  He keeps His promises to His people.  He gives strength to the weary.  Peace to the anxious.  Direction to those who seek it.  Let Him show you how He views your challenge and then follow Him, one sweaty mile at a time.