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God’s ways are perfect

For so many years the Lord has asked me to surrender everything to Him.

Not to spend time worrying about the “needs”, not to make long lists of things required, but to just surrender.

Last fall, He took me through another season of surrender.

Each morning, the Lord would speak to my heart about material things, stuff which hold a value or are special in some way.

Then He’d ask.

Are you willing to give it up if I ask you to?

I’m well aware that all I think of as mine is really His and therefore, I would respond with a “yes”.

Some days, it was easier to say than others.

I honestly began to think we were going to move again, the way God was asking me to surrender everything.

It was even down to family heirlooms, items which wouldn’t mean anything to most people, but are precious to me.

At times, I had to work at not letting my mind begin to expect some major change, because God has asked me to get rid of everything before, to let go of all personal property and simply trust Him for the future.

But God wasn’t preparing me to move.

He was making sure my fingers were not grasping the things He’s placed in our care.

Because in October He had us start a small furniture business.

Suddenly, I was overwhelmed with things.

I had to spend a lot of time praying about what God wanted me to do with each thing.

Find places to store all the things until they could be sold.

It’s been an interesting journey since then.

We’ve been blessed to pass on some things to others who need them.

We’ve enjoyed restoring many items and getting them back into usable condition.

We’ve learned a great deal about furniture, as well as great deal about ourselves.

There’s been times when we acquired an item and I’d want to keep it.

But, God had already laid the groundwork, nothing belongs to me, so I’m able to do whatever God leads.

Nothing is more important to me than Jesus.

Sometimes, His will is for an item to stay with us.

At least for now.

But through it all I’ve been so blessed to be able to “let go”.

For nothing on this Earth is permanent.

Nothing material will make it into heaven, only the souls of those who put their trust in Jesus Christ.

Paul said it best:

Philippians 4:11-13 NKJV — Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for all Your blessings. Thank You for teaching me how to trust You and not to put my expectations into stuff. Lord, thank You for walking with me, Your patience is amazing! I know You hold me in Your hands and are with me at all times. Lord, please never allow me to be choked and distracted by the cares of this world, but instead to use all You have placed in my hands for Your kingdom. Jesus, I want my treasure to be in heaven. You know that sometimes I forget and struggle with trying to treasure things here on Earth. Please guard my heart from that snare. Thank You again for Your faithfulness and patience. Thank You for Your incredible ways! You truly are great and greatly to be praised! Amen.

A scary moment

We had a moment a few nights back.

It was dark and we’d been in bed for a while.

A firetruck pulled up in front of the neighbor’s house.

Our neighbor is a military wife with three little ones, whose husband is away serving our country.

They’ve not been here long, so I’ve not felt like we’ve been able to build a solid relationship yet.

None of this mattered when we saw the truck.

We went over to see if we could help.

It was the carbon monoxide alarm and understandably the children were cold and frightened.

As the fireman questioned my neighbor, she held her youngest and tried to calmly answer everything.

I stood near the car with the two other children.

I’d grabbed some blankets and so had another neighbor, to keep them warm.

The oldest girl was crying.

“This is so scary! I don’t like it! I don’t want any more scary stuff like this!”

For a moment I was unsure about how to comfort her.

For a child who knows me, I’d just hug them, but she didn’t know me that well.

She continued.

“I don’t know what to do! I don’t want anything else scary to happen!”

Then the Lord reminded me to speak truth.

I got closer, so she could hear me over the fire truck and said, “We don’t need to worry, because Jesus has you in His hands.”

Her sister caught my words first, and her little face broke into a smile.

She nodded.

I spoke again and gently patted the oldest on her hand.

“Jesus has you in His hands and we can trust Him. He has kept you safe tonight, and we can trust Him.”

She calmed down and when her mother returned, she was no longer crying.

I was so honored to be used by the Lord to bless our neighbors.

Especially, the children as they are very precious indeed.

Mark 10:14-16 NKJV — But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for keeping our neighbors safe. Thank You for the firemen who came to make sure our neighbors were protected. Lord, thank You for comforting them. Thank You that You are our refuge and strength. Lord, thank You for all the ways You bless us. May we find comfort in Your truth and security in Your salvation. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

Sometimes…I think we might be…

crazy.

It’s not the first time nor do I expect it to be the last.

But about a month ago my husband surprised me.

He called me from work to say, he’d purchased some furniture.

I didn’t know what to say.

Although, I happen to love furniture and I find refurbishing furniture really fun, I wasn’t expecting this.

If anyone knows my hubby, they can tell you he’s one of those guys who does things.

He’s rarely (if ever) hindered by indecision.

He can make choices and move forward into change far better than I.

This was one of those moments.

He explained that he’d been praying.

With my health, I’m really restricted to what I’m able to do.

So, he’d been praying for something we could do together.

We have been praying as a couple for opportunities to teach our son new skills and to that end my husband has been doing some woodworking with Jase on the weekends.

The other thing he’d been praying about is our desire for missions.

We want people to hear about Jesus, both here and around the world.

Since our family won’t be traveling, we’ve been praying for any opportunities to use our talents to spread the gospel.

The purchase of furniture was the action upon our heart’s desire.

We’ve decided to redo furniture and sell it.

Our focus is to make money for missions.

Of course, we are going to sell anything we can in this endeavor and be as wise as possible with our purchases.

It’s already given our family lots to do.

We’ve spent hours cleaning and researching various things.

We’ve prayed extensively about the best way to handle this.

Along with the furniture, we also got home furnishings and so we’ve opened a booth on Bonanza.

My husband’s idea was to name it Hope’s Treasure Chests Booth.

(He loves the play on words and of course, he loves me so…)

But the name for the spreadsheet is Matthew 19:21.

Because that is why we are doing this.

Although, doing this seems crazy, I know that God is the reason we are.

Therefore, I can trust Him with the results.

May He be glorified in us today!

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for stretching me. Thank You for teaching me how to take baby steps as I learn to do something new. Lord, You alone are worthy of all praise, honor, and glory. Please help us to hear You clearly, to see Your plans, to obey You in all things. For we do not want to waste a moment, but we want to live unto You alone. Thank You for all Your blessings. We praise Your holy name, Jesus. Amen.

Yesterday was…

Thanksgiving for our family.

My husband went to work on Thursday so we had already made plans to celebrate on Sunday.

We sang some Christmas carols.

(I know we were blending two seasons, but we love Christmas music and sing it as early as possible.)

We read the Pilgrim’s story.

My heart breaking all over again for the sacrifices those dear people made.

Then we took turns writing what we are thankful for in the back of the book.

My husband carved the turkey and we discussed a few memories while filling out plates.

“Well, two years in a row. We over cooked the broccoli and cheese.”

“It must be that old crockpot. It wasn’t in there more than an hour.”

“Remember how people were eating your honey-butter straight out of the dish while we were in the UK, Mom?”

“They did?! I don’t remember that.”

“Yeah, it was for the cornbread, but Daddy caught them passing it around like a side dish.”

“What’s in these mashed potatoes? They’re really good.”

“Butter, sour cream, milk,…”

“Do you remember the play we put on at the school?”

“Yes, and how the one line he did turned the play into a comedy!”

“I think of him every time I read that!”

It didn’t take long for talking to subside into eating.

After cleaning up most of the family played a board game twice and then a card game..

Later, we watched three episodes of the Chosen.

(If you’ve not seen Season One of the Chosen, you can download their app for free. Dallas Jenkins is the creator and it’s wonderful.)

It was a lovely day of thankfulness and family.

Something my husband and I cherish and realize won’t always be.

Our children are growing up so fast and we know they belong to God.

We want them to go, to do whatever God calls them.

We want them to be people completely surrendered to His perfect will.

Which means we have to surrender our own desires and plans.

Because they only live under the same roof with us for a season.

A season we are so thankful for.

No matter what the future holds, may we never spend so much energy preparing for tomorrow that we miss the blessings of today.

As my husband began his prayer yesterday: “Lord, we really have so much to be thankful for…”

He’s so right!

We have today.

Dear Lord Jesus,

It’s true, we have so much to thank You for. You have given us so much each and every day. Although things can be scary and the future still seems so unpredictable, I thank You that You promise to never leave us. Thank You for providing for us. Thank You for carrying us through. Lord, please continue to help us see the blessings in today. Please help us to live wholly unto You in each day. Lord, we want to serve You, to be close to You, to love You. Please help us to do so. Thank You for yesterday. Thank You for today. I praise Your holy name, Jesus. Amen.

Grandbabies!

Her cardboard house was set up.

Her doll babies were out.

I sat nearby with her one month old brother in my arms.

I was burping him.

So, she began to burp her’s.

I grabbed my phone and couldn’t get a better picture than this, but it was a precious moment, none the less.

Next week our daughter returns to University.

I’m blessed to get to watch the kids a few times a week.

Grandbabies are so fun!

To look at our little granddaughter’s sweet smile and remember my own girls as wee people.

To listen to the cute baby noises of our grandson and remember the bundle of blanket which held our newborn son.

These gifts seem all the sweeter the second time around.

I love being a mother.

I love each of our precious children.

It’s compounded and multiplied when adding in grandbabies!

And it brings an even more precious memory to mind.

As much as I love these people, young and younger, God loves me even more.

Because His love is so much deeper, purer, and unmeasurable.

My sinful heart has major limitations, which hinders my ability to love as God does.

And yet He’s teaching me daily how to love more.

Grandbabies are easy to love.

Just one look at our grandchildren or children and my heart seems to expand.

Does God feel that way when He looks at me?

Romans 5:5 NKJV — Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
I John 4:7‭-‬11 NKJV

for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God.
John 16:27 NKJV

Not only does He love me far beyond my understanding, the same is true for you.

What a blessing to be loved by God!

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your love. Thank You for creating us and the universe we live in. Lord, thank You for sustaining me. Lord, thank You for our family and friends. I’m so blessed by so many people. Lord, I’m humbled by Your love and blessings. Please continue to reach those who have yet to know You. Please let nothing stand in the way of their hearts accepting Your love. Thank You for all You have done for me. I praise Your holy name. Amen.

Just an average Wednesday

Some days seem to be just getting things done.

Today has been one of those.

I got up early, but I didn’t stick to my normal routine.

However, the garden got watered, prayer and Bible happened, I ate breakfast.

I needed to get my shots today, so Anne and I had planned to drop off the things we’ve been setting aside for “give away”.

She kindly loaded the car.

Jase and Anne are no longer allowed in the office, so both packed school work.

They both sit in the car and use the 30 minutes to get things done.

Afterwards, Anne drove us to the donation drop off.

She’s still working on getting her hours for her license.

I wanted to go in and look for frames.

We have another project in the garage, but I’m hoping to finish it tonight.

Over the weekend I realized I’ve not started making any Christmas presents for our family and friends.

After praying about it and looking through the yarn box, I dug out some yarn.

One of my “to do” items was checked off this morning as I finished a gift for our little nephew.

Hopefully, I’ll start on more little creatures later in the week for our other nephew.

As our homeschooling day wraps up, I am thankful.

It’s an average Wednesday.

Average in nothing unusual, nothing out of the norm.

What a blessing!

God has patiently and faithfully walked us through the day.

He’s blessed us with getting our school work done.

He has blessed us with food and a comfortable house.

He’s guided and directed us as we did the tasks at hand.

Praise God!

I love how He is in the details of an ordinary day.

Like having exactly enough change for the bill at the allergist.

Like the new frame I found for $4.

Like our teens getting through their school work with smiles.

And so many more things.

1 Chronicles 29:13 KJV — Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.

Psalm 44:8 KJV — In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever. Selah.

Praise the Lord!

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for an ordinary Wednesday. Thank You for Your faithfulness to us. Thank You for Your provision. Thank You for Your sustaining us. Thank You for walking with us through every part of our day and on into the night. Lord Jesus, it is easy to miss the little blessings, or to grow callous to the days which seem full of work without end, but I thank You for helping me to see the blessings in today. I thank You for showing me that even in the midst of a busy week there’s many things to praise Your for. May our hearts continue to praise You day after day! Amen!

She finished them!

It’s a shame I didn’t think to get before pictures of most of the furniture.

With my husband’s vacation being cancelled, Anne was in more of a hurry to try and get these done.

But I can tell you, they needed work.

There was definitely a reason all of the pieces put together was $50.

The tall dresser was in the best shape, as the long dresser had water damage on top as well.

The night stand had three burn marks and water damage.

The bench had stains on the top and a really big black widow spider living inside.

(One of those moments when I moved faster than normal!)

It was definitely an opportunity.

Anne learned a lot about the joys of renovation.

She also got to add her own special touch by painting flowers on the different pieces and the knobs.

Through it all I prayed and praised God.

Because I really didn’t help her very much.

Monday and Tuesday I helped some, but by Wednesday she’d learned each step and took over.

When it came to painting the mirror she took her time and was super careful.

Last night, Tim and hubby carried the dressers upstairs.

The smaller pieces we did previously.

We all commented on how her hard work paid off.

I love that God gave Anne this project.

I love how the furniture looks.

I love that Anne has gained a skill along with confidence to try something new.

I love that she now has furniture to take with her, whenever and wherever God leads her as an adult.

God’s ways are always best.

I’ve needed to be reminded of that this week.

I’ve been reading the book of Job on my Bible app, but didn’t have it bookmarked in my Bible.

So, I knew it wasn’t a coincidence when my Bible fell open to Job 38 yesterday morning.

God’s words to Job were exactly what I needed to hear.

I had wanted to do this with Anne, every step of the way.

But that wasn’t what happened, because God knows best.

Yesterday, when Tim was asking about the project I honestly said, “No, I really didn’t help much. She did this.”

Instead of me working alongside her, it was Jesus.

As a mom, I find it difficult to let go.

I want to be with our children, no matter their age, to help, to encourage, to listen.

But that isn’t always what is best for them.

And God knows exactly what is.

I’m still learning how to let go and trust Him for each of our children.

And what a great reminder to that truth, these beautiful pieces of furniture that Anne and Jesus did.

Who has put wisdom in the mind? Or who has given understanding to the heart?
Job 38:36 NKJV

God did, and I’m praising Him for it!

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for this opportunity. Thank You for teaching Anne how to do all these things. Thank You for giving her this opportunity not only to learn, but to stretch out into something new. Lord, please continue to guide and direct each of our children. Let their hearts be molded by You, that their lives might bring You glory. Lord, thank You for reminding me that Your ways are best. Thank You for teaching me another opportunity to let go. Please continue to speak into our hearts and minds. Please continue to bring us closer to You. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

Learning by trial and error

Anne and I had so many things planned for our two weeks without the guys.

So, when they came home on Sunday we were unsure what to do.

Obviously, her furniture had to be done, so we worked together on it Sunday, when ordinarily we’d rest.

Our thought was, “It’s in the way. We’ve got to free up space in the garage.”

Of course, we couldn’t get four pieces of furniture done in that amount of time.

My husband understood and appreciated our efforts.

While they unpacked the truck, Monday, Anne and I worked on the furniture.

I’m only able to do some of it because of my health.

So, when it was time to put the top coat on her night stand I went back in the house.

Much later, Anne showed me the table.

She wasn’t happy.

I could see why.

Brown streaks were all over the top of the table and one side had them as well.

Being relatively new to this I wasn’t sure what we were seeing, bleed through or top coat.

The decision was made to let it sit over night and figure out what to do in the morning.

Tuesday came and it was still there.

Anne and I decided the best approach was to sand it back off.

I felt bad for her, as she’d carefully painted flowers on the top that had to come off.

After sanding, she repainted it.

It was definitely the top coat, not bleed through.

So, she switched brushes and reapplied the top coat to a drawer. (Much easier to sand down if it didn’t work.)

Thankfully, it worked beautifully, no streaks.

During all of this, my husband set up a temporary spray tent in the backyard, went to the store to purchase primer, and sprayed all the drawers to the remaining two dressers and primered the long dresser.

This way, Anne can do the painting today and hopefully the top coat tomorrow.

Jase even got involved, he helped sand off the streaky top coat.

Anne and I were thrilled with all the help.

So, when my husband got a phone call from work yesterday, I was praying.

It turned out he cancelled his remaining vacation and returned to work this morning.

His two days were spent with us, just at home.

Cleaning and reorganizing the gear with Jase, painting the dressers with Anne.

Yup.

It was a good two day vacation.

The reason being, our family spent time together.

God is honored when we love and honor one another.

And He was definitely part of all.

No matter what changes come next, I pray our family will honor God through each one.

Psalm 104:1 NKJV — Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, You are very great: You are clothed with honor and majesty,

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for these two days. Thank You for guiding and directing our family. Lord, we give You our lives, our plans, our family, and we humbly request that You be the center of it all. No matter our task, we want to honor You with our actions, attitudes, and words. Lord Jesus, You see the heart. If there is anything standing in the way of us following You, please remove it. Let our lives shine brightly before You. Thank You. Amen.

Tuesday

So far, this has been a week of changes.

My husband and our son left Saturday for a hunting trip.

They returned Sunday night, because our truck is not running correctly.

I prayed a lot while they were driving home.

The Lord was merciful and they made it safely.

My husband made many phone calls, in an attempt to find an opening to get it fixed.

None of the repair shops have any openings till mid September.

So, he and Jase unpacked all the camping and hunting gear yesterday.

Later the guys were going out to play a round of “cheap” golf.

Anne and I were taking dinner over to Sis’s house and hanging out there.

We did and it was lovely.

Just before bed, I was chatting with my husband.

I’ve been praying for him and wondering how he felt about all this.

His vacation is completely ruined when it comes to hunting.

But to my relief and joy he wrapped his arms around me and kissed the top of my head and said,

“I’ve had a really good day. It’s been nice.”

“Well, praise God! I’ve been worried about how you might be feeling.”

He just laughed and hugged me.

I know from an outside appearance one ruined hunting trip probably doesn’t seem like a big deal, and in many ways it isn’t.

As a wife, I see it as a part of a much bigger picture.

My husband has had to give up so much this last year.

He’s a country guy who loves hunting, fishing, and camping.

Between my poor health and our move he’s left nearly all of it behind.

To camp, fish, or hunt he has to take time off work, plan around the travel, and then drive hours.

He used to go across the street or down the road.

Our son’s first turkey was shot in our field.

(Yes, we ate it. That’s why we hunt.)

Through giving up on the things he enjoys, my husband has had a heart of love and compassion.

He has said more than once how the little he has to give up are nothing compared to what I have had to give up.

But there’s a difference.

My health has taken away my choice, I can’t do the things.

He has chosen to be obedient to what God has placed on his heart and has given up to honor Jesus.

And he’s doing it again this week.

I don’t know what our Tuesday is going to hold, but I’m so glad I have my precious husband to walk with me.

I love that Jesus is holding us all and His plans are perfect!

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your love and provision. Thank You that even in the things we see as disappointment You see as an opportunity. Lord Jesus thank You for growing my husband and I closer together through all of this. Thank You for teaching us daily that Your plans are best. Amen.

Homemade granola

I think my mom is the reason I like to make things from scratch.

Both my sister and I watched Mom whip up cookies, bread, and pie from scratch as children.

She used to make her own jelly from the plum tree in the backyard.

She also grew mountains of vegetables, especially tomatoes, cukes, and corn.

Those seeds of growing food and then preparing it took root in both my sister and myself.

Actually, my sister is one of the best cooks I know.

She enjoys it so much that she will spend her free time cooking.

So, it’s not surprising that our family enjoys homemade food.

When our children were all little, my husband was working full-time and going to college.

Money was tight and my energy was spread across four children, plus the time volunteering at our church.

So, I learned how to make several things in bulk.

Canning fruit was a big help.

I’d take the kids to the orchard with bowls and we’d pick cherries or peaches.

I normally tried to catch the strawberries at the beginning of summer and put up jam.

My husband is an outdoorsman and a friend of mine taught me how to can meat.

Many of those things were left in the past due to our very busy years of highschool sports, but we’ve canned here and there.

Our daughters learned to make some of our favorite foods.

Infact, Anne is a better baker than I.

Then illness claimed my time and I’ve only recently been able to return to making some of the food my family loves.

Homemade granola is one of those.

We eat it for breakfast, but if I let them, the kids would have a bowl anytime.

I’ve even seen my husband pour a bowl after everyone’s in bed.

So, I’m grateful God has given me the strength to cook again.

I’m so thankful to God for this simple recipe I found in the back of a Better Homes and Gardens magazine, so many years ago.

I’m blessed to have the time and resources to provide meals for my family.

Truly, the small details of life can bring the most amazing joys.

A newborn’s smile.

A ray of sun shining through the apple tree.

A kiss good morning from a loved one.

A bowl of homemade granola.

God is so good!

His blessings surround us, if we will but take the time to notice.

Praise the Lord , all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples! For His merciful kindness is great toward us, And the truth of the Lord  endures forever. Praise the Lord !
Psalms 117:1‭-‬2 NKJV

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for the little and the large. Thank You for shining Your light into our lives. Lord, thank You for guiding and directing us. Thank You for providing for us. Lord, there are many who are struggling, hurting, lost. Please defend the innocent, provide for the weak and hungry, and save the lost. Please let our lives bring glory to Your name. I love You, Jesus. Amen.