Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Home Again!

I'll be saying that a lot this year!

I'm back from visiting my family for my sister's wedding. It was a beautiful, Christ-honoring wedding, and I do have some pictures to share with you, as well as an amazing story of God's grace and provision for me as I traveled alone. I got to spend lots of time with my mom and dad, which was priceless to me. I don't think we've all sat and talked so much for a long time. I also got to see some aunts, uncles, and cousins at the wedding, as well as visiting with some of my first mother's family in another town in SC. And I got to spend time with my lifelong best friend - although it wasn't at all how we'd planned it (that goes back to the amazing story mentioned above)! So I had a fantastic trip and enjoyed myself tremendously.

I hit the ground running when I arrived home last Wednesday. I had a children's class to teach that night, and the rest of the week was spent in preparation for our church's first service in our new location! That was this past Sunday. I also have some pictures from that to show you - as soon as I can figure out how this iCloud thing works to get pictures from my phone onto my computer. We'll get it figured out.

A week from today we pick up the keys for our new home. I'm so excited to be living in our own house and in the country! In addition to traveling, teaching, and moving our church, we've also been packing up our condo for the move. How do we collect so much stuff??? I'll never figure that out!

I'm also working on keeping my Etsy shop updated while we move, with only vintage items that I can put in an envelope and mail instead of having to make something.

No. I'm not busy. Why do you ask?!

I will do my best to get some new posts up - with pictures - very soon. Thanks for your patience!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

I'm Thankful

Today would have been my mother's 70th birthday, had she lived this long. She was only 37 when she died, so I have a hard time picturing her at 70.

My mother as a young woman
I'm thankful for the 16 years I had her as my mother.

I'm thankful she was willing to go through a risky diabetic pregnancy in the mid-1960s (she carried another baby to 8 months, 4 years later, but that baby didn't survive).

I'm thankful for good memories of my childhood. She wasn't crazy about Christmas, but I was spoiled at Christmas. Although I never got lots of candy. She always made sure I had a big box of fruit and nuts. Fruit and nuts?! And she made a fruitcake every year. Christmas was always big as long as our family could afford it. And by the time we couldn't, I was old enough to understand.

I'm thankful for her, "Night night. Sleep tight. Mama & Daddy love you," to which I would answer, "And I love Mama & Daddy," every night for most of my first 16 years of life. This was accompanied by a kiss on the cheek for each of us. I don't recall ever not going through that little routine unless she was in the hospital. It's a good memory.

I'm thankful for her example of loving and caring for her mother and mother-in-law, both of whom were widows from my earliest memories.

I'm thankful for the few quiet conversations we had about growing up - I had just met Wes a few months before she died, and I remember asking her how I would know when I met "The One." I don't remember exactly what she said, though! I managed to find him, anyway.

When my dad pastored a church in a small town in Tennessee, we had a dialysis machine in our home, which my dad was trained to operate. It worked well for us, as the nearest dialysis facility was 50 miles away in Knoxville.

I'm thankful for her example of patient suffering through illness. As I look back as an adult, I realize just how sick she really was. Of course, she had her difficult days, but as a general rule, she was not a complainer. Especially not around anyone outside the family.

This is how I remember her most. She loved to talk, loved to laugh.
I'm thankful for her quick smile and her love of chats. I inherited both! ;)

I'm thankful that time - and God - does heal wounds. Although I still think of her quite often, and the knowledge that she is gone is always with me, 32 years have passed and the hurt is not there so much anymore. You never forget a loved one, but you do learn to live again. Remember that if you've lost someone precious to you. You will enjoy life again, and the hurt and shadows will fade with the passing of time, even though they will never go away completely.

One of the last pictures taken of Mama, on the right, at a church picnic with her mother

I'm so very thankful for what God has done in our lives in the 32 years since my mother's death. He has given my dad another wife and four more children, 15 grandchildren, and a great-grandson. Weeping endured for a night, but joy came! I've married, had three children, and am now watching my own children begin their adult lives. God has been so so so good to us!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Going Out of Business

Melody Necklace - Swarovski Crystal Teardrop and Crystal Cluster

My daughter, Beth, has an Etsy shop, edbdbeadz,where she sells handmade jewelry. She does an excellent job of making necklaces, earrings, and bracelets and has had some success with her shop, when she has the time to devote to it.

And that's the key in her life right now.

Isabel Necklace - Indian Pink and Clear AB Swarovski Crystals on Silver Chain

Beth is finishing her junior year at West Coast Baptist College. She's going on tour for the college this summer, then she'll enter her very busy senior year. After graduation, she plans to spend at least one year teaching on the mission field. Looking ahead to the busyness of the next couple of years, Beth has decided it's time to shut down her Etsy store.

Sophia Necklace - White Swarovski Pearl Cluster on Silver Chain

Beginning today, Beth is offering 20% off her entire stock of jewelry. In January 2015, she plans to go on a school-sponsored mission trip to Uganda. All the proceeds from her inventory sell-off will go toward that mission trip. If you'd like to help her go to Uganda and receive some nice jewelry in return, pop over and look at her inventory. I hope you'll find something you need! Read below about how to get your discount.

Josselyn Earrings - Aquamarine Swarovski Crystal and White Swarovski Pearl Clusters with Flat Briolettes

When you place an order in Beth's shop, you will be directed to your shopping cart. When you are ready to check out, enter the coupon code CLEAROUT20 in the appropriate box. Your savings will be calculated automatically and your total updated. I hope you'll take a look at Beth's shop! She does great work and her Uganda trip is definitely a worthy cause! Thanks for your support!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday's Fave Five: March 14, 2014

I'm joining Susanne at Living To Tell The Story for Friday's Fave Five, where we take a few minutes to remember five blessings of the week, big or small, and share them with you!

We've had quite a busy week! I have a feeling that won't go away any time soon, as we're moving both our church and our home within the next six weeks! We are excited about it all, but the work ahead seems too much when I look at all I personally have to do, including a one-week trip smack in the middle of everything. This is where Philippians 4:13 comes in - all these things are God's will for this time, and I can do it all through Him!

Here are some blessings from the week:

1. My dress for the wedding is finished, and it fits beautifully! My friend Angela has done a fantastic job of altering it . . . and she still won't take any pay for it. What a blessing she has been! I want to show you a picture, but I'm not sure that my sister would want me to show the bridesmaids' dresses before the wedding. After the wedding, I will definitely share!

2. Coffee. I know it's a small thing, but I really do enjoy my coffee every morning. The amazing thing is that I didn't really start drinking it till a couple of years ago. Now it's an enjoyable part of my morning routine. My younger self would not believe this! ;) Also, having my first sip of coffee every morning always reminds me of my Granny. Every single day that I was ever with her at breakfast, she took her first sip and said, "Mmm. That's good coffee!" I find myself doing that, and I get such a kick out of automatically saying something that my Granny did - especially since I thought it was so funny that she always said it!

3. My passport arrived yesterday. I haven't mentioned this, but we were almost in a panic over our passports for my trip at the end of the month. They were due to expire today, and we know from dealing with the government many times before that it usually takes 6-8 weeks to get official documents processed and returned to us. We didn't find out the dates for my trip to SC until it was within that 6-week window. So Wes did some research and found that we could expedite the process and get our passports renewed and back in our hands in 2-3 weeks' time (for a small fee, of course!). So we mailed them February 18th, and they both arrived this week. Praise the Lord for expedited processing!

4. Good test results. Last year, my husband had an early colonoscopy because of his family history of cancerous polyps. They did find a very small polyp that was already cancerous, which they removed right away. He then went through several full-body scans and other tests to make sure there was no other cancer. Praise the Lord, there was no other cancer anywhere in his body. Last week was his six-month followup on the final tests they did last year, and everything is still fine, across the board.

5. Yesterday was my daughter's spiritual birthday. Nine years ago, she came to me with a troubled face and tears in her eyes, unsure if she was truly saved. She had made a profession of faith very young (at four years old), so I was quick to sit down with her to show her from the Bible how she could be absolutely sure she was going to Heaven. She gained assurance of her salvation that evening, and we saw definite spiritual growth in her life from that point on. In fact, in many ways I see more maturity in her than I do in my own life. She's an amazing young woman, and there is no greater joy in life than to know that my girl is absolutely sure of her salvation!

 What's been going on in your life lately? Have some blessings to share? Feel free to leave a comment, or better yet, join us at Living To Tell The Story!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

An Answer To Prayer

It's been a busy week full of exciting things! We're beginning to see everything come together for our church's move to the area of Kelowna called Rutland. Wes has ordered curtain panels and frames to use for "walls" in the gym of the school where we'll meet. The men have had their first moving session, transferring some literature and office equipment to the new facility. We're beginning to spread the word in Rutland that we're moving over here. We've been discussing nursery options and making arrangements for new blankets and toys for our littles. So many exciting things are going on right now!

You are looking at an answer to prayer!

If you've followed my blog for the past few years, you know that we moved out of a spacious house in a quiet neighborhood into a tiny two-bedroom condo on the main route through town almost three years ago. Condo living, it turns out, is not our cup of tea. Nor is main-street business-district living. So last year we began to pray about finding a house again, and we really wanted it to be at least in a quieter neighborhood closer to the outskirts of town. And deep in my heart, I wanted a single-family home. We aren't above living in a house with a basement suite, or in a condo or a duplex (we've lived in all of those for the past 10 years), but I do enjoy my quiet and privacy. So I asked the Lord to allow us to find a home that would be just ours.

I have to admit, my faith wavered many times as we waited and prayed for the Lord's will. I knew in my innermost heart that God was allowing us to move again, but the hunt wasn't going well. Most houses here, even the smallest ones that aren't even single-family homes, rent for around $1,500-$2,000 per month. We are paying a little less than the lower end of that range for our current apartment, and we knew we couldn't pay more. To find a house at the rental price we currently pay seemed impossible.

Last Friday, though, Wes texted me while I was grocery shopping. There was a single-family house for rent, 15 minutes from where we currently live, and it was the exact same price we are paying now! And it was in the country! He had made an appointment with the owner to view it the next afternoon.

We drove through the country and up the mountain a bit to this house, and when we walked in, it felt like home. It's a modest house - no fancy finishings, but completely adequate for us. There's a creek on one side of the house, and the neighbor's pasture with horses on the other side. The owner tells us that the deer wander through the yard in the spring and summer, following the creek. There's a large deck and trees surrounding the house. We'll still be just 15 minutes from church and most of our church members. The bottom level contains the master bedroom and ensuite bath, a laundry room, and a small living area. Upstairs, there's the open kitchen/dining/living area, two more bedrooms, and a bath. Outside is a full-length front porch, as you can see, and a large deck off the kitchen upstairs. We'll pick up the key on April 15th, and I'll take some pictures of the inside then, while it's still empty.

The Lord has given us the desire of our hearts: to live in our own house in the country, but still close to town. In addition to moving our church, we'll be moving our home in the next 6 weeks. Lord willing, we'll be in our new home by May 1st! I really don't know how blogging will fit in with moving a church and a house, but I will post whenever I can. I'm also trying to keep my Etsy shop running during the move. And there's my sister's wedding at the end of the month! I'll post as often as I can, and try to keep you up to date on everything that's going on.

"Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." I Peter 5:7

"Delight thyself also in the LORD, and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart." Psalm 37:4

"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." Philippians 4:6


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