Wednesday, October 3, 2018

A Year of Losing...and Gaining

If you have been following my posts this summer you noticed that we have had a very difficult year.  It started last October.  Our 17 year old cat was very sick, but she kept hanging on.  We had to put her to sleep.  It was a sad, sad day for our family.  We had Abby from when she was 6 years old and brought home both babies.  They grew up with her.

This was just the beginning of our sorrow.  On October 28 my 96 year old grandmother passed away. She had been diagnosed with cancer (again!) the year before and went through several surgeries until she broke her hip on June 1.  From then on she was in hospitals and then my parents took care of her until she died.  I loved her so much!  This was the last time I saw her on June 17, 2017.

We went up for her memorial on November 1 and that same day my husband got a phone call that his dad passed away the night before in his home.  We were shocked beyond belief.  The death of two of our loved ones so close together.  Thankfully we were with my family, but the grief that set in was deep. He was such a caring grandpa and had so many wonderful stories to share and life skills he imparted.  We miss him so much!

It was a rough and quiet Christmas season as we thought about the recent losses in our family.  I still don't think I've been able to work through these losses with all that continued to happen.

Then, you know, I shared the story of our garage fire on February 13.  

Then I shared our story (or part of it) about waiting.  

What were we waiting for?  
Before I share, let me say that I have never felt so close to God and so full of emotions than when I'm going through a trial.  I love God, but I am desperate for Him even more in those tough times and I know He's trying to teach me total surrender on Him for ALL things.

In June, my husband and I started thinking seriously about a new job opportunity from his company.  It would mean big changes.  We prayed, made lists, prayed and stepped forth in faith.  It started off so well and positive and then there was silence.  We didn't know what to think, feel or do.  So we prayed.  That's when I wrote that blog post.  We waited and it is now 3 months since the step of faith. God was with us and working in our hearts, planning everything for the right time.  

This past week my husband was offered the job!  This means so much to his career and our family.  We are beyond grateful for this answer to prayer and even though it will mean some major changes, we feel confident in this new journey.  


As much as we are excited, we also are anxious as we embark on this new life.  There are so many details we have to work through now.  and the funny thing is I'm feeling the exact same things as I did about moving as when I was waiting.  It's just that total surrender and laying it all at His feet is what I need to do.  


 Is God refining something in your life and heart?
I just never thought about that when we started this process.  

Wherever you are and wherever God is working on you, be there with Him.  


And may I please ask for prayer for our family as we need to sell and buy a house.  I am feeling overwhelmed and not sure how this is all going to work out, but God knows.  Thanks for listening to my story.  I pray that God will meet you in your greatest need.  He loves us!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Where's Part 2? The Waiting...



So, I am going to be honest and personal again.  Truly, I don't know where to begin.  I have been on an emotional roller coaster this summer and I'm still uncertain of what is going to happen.  As I shared in Part 1, we had a fire in our garage.  It's now been 6 months and I think we are getting the final inspections scheduled.

I want to talk today about waiting.  Are you waiting for something?  Has it come to pass?  Was your prayer answered in the way you asked?  Are you still waiting?

I have had to wait for a lot of things: getting accepted to college, passing the ACT exam (I took it 5 times!! another story for another time), getting my first job, getting my second job, waiting for a marriage partner, waiting for a child and then another (those are two more stories I linked to on my blog), waiting for a job, and now waiting again.



It seems that God wants to teach me some things.  This summer I felt compelled to do this devotion called Unblinded Faith  by Elisa Pulliam.  Faith.  What is it?  Do I have enough of it?  I once heard my pastor say something like this, "You don't need more faith, you need faith more often."  I have faith in God.  He saved me from my sins.  I live forgiven.  But everyday faith.  Do I have it often enough?  In Unblinded Faith Elisa unpacks many Scriptures that speak of who God is and what He does.  Everyday I read the passage of Scripture, the devotion, the prayer and I then I write.  I write down all the promises of God and commands of God from that Scripture.  God is faithful, He is true, He is trustworthy.  He says, DO NOT FEAR!!



I have a friend who posts a daily "no fear" verse on Facebook.  I fear because I'm confused about what God desires for me.  We stepped out in faith this summer and I feel like I've been standing on the edge of a cliff.  The wind might blow me over at some point, but God is keeping me from falling.  I don't feel steady or grounded.  But God has made it perfectly clear in His Word He is the only solid rock.  It's on Him I stand, not on my worries, fears or desires.  It's God.

Here are some quotes I've been pondering too:
*"What if the circumstances you're asking God to change are the very circumstances God is using to change you."  -Mark Batterson
*Let your FAITH be bigger than your fear.
*"what if"= fear
  "even if"= faith
*"No present obstacle is ever bigger than God's glory."  -Ruth Chou Simons
*Jesus, we give you our yes and trust You with the outcome.
*"The greater the gale forces in life, the greater the need for peace in Christ." -Julie Sanders

I also found this list of verses to bring calm for the anxious heart from More to Be:  40 Verses


And some verses that were in my prayer journal this summer:










And I've loved these songs:








In all of this I'm learning that true dependence on God is messy, but necessary.  My humanness is overwhelming to me when I see how big God is and how small I am.  Yes, I'm waiting for a prayer to be answered.  It may and it may not, but that doesn't change who God is or my purpose in life.  I will choose to trust in the unknown because I am KNOWN.  I wrestle and it's OK.  God is drawing me deeper to His heart in this journey. It's not about what I want, but His desire for my life.  We step forward in faith and we give each step to Him.



This summer I'm reading Brother Andrew to my kids.  He took leaps of faith and God was with Him each time.  I know God is here right now.  He has been preparing me for what is ahead even though I don't see it clearly at all.  He is there and He knows.

May what I share today help you in any season you have to wait.  Just wait.  Stop and be in God's presence.  Cry, rejoice, be still, on your knees, hands lifted, soul searching prayers, it's ALL in God's hands.  Give Him your everything.

If God chooses a different path, I will trust that is the right way for us.


And this podcast (The Next Right Thing) spoke to me about Looking for Arrows, Not Answers by Emily P. Freeman.  (In fact, this was on February 13, 2018- the date of our fire)

If you think of it, please pray for us to follow God's leading no matter what.  I promise I will share more when I can.  Until then...we wait. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Fire...and my thoughts (Part 1)

 


A little over 5 months ago we had a fire in our garage.  It was accidentally started by us.  But we didn't know about it until 2 hours later.  By then most everything near the fire was very burnt and melted. The heat was intense.  It even melted things on the opposite side of the attic.  

The kids and I were inside the house about 20 feet away.  My husband had left for a dentist  appointment.  About 6 pm we walked out the back door.  I saw this smoke billowing out of the garage and bright orange flames through the far window.  My brain went numb.  My son yelled, "Mom, call 911!"  I froze.  I grabbed my phone and couldn't figure it out.  "I don't know how to call 911!!"  As I frantically was trying to sort how what had happened.  I vaguely remember my son telling me he was in the garage earlier when my husband was sharpening a chisel and some sparks fell on the sawdust.  He said they stamped them out, but apparently not all of them.  I know I shouldn't have done this, but the car was in the garage on the left side where you see the fireman.  I opened the door and more smoke came out.  I called my husband.  He was on his way home.  Then I kept yelling, "Where are firemen??"  The fire station is just a few blocks away.  


The firemen came.  We ran to the front yard and waited.  I was crying.   The kids kept asking questions.  My husband was calm.  We heard glass breaking and saws buzzing.  I couldn't imagine what was going on.  The firemen were so friendly and helpful.  One of them stood right next to us and kept the kids occupied.  My husband was able to get the car out before the firemen boarded up the place where the garage doors used to be.  
We had to park outside for months

From my vantage point I really had no idea what was going on.  They got the fire out pretty quick.  There were probably 20 firemen  and I saw at least 10 emergency vehicles on our street out front.  The garage is behind our house with an alley behind it.  Neighbors started pouring out of their houses and looky loos came by.  It all happened fast and slow.  We eventually went into the house.  I started crying.  The kids asked if we were still going to Awana.  
They were smiling, but they do that for pictures.

It was February 13, the day before Valentine's day.  

We called the insurance company and started going through a process we were not prepared for.  Thankfully, we have very good insurance.  
workbench

I went to bed in shock.  My husband stayed home the next day and we very carefully went into the garage and started scribing our content list.  It was beyond belief.  Everything was so charred and burnt, singed, broken, ugly, smelly, gross and gone!  If it wasn't burnt or melted it was drenched.  EVERYTHING!  We had a lot of stuff in there.  The attic held a lot of teaching things, a huge collection of National Geographic, things from my grandma (who passed away in October), lots and lots of pictures, books, things I wanted to pass down to my kids, camping, and recreation supplies, not to mention all my husband's tools (he's the handy man you call), his golf clubs, a freezer and so much more.  Thankfully our car was saved, but it had melted stuff all over it from the garage door opener.  But it was so smelly I couldn't drive it for a few days.  
My BSF notes


It was the worst Valentine's day ever...or was it?  My husband stayed home and we got to be together the whole day.  And I had made a meal that I was going to bring to church the night before along with a dessert.  We slept in and went through this grief together.  Not so bad after all.
Melted sewing machine cover.

books and memorabilia 


So now it's 5 months later.  We spent a LOT of time going through everything.  The garage frame was left standing and the attic floor was mostly in tact.  But we had to get rid of a LOT of stuff.  It was very hard.  I cried a lot.  But I just remembered it was stuff.  It's just stuff.  
Load after load we took to the dump

Why oh why did this happen to us?  I asked this question and many others in the months after.  I couldn't function much.  Life was a blur.  

We are still living through some hard things which I hope to share in Part 2.  


Also, be sure to get the BOGO deal for Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner which lasts through the end of July.   



Monday, July 9, 2018

2019 Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner + BOGO offer for 2018!!

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*Yearly calendar with extra space for journaling
*Monthly calendars with a space to write goals for each month
*Weekly layout with places for task list, birthdays/appointments and menu
*Tasks list or whatever lists you want to make (I like writing down what I read, memorize, good recipes to remember, etc.)
*Projects lists for birthdays, house projects, business/ministry projects
*Other information like phone numbers, important dates, frequent business listings
*Tear out shopping lists with space at the back to write clothing sizes, gift idea and master shopping lists
*Double sided pocket for storing receipts, stamps business cards, etc.

Of course, one of the best features is the weekly Scripture verse which brings me back to center when I feel that my life is out of control.  And it keeps me focused on what is truly important.  

There are a LOT of ways to use this handy planner.  I keep it next to me and I can even carry it in my purse.  


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Sunday, May 27, 2018

The Lifegiving Parent by Clay and Sally Clarkson Book Review


The Lifegiving Parent by Clay and Sally Clarkson is a much anticipated addition to round out the trio of books by Sally and her daughter Sarah in The Lifegiving Home and The Lifegiving Table.  The Lifegiving Parent is the long awaited book that Clay had been working on since before their ministry for parents began.  There is one main thread through this book and it is that lifegiving parenting starts with the parents sharing the life of Christ in their home and to their children.  The bulk of the book are the eight Heartbeats for Parental Lifegiving.  Clay begins each chapter with a mixture of family stories and Bible truths.  He then breaks down the heartbeat into practical ways to live out in the family.  Sally rounds out the chapter with one of her lifegiving "momoirs."  And the Lifegiving ParenTips reviews the lessons shared in the chapter with an action step.  



This book was full of excellent parenting principles that I hope to live in my home so I can be a life giving parent.  They said that they only scratched the surface in sharing the eight "heartbeats" but I feel they encompass a lot of what God wants parents to develop in their hearts and homes.  One of my favorite chapters was Strengthening Your Child's Faith.  I know that walking my faith journey is helping my children learn about their faith journey.  That is the key to strengthening their faith which is broken down by Clay into belief, trust, assurance, allegiance and life.  But one of my favorite quotes that I want to share with my children is "You are God's...You are loved...You are good."  Being a life giving parent is lot of work, but with God I know He will lead and guide me.  I underlined about half of this book, but this quote defines what I think life giving parenting is for me:  "It's all about helping them find and follow the life of God."  

Be sure to check out the podcast series when Sally interviews several moms and some dads about their life giving ideas.  Also, Clay and Sally do unpack all of the eight heartbeats of parenting in special podcasts they do together.  Links are shared below.  








Find The Lifegiving Parent by Clay and Sally Clarkson at any major book retailer.  

*FTC: I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers.*

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin Book Review

The Sea Before Us (Sunrise at Normandy Book #1) by [Sundin, Sarah]



The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin is a sweeping historical romance set in England during the historic D-Day invasion in 1944.  Lt. Wyatt Paxton arrives in London hoping to earn enough money in the military to repair his broken family relationships.  He begins to prepare for the D-Day invasion and meets a saucy red head English WREN (Woman's Royal Naval Service), Second Officer Dorothy Fairfax.  She and Wyatt find themselves working together and forming a very rocky friendship.  Dorothy has no interest in Wyatt, but her father is delighted with the charming American.  Amidst their regular naval duties, Dorothy finds out that her father's company is losing money and she feels her only option is to ask Wyatt for help.  The two start to investigate and are shocked by their discoveries.  And their friendship hangs in a delicate mess as they head towards one of the biggest showdowns in history.  

Sarah Sundin releases another exciting and adventurous novel filled with romance, intrigue and the complicated stories of war.  I loved how she weaved the stories of Wyatt and Dorothy together to create a constant unbalance of emotions and circumstances.  Her research into this battle was extensive and thorough and it helped me understand significant war attacks.  Sarah is a master at intermingling fact and fiction to fit a beautiful story of authenticity and imagination.  Fall in love with Wyatt and Dorothy as you look at their romance through the lens of war.  It's another book that I was not able to put down.



Visit Sarah Sundin: 
*Blog- Tour of London, Southwick House, D-Day at Sea and Omaha Beach





*I was given a complimentary copy for review by Revell Books.  All opinions are my own.*

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Across the Blue by Carrie Turansky Book Review


Across the Blue by Carrie Turansky is a historical romance set in the early 1900's in Edwardian England highlighting the daring feats of early aviators.  Bella Grayson's father is the owner of a successful newspaper in London.  Her parents want her to marry a wealthy and privileged gentleman, but Bella wants to be a journalist.  With her parents permission and begrudging promise to find a suitor, Bella begins to write secretly for the paper about the recent aviators who want to be the first to fly across the English Channel.  She meets James Drake who accidentally lands his plane on her father's property.  She becomes friends with him and encourages and supports his efforts.  They begin to develop a deeper friendship, but obstacles start stacking against them.  Will the race to win give James the confidence to pursue Bella for a future together?  Will Bella have the courage to continue her writing despite the setbacks?

This novel was riveting both in content and style.  Carrie Turansky skillfully weaves a fascinating story of the early aviator attempts to cross the English Channel.  She includes a lot of historical background of manners, fashion, appropriate courting methods and beautiful landscapes.  I was captivated by the sweet friendship between Bella and James and the secrets they chose to keep from each other in order to save themselves from potential disaster.  The unique mystery and thrilling adventures of the pilots kept me entertained through the whole novel.  I highly recommend Carrie's new romance for your reading pleasure.  










Visit Carrie Turansky:
*Across the Blue
*Pinterest- Across the Blue
*Website
*Facebook

You can get a copy of Across the Blue from any major online book retailer or Amazon.



*I received this book as a complimentary copy in exchange for a review.  All opinions are my own.*