Jul 28, 2007

Miracles Do Exist: Example 1

I'm in a reflective mood tonight, and I just thought I might take a minute to share a personal miracle I've witnessed over the last 16 years. I have experienced many miracles over my lifetime as a Christian, but this particular one has meant so much to me.

Growing up I didn't have a father. I mean I had a physical one who provided for me financially, but he was never there for me emotionally. He was an alcoholic all of my years growing up, and I dearly missed out on the father/daughter bond that I so desperately longed to have. He was not abusive or intentionally hurtful, he was simply lost and sick. Neglect is the main thing I experienced. When my parents divorced after 24 years of marriage, my dad soon hit rock bottom. He lost his wife and children(not literally), and was heading into a place he didn't want to go. Through an AA group, my father found recovery. He also found a higher power, which still left him lost and empty. I started praying for my father, specifically that he would come to know Jesus as his personal Saviour. Skip and I were recently married, and we both were attending a wonderful bible church. We would casually share about our sermons, and how we would love for them to come sometime. I can't exactly tell you the day or how it happened, but within a year, my father asked Jesus into his heart. I was overcome with praise and thankfulness for this miraculous event. So many people had been praying for my father over the years, and now it finally happened. He dug into God's word like there was no tomorrow. He fully devoted himself to living a life of purpose. Shortly after that he married my stepmother, who also had made a recent recovery of her own. God did a mighty work in my Daddy that can only be described as a miracle. Over the last 15 years he has become such a godly man. He is in the word every day, and he is the first person I call when I have a question in scripture. He has become a wonderful father, grandfather, and a husband to his wife. Another miracle is that I never ever think about the bad times growing up without a father. He has proved to me that WHO HE IS NOW is all that matters. I praise God everyday for this gift I've been given.

I will try to share some other miracles I've experienced from time to time. I think that sharing our personal stories can truly show others just how great our God truly is.

*This picture was taken three years ago at my Daddy's 60th b-day party. This is my Dad, my sis Debbie, Me, and my baby brother Billy.

Jul 26, 2007

A Trip to Remember

I just got back from a 4 day trip to the Frio River with my dad, his wife and my 3 kids. We had a great time overall, but it is a trip I will not soon forget. The weather was off and on. On Tuesday when Skip arrived for just a short stay, the weather looked pretty clear. Up until this point, the kids and I had just rode on tubes a short distance due to the quick waterflow and extra high water levels. Since Skip and I were ready for some adventure, we chose to take Ashley(our 13 yr. old) on an hour and a half tube ride and my dad was going to pick us up at a determined location. As we started out, I questioned if we should go ahead and wait until later, as the clouds were just starting to darken a bit. I know this may be familiar to many of you ladies out there, but our holy spirit nudgings are usually correct. I submitted(ha ha) to my husband's need for speed, and we took the pludge. The first 5 minutes were great. We went over a pretty fast small waterfall, and onlookers were saying, "Wow, that was great. We got out of our tubes because we thought that run was too rough." We continued on at a peaceful pace (or float), but then we heard thunder. Within minutes it was POURING!!! Lightening filled the sky, and Ashley was freaking out. We could not see a thing as the rain was coming down so hard. Thankfully we were all together on our tubes, and the lightening was not right above us. A few minutes later, the lightning was everywhere, and we anxiously looked for a spot to get out of the water. As soon as the rain started, Ashley and I were in full prayer warrior mode. We prayed out loud, and despite her complete panic, she wanted to sing praise songs. I knew without a doubt God was there, but my human side, was in survival crisis thinking. We found a way out on some private property. Skip suggested we stop for a moment under a tree. Excuse me, but aren't tree's the worst place to go under in a thunderstorm (besides the water we were just sitting in). We stayed for about 10 seconds, and then Ashley and I started running to a nearby house. No one was home, but we stayed for a while to think of our next plan of action to take.

Skip joined us, and suggested we just start walking back. I knew my dad and the rest of the family would be worried sick about us because of the storm, so we needed to get back to the RV campsite we were staying at, or at least meet up with him at our ending destination. The rain was not stopping, and the manly man I'm married to would not stop at any of the homes we were passing to ask for help. We walked about a half a mile, and a man in a truck came by to ask if we needed help. Before I could hug the man and give an enthusiastic, "YES!", Skip said, "No, we're fine, we just have a little ways to go." I almost left him standing there alone. After the man drove off, I told Skip, "Don't you know that could have been an angel sent to help us? He just continued walking and said, "We'll be fine." Well, as those words left his mouth and I began to walk on, I heard Skip cry out. He had fallen in a hole in the rocky road we were walking on and completely scraped his knees beyond recognition. Now Skip is hurt, we are walking in a thunderstorm, we have no idea where we are, and my daughter is crying. I continued praying and walking, and we finally make it back to our campsite. Skip gets cleaned up, my dad returns after an hour of looking for us, and all is well. Actually, I have never been so terrified in my life. It was so unreal, but I will never forget the way, we literally cried out to God for protection.

Tragically, when we read the paper the next day, a man from San Antonio was killed by lightning just several miles away from where we were during the same storm. Here is the story. Unbelievable! I was so saddened when I read this. Please pray for this man's family and his sons who witnessed this. The man was a pastor too. I can't imagine what they are going through. I usually take note when I feel the holy spirit telling me to not do something, but I didn't listen this time. I was just so happy to have some time with my husband and daughter. I will know better next time. Sorry this is such a long post, but I thought it was definitely worth sharing.

By the way the song that comforted us was, "You Never Let Go" by Matt Redman. We will have a new appreciation when we hear that song play on the radio next time.

*If you want to read my husband's version of the same time, same day, and same experience, then go here.

Jul 19, 2007

Skip's Home and Dinner Was Served

What a wonderful evening our family was able to have tonight. My friend Liana was able to spend her last night in Corpus with us. Skip made all his specialties for her and her girls. He did barbequed ribeyes, chicken and sausage. He also made his mouth-watering twice-baked potatoes. Hey, I heated up the rolls, made the green salad, and heated up some frozen corn. I really think Skip could go in business with all the wonderful dishes he makes. Here is me and Liana showing Skip with our smiles how much we appreciated the dinner. Keep going to see his masterpiece- "The dessert."

Oh...my...goodness... this dessert was fabulous! Skip found the recipe in his mom's Martha Stewart magazine, and decided to make it for us. Let's just say I wanted to lick the plate. Look at his presentation. Excellent job, honey! It was a crepe with some kind of cream cheese filling thingy, and a strawberry, raspberry sauce poured on the top. You can tell I am not the cook in the family because I can't even explain it well. Just delicious!

Liana and Abbey cracking up while I was trying to get a photo. Abbey is quite the comedian and her curls are just too precious. (Don't you love my messy countertops in the background.)

Ashley and Kayley were only available for photos during dinner. The rest of the time they were anywhere that their younger siblings weren't. They had a blast hanging out and sharing about their very different lives. Kayley has another year or so in China, but they will definitely keep up as email pals.

I am going to miss Liana, but I know that over the last 3 years since she moved out of Corpus, we have grown even closer. She brought pictures from China and Seth had a homeschool lesson on all the cultural differences between our two countries. It has been an amazing adventure for Liana, her husband Clint and their girls. I feel so blessed to have had time to spend face to face with this sweet friend. Email and phone calls are great, but there is something special about hugging your friends every once in a while.
***Completely changing the subject, we haven't heard a thing from anyone about the house today. I am not losing hope. I know these things take time.*** Have a great weekend everyone!!!

Jul 18, 2007

Thankful Thursday

Tuesday was wonderful! I spent the day hanging out with my friend Liana who was visiting from China. We lounged in the sun, while the kids played in the pool area. Seth made me go down the waterslides with him, and I couldn't stop. So fun!

While the kids were playing in the waves at the beach, I noticed Annie getting very close to deep water. Normally I would just keep a close eye, but instead I joined all the kids and what a blessing that was. The current was so strong, in an instant all of us went off a sandbar and couldn't touch. I was able to get Seth, and Annie and drag them to safety. Ashley and Liana's girls are all pretty good swimmers and followed us. I think the Holy Spirit prompted me at just the right time to go in with them. Needless to say, everyone quickly decided to go back to the pool area. I can see how drownings happen in an instant. Praise God we were protected. It sure taught me a lesson, and I am so thankful.

I'm also thankful my hubby is coming home for a visit today. He is grilling for Liana and her family. Well, for me too! Pray for his safe travels.
Lastly, I am thankful that after 8 months, we finally have our first offer. Wohoo!!! It's not on paper yet, and it's very low. But who cares, I'm excited. Also within the last 24 hours, we have had two possible renters. I am personally praying for the offer because I want to sell our home. Isn't God good that I found out about the offer when I was hanging out with Liana. We just stopped right there at the pool with the kids and said a prayer of thanks. God is so good, and I know His timing will be perfect for us. Please continue to pray that we hear something soon, and it will be just the right price.
Laurel Wreath is guest hosting TT this week head on over http://www.laurelwreathsreflections.com/

Jul 17, 2007

How Cute Is That?

Meet Oakley! He is my sister's dog, but my kids would love to have him for their very own. Just a precious, spoiled rotten dog! We had a chance to play with him yesterday when I made a quick trip to Victoria. My sister is only in town for one week, but I will have a chance to see her more this weekend. We also attended a swim party last night and then rushed back in about 11:30 p.m.

I had to come back last night because I have a wonderful day planned. LIANA IS HERE!!! My dear friend from China is staying at a resort about 30 minutes away and the kids and I are spending the day with her. I'm so excited.

For now I have to go make the house sparkle, smell good, and look invitied. We have some lookers coming the afternoon. Let's join in prayer that this is the one.

Jul 15, 2007

The Blogging Church

I went to the blogging church today. I'm not talking about the awesome book that Robin's husband wrote, but intead I actually had church at home this morning. This was new to me, but I thoroughly felt God's presence none the less. I think I needed some real personal time with God, and thankfully my kids slept super late so I could.

I started with some praise music (Josh Grobin) over at Barb's. I never get sick of this song even though she has probably posted it a hundred times. Don't quit Barb. Next I had a much needed sermon on being critical over at Boomama's. God really spoke to me this week about some issues I had in this area, and this was just what I needed to have the nail hammered in all the way. Next, I heard a great lesson at Penless Writer in realizing that God is never taken by surprise by our circumstances. We need to trust him that he has plans and purposes for all those situations that we are completely floored by when they occur. This is how that lesson played out. Lastly, I was led to part blog/part Joel Osteen over at Oh Fiddle-Dee-Dee. Oh my goodness, this excerpt on "Trusting God's Timing" is exactly what I needed to hear, from start to finish. So good!

I wasn't able to go with Skip to Victoria today, and I didn't feel like heading over to my old church, so the blogging church was the next best thing. It turned out to be the exact thing I think God wanted for his child today.

Jul 12, 2007

Out of the Way BonBons, Dibs Are Taking Over

Just plain heavenly! That is how I would describe this very sinful treat I indulged myself with this afternnoon. It's not fair that they are small and bite-size. One would think it wouldn't hurt to just have a couple. WELL LET ME TELL YOU SISTAS, YOU CAN'T EAT JUST A COUPLE! I won't confess to you how I know this, but you can take my word for it. Have any of you tried these scruptuous icecream filled, chocolate covered bits of bliss? My daughter Annie talked me into buying these yesterday, and now I fear I will have to go purchase more before she realizes that half the tub is empty. I'm off to go climb the stairs a few dozen times to offset the 420 calories that I just consumed in the blink of an eye.

Jul 11, 2007

I'm Scared to Life!

Okay all you friends out there. I have made my decision and this is the first time I am saying it outloud. I AM HOMESCHOOLING THIS YEAR!!! Call me crazy since I finally have freedom to be alone all day and write, do bible studies, get in shape, have date days with the hubby, visit with friends, shop, and most importantly BLOG(hee hee). I am scared beyond measure, but I know that God has not given me a spirit of fear. Not only have I met tons of women in Victoria who homeschool, I happen to be a certified teacher(although I haven't taught for over 10 years). My kids can all read well which will help tons, and I won't have to worry about which neighborhood to live in in Victoria(when we sell our home here), or how they will cope from going to a private Christian school to a public. I had already made up my mind about Ashley who will be entering the 8th grade, but I was unsure about Seth(5th) and Annie(2nd). I think my decision was based more than anything on the fact that they asked to be homeschooled.

Now, I am completely starting from square one on this, and I would love any advice you veteran homeschool moms may have for me. If you have a ton of info to share, just email me at your convenience, but otherwise leave a comment. I am ordering this and this to get my juices flowing. I have also decided for Ashley I will most likely go with the curriculum she would be using at her old school for 8th if its not too expensive.

I just realized the other day that I only have 5 more years with my sweet Ashley before she leaves for college and then it will only be a matter of time before the other two follow. It's scary for sure, but I think I will that fear will drive me to a life of adventure and knowledge that I am ready to embrace.

Jul 5, 2007

Some Lessons in Selling my Home

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

This scripture is probably one of the first ones that I ever memorized, but I still return to on a daily basis. Today it came to mind as I was praying about my house, yet again. I do trust God fully with the sale, even though I get frustrated with the wait. I also think the straight path that God is referring to may not be immediately given, it may take time and effort.

One thing I love about our heavenly father is that he is constantly teaching those he loves. Here are some lessons I'm learning through this whole process.

*I've learned as much as I want to be settled, the unsettledness has brought me to my knees and to His throne.

*I want to have a permanent home, but that won't really happen until I get to heaven. That is the permanent home I need to desire and constantly look forward to having.

* I've learned God is my provider. This is the first month that I have known it is going to be financially tight, and God has given me provision. Lamentations 3:24 "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."

*I've learned to appreciate my husband more than I ever have before. He is such a great man, father to my babies, provider, and my best friend. I have probably taken that for granted in the past.

*Just think how thankful I am going to be and how appreciative I will be when we finally sell the house.

*Lastly, and ultimately, God is going to sell (or rent) this house. I have to trust him, and fully believe that he has the best plan already in motion for me. Clinging to Jeremiah 29:11, I will continue to wait, pray, and call upon the Lord.

Jul 4, 2007

My 4th of July

Toilet shopping, installing a toilet with hubby, playing a bible trivia board game with the kids, date with hubby to Joe's Crabshack for coconut shrimp, and watching the history channel with the family just about sums up my holiday today.

We were very unsocial this year, but it was such a great day of being together as a family. Skip and I were so blessed to have a whole day of no commitments. The kids crack me up with some of the games they come up with when it rains non-stop outside. Today they discovered the blender and made tons of different milkshakes and fruit smoothies. I was their tester, so needless to say, I've probably gained 5lbs. from all the different recipes. They made menus and their own handmade money. Whatever keeps them from saying, "I'm bored."

Earlier tonight Skip was talking with our new pastor on the phone, and he and his family are doing good. Insurance stuff is running quickly and smoothly. Praise God. It is almost time for bed, and Skip and I are watching "Ben Franklin Tech." It is completely unbelievable all the things he invented and did during his lifetime. I wish I had this on dvd, it would be great for my history lessons next year. Oops, did I just say that out loud? Actually, I am not 100% sure I'm homeschooling, but at least I am letting myself go there to think about and prepare.

Oh, I cannot forget to introduce you all to my friend, DeeDee. She leads our church's(oops, my old church's) women's ministry, and she just started blogging!!! She is an amazing writer, singer and bible study teacher. She's lots of other things too, just so sweet! All the women who meet her, fall instantly in love with her beautiful heart. She is madly in love with our Lord, and with helping other women love Him too. Stop by her blog and cheer her on if you get a minute.

Last, but most importantly not least, I want to praise God for this wonderful freedom I have to live in this great country. I want to thank all the men and women serving in our military for their sacrifices and dedication. May God bless you and keep you safe.

Jul 2, 2007

Things Can Change So Fast

(Pastor Les & Tisa's home as water was coming in quickly. This made the evening news in Victoria, as well as Corpus. The neighbors you see in the picture were helping out as well many others whose houses were not affected.)
Early This Morning
I have my blinds open as I watch the rain come down. I'm smiling as Annie (my sweet 7 yr. old) and Seth (my handsome 10 yr. old) help me make homemade donuts from biscuits. The phone rings and Skip, who is in Victoria, is calling to tell me that he is on his way to help our new pastor's family move some furniture in their home in case the rain starts to come in the home. Well, 10 minutes later he is helping them get their family out as the water begins rushing in their home. Victoria is getting slammed right now, flooding is widespread. I just saw a news report on the weather channel as I began typing that actually mentioned evacuations in parts of Victoria, and the rain is not letting up. Praise God our friends are safe, as well as the friends we housesitted for two weeks ago who live across the street from our pastor. We just heard that Corpus has received 7 and 1/2 inches so far today. My house is high and dry for now, but I wish I was with my hubby. Please join me in prayer for all families suffering right now from the floods in Texas and the surrounding states.

Psalm 46:1-4
"God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
*Update: The water has completed receded, and crews were able to get to work on the house this evening. Carpet was torn out so floors could dry and they are cutting out sheetrock, etc. Thankfully they have a relative's home to stay in this week as things get worked on, and a wonderful church family that will help in every way possible. Les and Tisa have a month old baby girl and three other children. They are so thankful that this happened when it did, and not in the middle of the night. Skip has more on the flood on his blog.

Jul 1, 2007

Happy Birthday to My VERY Talented Friend!

Oh my goodness, I don't know how it happened but I forgot a very special friend's b-day two days ago. Actually, I know exactly how it happened. I am not using my normal wall calendar anymore or an organizer, but instead a wipeboard calendar in my pantry that I am always forgetting to fill in with b-days.

I want to not only wish my sweet friend Amy a Happy Birthday, but I also want to highlight her business which I think is spectacular! You can go here to see her wonderful designs, and even make an order while you are there. I have blogged about a few of her things before last November, but I can't seem to link that post. Amy is such an amazing wife, mother, friend, and creatively talented person. I am so blessed to call her friend, and I must share a story. I went to see Amy in the hospital after she had her last baby (number 4) in six years. She was sitting up in the bed, writing thankyou-notes and looking like she had never even been pregnant or just had a baby. I thought to myself, "She is truly a wonder." She is an awesome Godly woman. Also she cries when I tell a story of how God is teaching me something. Don't you just love when someone cries with you? I certainly do. You rock Amy! Happy Birthday friend!