Category: God’s Fingerprints

A letter to a friend about to lose her home

I wrote this in response to a friend who just found out she is about to lose her home, something her husband was keeping from her due to her panic attacks and fear. Their financial situation is much as ours was 4 years ago. They live on what work and finances God provides (which makes it tricky to work with the bank and government agencies), have been struggling for a while, and she was scared. This is now an open letter to those in that position, those who are struggling with crippling fear as they look at a future of change. Frankly it could be a letter to myself 15 years ago. And again at 10 years ago. And 5 years ago.  And possibly a letter to myself again in the future. 

 

You are NOT alone. We have been through it, Ame (one of several friends who  knew all that was going on during and helped me through) has been through it (and held my hand through it, including through the panic attacks), I have been through it, many of us have gone through or are in the process of it.  Many moe will find themselves in that place.

The panic attacks do come but once you let it out a bit (you need to let it out like steam in a pressure cooker or you will fall apart) you choose, you choose to stand firm, to be strong, to support your husband anyway- he was protecting you knowing you panic, knowing you can’t cope. He was trying to protect you. It is your turn to be strong anyway. It is your turn to help him and help your family by choosing not to fall apart. Yes, you will. It happens. But then you pull yourself up by your bootstraps and do the next thing. No point in worrying about anything else. You can’t do anything else. All you can do is the very next thing.

I know about the not being able to verify financial info with the bank and government agencies- we tried to keep our house and because of our unusual income sources (how do you explain manna living to a bank?) we never could get anything to happen.

The thing is God is way bigger than that. Bigger than our fear. Bigger than our relationships with people. Bigger than houses and jobs and money and things. WAY bigger.

 

 

I know it is hard.

It is REALLY, REALLY hard.

This is where you get to tell Satan he is a LIAR and choose to ignore all the whispers and shouts he is sending at you.

You get to choose to be strong anyway.

You get to stop telling yourself all the things you can’t do and choose to say “I may not be able to do all that BUT I CAN do this, right here. Right now. I can be grateful for the things we have. I can be grateful that my husband loves me so much he tried to protect me from this knowing how weak I have been. I can support him anyway. I can show my kids how strong I can be and make them proud so they know how to deal with all this stuff that is bound to come at them in the future.”

Be brave, Girl.

You can do it!

You don’t have to do everything right now.

You don’t even have to apply for help if you feel God is not leading you to (we never did- God provided through other means and it was horrible and hard and amazing and miraculous) but you can choose.

You have a choice. Right now.

You can do the very next thing. That is all you have to do.

You don’t know what will happen in 5 years, a year, a month, next week, 2 days, 2 hours, geez- you don’t even really know what will happen in 2 minutes.

All you have is RIGHT NOW.

And that is ALL you have to cope with.

All you have to deal with.

All you have to be strong for is RIGHT NOW. Everything else is gravy.

God is good. He loves you. You are worth it. And He is a very ready help in times of trouble.

Just saw this this morning and it struck me as important:

I Will Go Before You

I will go before you
and will level the mountains;
I will break down gates of bronze
and cut through bars of iron.
I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. (Isa. 45:2-3)

God’s imagery of going before us lets us know that he desires us to go on a journey. This is not so frightening. Most of us are aware that the Christian life requires a pilgrimage of some sort. We know we are sojourners. What we have sometimes not given much thought to is what kind of a journey we are to be taking.

Not realizing it is a journey of the heart that is called for, we make a crucial mistake. We come to a place in our spiritual life where we hear God calling us. We know he is calling us to give up the less-wild lovers that have become so much a part of our identity, embrace our nakedness, and trust in his goodness.

As we stand at this intersection of God’s calling, we look down two highways that appear to travel in very different directions. The first highway quickly takes a turn and disappears from our view. We cannot see clearly where it leads, but there are ominous clouds in the near distance. Standing still long enough to look down this road makes us aware of an anxiety inside, an anxiety that threatens to crystallize into unhealed pain and forgotten disappointment. We check our valise and find no up-to-date road map but only the torn and smudged parchment containing the scribbled anecdotes and travelers’ warnings by a few who have traveled the way of the heart before us. They encourage us to follow them, but their rambling journals give no real answers to our queries on how to navigate the highway. – John Eldredge, The Sacred Romance.

Advice for a young, Christian geek seeking a relationship

A while back Shamus and I received an email from young Christian, geek gentleman seeking Godly council on seeking a mate. That email ended up in an email account that I “lost” when I upgraded my computer to Mint from Ubuntu. Shamus looked over my answers and gave them a thumbs up but never got around to sharing his own answers (it has been a super busy couple of months.) Today another young male geek friend asked for advice on marriage and it reminded me of the questions we received from this young man trying to figure out what to be looking for in a wife. I think my answers apply to both, especially as I have found myself repeating several of them in the last months in other places. So here you go, my advice,  after 16 years of marriage and 21 years of knowing each other as a couple of geeks and Christians all rolled in to one.

 

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1) Has your relationship always been built on a strong Christian foundation, or were there some struggles in the beginning? I know that you mentioned you and Shamus argued a lot about the Bible 

and God. What kinds of things were deal-breakers for you both? How did you reconcile those differences? What do you still both disagree on to this day?

When we were dating I was Roman Catholic– a strong, determined, deep in the culture Roman Catholic. Shamus was a non-practicing Christian. I was actively seeking and gradually God brought me around through my study of the Roman Catholic Bible (slightly different– more books, but I had been taught had all the RC traditions within so when I looked and the Bible said the opposite of what I had been taught it lead to a crisis of faith.) A week or so after we were married I was baptized by dunking (rather than the dipping I had received as a child) and started diving in to the Bible wholeheartedly. At that time Shamus just kind of came along for the ride (he was working things out internally but I wasn’t seeing any changes so didn’t even know at the time.) . I was zealous and growing leaps and bounds every day and determined to learn all I could about this new thing. I was sharing all I was learning and at that time Shamus was happy to just sit back and watch. I am sure there were many things we disagreed on but he saw fit to keep his mouth shut except for in the things he felt were important. Shamus has been blessed with the gift of discernment for a very long time and in this, he knew it was best to keep out of it and let me grow. Later he went through his own growth spurts and yes, there are some things we are not in wholehearted agreement on, I am sure.

We have studied in different ways completely (I have read straight through multiple times and have a special heart for the Old Testament while Shamus has done in depth study via audio Bible of the New Testament so that combined with what the Holy Spirit has spoken to each of us colors our perceptions.) Instead of focusing on those things when one of us comes up with something we see differently we wait and pray and very seldom discuss except in a conversational tone. No point in arguing– in the end the Lord usually opens our eyes and shows us that we have both just been seeing the area from a different angle and that we actually are pretty much agreed.

2) I know that this question is cliche, but I still need to ask it. What would you tell yourselves before you got married, if you could? “Hey younger Shamus, don’t forget to pick up your socks”

I would tell myself to stop whining and complaining, to focus on the positive, to start changing myself instead of trying to change him. In fact just the other day I gave similar advice to a young woman who was asking about marriage and how people can stay in love for so long. My answer to her was the same: Recognizing that only God can change another person– you WILL NOT change them and if you attempt it they WILL resent it. Instead focus on becoming the very best person God has for you to be, follow His direction, pray for wisdom, pray for discernment, seek Him and He will work it out. Also, we all bring baggage into our relationships–our perceptions are colored by them. We have to recognize this and find out what the other person MEANT, not just how we perceived it. Nearly all the marriage problems we have had have come down to communication and perception. And talking to another lady married for the same amount of time to a completely different type of person, she said the same exact thing. So communication and perception- praying for wisdom before opening your mouth. That would be a huge thing I would tell myself (I was NOT wise, at all, so I really needed to pray for wisdom.)

(On a side note, Shamus STILL leaves his socks on the floor but now I understand why– so they can dry and he can put them back on because they got wet.:D)

3) Heather, where do you draw the line between supporting your husband’s passions, and pushing him to be more “grown up”? Some of the “Christian girls” I meet make it clear that this whole nerd thing is just a phase, and they aim to change that. Needless to say I don’t often go on a second date with those. But what qualities should I look for in a woman who can be both supportive of my passions, and still call me out if I’m being a child and playing video games all day?
Hmmm, I think comes back to this “not trying to change the other person” problem. This is something we females are excellent at attempting. Every fairy-tale, every princess, every romance– all come down to trying to change the other person instead of being happy with them as they are and with who you are.

I DID try to change him in this regard (I have a post brewing about that, about valuing another person’s interests because they have value to that other person.) Even though I knew when dating Shamus that he could spend 9 hours programming while I looked on, that he would stay up all night playing a video game without blinking an eye, it made me angry once we were married and had kids. I tried to force him to go out with me even when he had a brand new game or the programming bug had hit. Thankfully Shamus is strong in his passions and refuses to let others stand in the way of them and only gave in very occasionally. Those things that I did not value, that I thought were useless, those very
things lead to him being the person he is today, to the very jobs he does today. (It’s almost as if God knew what He was doing when He designed Shamus. ;P)

Now I recognize that playing video games all day can lead to great things and can’t imagine asking him not to or calling it childish. In fact, I, when I have time, like to play video games all day as well. It is a family activity for us, one that we all value and enjoy, and the growth and learning that has come out of it is one that I would not trade for anything.

On the other hand I have also learned that it is okay to let him know that I have barely seen him in a few days and that I am starting to feel unloved (if you get a chance and haven’t already, read The 5 Love Languages”. It has been a huge help in our marriage in understanding how each of us gives and receives love and how we perceive it. I am a “acts of service” and “spend time with me” person, Shamus is an “encouragement” and “physical touch” person. This made our early marriage life horrible as we kept trying to show love and get love in our own love languages and nothing was working.

Qualities? I would say valuing what others value because the others value it and not showing contempt for what you value. Those are killers in a relationship, regardless of the passions/interests involved. As I have discussed with my kids repeatedly– if someone can’t respect what you love regardless of what it is and how they feel about it then they are not going to respect you. Of course that goes the other direction as well, if you don’t respect HER interests then same thing goes. Either you will end up trying to change to make them happy (and likely will fail horribly and make yourself miserable) or you will spend you time fighting and miserable. Either way that is not how God designed marriage
to be. God is love, all the law comes down to love God and love others, where is love in contempt, whining, complaining, arguing, disrespecting others? It isn’t. That is not God’s way, nor is it God’s plan for us in our relationships.

So valuing others, having respect for other’s interests, not whining, complaining, putting down those interests, but honest when need time. Someone seeking God with all her heart and genuinely trying to get at the truth, not just trying to fit what Christian culture says a Godly woman looks like (my goodness do they have that one whacked out), those would be good qualities.
4) Do either of you attend a church? Or do you participate in a family bible study? How does your family pursue God?
The whole church thing was a huge point of contention for a long time (RC-me meant not going to church was a sin). God changed my heart on that and now has opened my eyes to corporate worship not = “the church”. The church is God’s people, wherever they are and wherever we find them, not a physical place. Physical place is fine if you want it or need it and don’t have natural fellowship with other Christians but is not necessary to growth. In our case it was only after we left the physical church (Baptist then Christian and Missionary Alliance) that God started really growing us individually and as a family.

We celebrate Saturday Sabbath (not all the trappings, just take a day of rest as a family) and try to at least have a time of listening to God’s word together then. We often will spontaneously do so at other times as well. We listen to the Bible, pause and discuss as anyone has questions or a revelation, then move on. We pray together regularly and with whoever is available anytime we feel the need– which is often, multiple times a day most days. We keep Bibles open in different rooms including the bathroom so it is always open and ready for reading. We discuss what God is doing in our lives all the time. He is a regular part of every day.

That said we do not do formal “bible study”. In general neither Shamus nor I finds reading what someone else says about God’s word, aside from information on original culture and meaning of words, is very helpful. There are very few authors that I have found helpful in my personal walk (Seth Barnes and John Eldredge as well as Elisabeth Eliot and Oswald Chambers being the few that I go back to.) Mostly I prefer to focus on God’s word and see what He shows me through the Spirit. Shamus is the same way. On the other hand there have been some excellent Christian books on relationships that have helped including “The Five Love Languages”, “Captivating”, and “Men are Like Waffles, Women are like Spaghetti”.
546610_10151048843109335_607917733_n5) Biggest struggles? Another cliche question, but it is different from couple to couple.
Personality + baggage + love language= issues, definitely. The combination of my neediness (thanks to baggage from childhood and family relationship issues) and Shamus’ natural fear of failure and rejection (also baggage related) mixed with me being more extroverted than he and wanting to fix everything and him feeling I was telling him he had failed every time I tried to fix things, mixed up with our very opposite love languages made things extra complicated. Throw in a complete lack of financial wisdom on both of our parts, a very needy, very extroverted oldest child with health issues, our own health issues, and were it not for God’s grace it would have been a recipe for disaster. Instead God used it all to grow us up and change us and once we got over our idiocy bring us to a new place in our marriage that we never would have imagined possible in the first half (I would say the huge explosion that could have lead to our downfall but instead brought
about a renewed marriage was 8 years ago, so now half or marriage away and the second half has been amazing.) Yes, marriage is still work but we complete each other, hold each other up, encourage and help each other grow in the direction God is leading. I can’t imagine life without Shamus and I know he feels the same way about me.

6) Another other advice for a young padawan?

Seek God first. Focus on being the very best He has for you. Focus on hearing His voice (it can be awfully quiet at times), get to know Him through His Word and be open to where He leads, let Him show you His love– learn to see it in all the ways He reveals it.

Get to know yourself. Recognize your own struggles, sin areas, love language, and personality type (Myers-Briggs/Keirsey Temperament sorter is very helpful.) Look at your relationships, learn to be the best friend you can be.

Don’t go searching for someone to complete you, instead let God complete you. When the time is right He will bring the right person into your life, someone who will respect you for who you are without trying to change you, someone you can love as she is.

 

And once you are in a relationship recognize that love isn’t just a feeling. It takes hard work to maintain a relationship and sometimes you will NOT feel loving. Sometimes you will fall madly in love all over again but sometimes? Not. At. All. Sometimes she will make you crazy. Sometimes you will make her crazy. Push through and keep choosing to love her.  Keep praying that God would change the stuff that needs change in you and keep choosing  to love anyway. You WILL get through it. God will help you. You can do it. God bless you.


A Season of Transitions and Many Blessings

After 3 years of  full freelancing, with God providing from all different places including the work of our hands, the Lord has seen fit to give me a job that is providing fully for our family. This will enable us, God willing, to find a local place to rent instead of moving wherever (as we were willing to do and are still willing to do should things change, yet this means we can stay here where family is, especially my grandmother who is not doing as well as we would hope.) This was completely God’s hand– one minute I  was doing some website work and an hour later I had a full time job.

New palette– sketch for future color reference.

This job is not a forever job.  I am part of a team of women who care for an elderly woman. When she no longer needs us then I will no longer have this job.  So we are using this income to get ourselves on better financial footing, to pay off debt,  and find a temporary place to live. (The bank finally, after 6 months, decided that the buyer of our home was not suitable and that we were going to back into full foreclosure. Sigh. So we have a Sheriff sale ate again and a move out date.)  We are packing up the house and looking for a place to rent, or will as soon as the plague leaves our house. We have a list of places to check but are waiting on God’s timing, and part of that is being healthy again (Rach got sick, then the rest of us did– par for the course, though I think we are on the tail end of it now).

Little reader dragon-ACEO

In the last month, not only have we been adjusting to the changes that come with me working full time but also, God has been doing some serious spiritual heart surgery around here.   There have been many changes of a wide variety and those, combined with me working, and the family being sick, have made for a very interesting time but one I am not quite ready to discuss publicly (especially since we are still in the midst of it– we are talking deep internal changes which only show in small things externally). Basically Shamus and I have been spending a huge amount of time listening to the bible together and talking about what God is showing us and  the internal understandings and changes have been pretty huge. Aside from  all the other stuff He has specifically laid 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 (11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you,12 so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.) on both of our hearts and we are praying and learning what that looks like in the work that He has given us to do.

Curled up with a Good Book– dragon postcard.

Also, during that time Shamus had a huge computer mess which lead to blessings but that is a story for him to tell (which I believe he will be sharing later this week.) In fact, I believe he has another thing to share this week as well.

All in all God has been blessing us from every angle.  The job I have permits me a lot of downtime and quiet, so I spend that time reading and painting. I do have internet access but no laptop or tablet so I can only be online in part, via the wi-fi smart phone– this means I can keep in touch with the family while there without having to make calls. This means I am spending less time  on groups on Facebook and more time just praying for the CU group (I can only access it sporadically from the phone and usually don’t get updates). That said it is a blessing to have quiet time to paint, and be encouraged to do so (the lady I work for loves that I spend my downtime painting and encourages it.) So I am not only working full time but also producing more paintings.

New book dragon.

The only downside of me working is I am getting less time at home with the family. 🙂  They don’t seem to be suffering for it, in fact it has been a neat transition as Shamus is taking on more of the daily conversations about anything and everything. I think it is a very good thing all in all but I do miss having a good feel for what is going on, what is needed, and who is struggling with what.

Finally, Shamus and I celebrated 16 years of marriage this week by getting nice and sick (well, he is.  I am only slightly  so– stuffy nose mostly) but that made for an interesting anniversary.  Also, Rach spent her birthday last week sick but I think had a super awesome birthday anyway.

So there it is.  A bit of a rambly post about how God is working in our lives and  where we are right now. Aside from being sick the kids are thriving. Shamus is thriving. I am thriving. God is good and is doing great things.  We will see where He leads us next.

#Birdsoftheair New Job Edition

Since last post God has provided  money for the car alignment, money for groceries,  more small gifts and more big gifts for the family.  Shamus was gifted a much needed headset for computer work and an awesome  insulated travel mug (for traveling back and forth to his desk and keeping his tea warm while he is busy) and I got one as well (French press which is extra nice for keeping the coffee grounds and tea bags out of the way.) Issac received a Minecraft axe which he is thoroughly enjoying.  Es got a pile of ebooks that she has been longing for.

And then, a few days ago, a job fell into my lap.  A perfect job that fits exactly into our family schedule. I suddenly find myself working  as a part time caretaker for a local senior citizen. It was very clearly God’s provision and God’s perfect timing. The income should fill in the gaps and allow us to get caught up with bills and needs. The situation means I should have  time to work on paintings/editing/maybe even writing and plenty of time with my family while still providing for us.

God has also provided ways to  take care of a few other needs that worked out perfectly (includes gifts so can’t share.)

Shamus’ computer issues have worked out, leaving him with one less hard drive but a much more stable and faster computer now that he is using Mint.

The weird sleep issues I was having seem to have disappeared (apparently I tried to shift my sleep schedule to fast so that even though I was super tired my body refused to actually sleep. I guess shifting my bedtime from 2am to 9:00pm was a bad idea even if I was tired.)

Also, it looks like the house sale is continuing to go through as at least his most recent attempt by the bank to shake off the buyers failed.  We will see if they continue to hold on.

All in all it has been an amazing and wonderful week where God has been showing His provision for us from every direction– a book sale here, a donation there, a gift here, and job there. 🙂 It will be exciting to see where He leads next.

 

God Uses Our Baggage

We all have them; stories we seldom share because they are still too painful, too small, could hurt someone if we shared, or that we are still working through.

How can I possibly talk about dropping the vacuum cleaner and filling the air with dust just as my asthmatic husband was about to come in and work when someone else’s baby is dead? Why am I so upset for so long about something small when something huge has happened to someone else? How can I even  bear to pray for my small stuff knowing children are starving in Africa? How can we ask for prayer from friends or family about a missing pet when someone else is missing a child? How can we ask for prayer for a healthy pregnancy when someone has just had a miscarriage? How can we deal with all this stuff without laying our burden on others?

Instead of comparing ourselves to others, consider Esther (the queen, not my daughter) and Mordecai’s question of her, “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” God can only use us when we are willing to step up to the plate, are willing to work through our stuff, to burrow through that baggage, and come out the other side and share what He has done. He uses us as we are willing and as we work through our anger, our frustration, our depression, and  focus our eyes on Him, willingly seeing the good He has for us in the darkness.  We are to be lights, shining on the world, showing them the way.  If we are caught up in our own misery, focusing on the pain we have or avoiding it completely instead of dealing with it, then our hearts turn rocky, they turn solid instead of soft.  We need soft hearts and open hands in order to be used by Him.  We need to be willing to shine and  burn all the way down to the nib. If we aren’t willing, if we are caught up just trying to keep the flame lit at all, then it makes it hard for Him to use us. If we look at others and see their problems looming or  assume that they don’t have it as hard as us, then it makes it hard for Him to use our stories.  

On the other hand, if we  open up, if we share even the stupid little things willingly and without anger, we find that God can use it.  For example: I have never lost a child.  I have never had a miscarriage.  I have never had an abortion.  I have no idea what that is like, what that grief is like.  Yet I have many, many friends and family who have lost a child, often not even talking about it except in whispers. Who knows how many people  would be comforted to know that they aren’t the only one to have lost a child to miscarriage,  abortion, adoption, or death after birth. What a comfort it would be to others who have also been there, to whom can then say, “Oh, me too.”

We are all in different places.  Our stories are all different.  What you are going through and what you have dealt with is what you alone have gone through, it is no one else’s story.  Only you know how painful it is, how painful it was.  Only you know your relationship with God through this thing, and only you can work it out with God.  Just know that  it is important.  It is important that  you work through it with God.  It is important that you remember. It is important that you heal.  When you are through it, when you come out the other side (and sometimes even when you are in the middle of it all), you will become a  memorial stone for the next person on that same journey, on that same path.  You will be a landmark and light for them.  You will, once you come out the other side, be the person encouraging the next person in the midst of it that this too shall pass. If you let God use you through it, then He will use you to  lift someone else up and  bear the burden. If you hide it and keep it close then He won’t be able to do so.

God wants to use your baggage and turn it into a light for the next person on the path.  Let Him do it.  

Tire edition #birdsoftheair

It has been a blessed week, though exhausting.

The car now has new tires, and a fixed right front lower control arm thing, and as soon as we have the cash, aligned. It was all confusing and convoluted because  my dad got wind of us needing tires thanks to totally bald ones that skidded in less than a half inch of snow.  He and my mother-in-law decided to pay for it for our Christmas present, but then there was something broken which needed fixed before it can be aligned, and so on.  So my dad ended up paying more than planned for our gift but is now happier because he isn’t worrying about us  getting in an accident.  The tires still need aligned but that will happen as soon as we get paid for a couple jobs. So God worked it all out and we now have good tires and a fied thing that we didn’t know was broken, and soon it will all be aligned so there will be no more concern in that department.

Several packages full of things from our grocery wishlist as well as from the kids wishlists.  This is awesome because we have no money for gifts this year and Hanukkah starts tomorrow night.  The kids thought they were getting nothing.  Instead we now have  the makings for several treats, so we can have a special treat a day, plus they have each gotten a gift – each something they really, really wanted. I also know that at least one other person has ordered gifts for the kids which I haven’t mentioned to them, so that will be exciting to see as well.  (I should take a video next time we get a package.  Everyone gets so excited because it is always a surprise, and often we don’t even know it is coming.)

We got a coupon in the mail for $10 off $40 in groceries, one for each of the next few weeks so I suspect that will be helping put food on the table.

We have the house decorated for Hanukkah, we are all warm and fed, and God, Lord Provider, is so very good to us.

Have a blessed Sabbath.

#Birdsoftheair: little blessings


This week I have had work to do.  I occasionally, when needed, work for an estate appraiser– basically as girl Friday. I fix her computers,  research (I know search-fu), help her clean out and organize, talk business ideas out, type up documents, etc). This week she has extra work so, so do I.  In the past this work has bought us groceries gas many times this week that trend continued.This week has been a week of many blessings.  Not big miraculous “we suddenly have all the money for everything” blessings but rather small “this and that God’s provision through many things” blessings.  I feel strongly I need to be remembering to document these things each week, not just for my sake but also for others who are in similar boats (as well as for those who are nervous of our situation and fearing for us).

Also, earlier this week I found something a family member was looking for at the thrift shop, picked it up and delivered it, and  was given slightly more than what I paid.  This just happened to be exactly enough to cover the cost of the dress Rach needed for a piano recital at a nursing home (in a few weeks and for whch she had no appropriate outfit.)

In fact she found the perfect outfit.  It looked beautiful on her, fit her perfectly (and when you are 5′ 9″ and still growing finding something that fits perfectly at the thrift shop can be a challenge), and was too perfect to not buy right then, even though money was tight. I hated to say no, had peace about buying it despite lack of funds, so said yes and God provided.

The cheese we all love was on sale for cheaper than Aldi at the store near work so I was able to bless our family with  their favorite cheese when I stopped after work yesterday.

I also had enough cash on hand to pick up a few other things to supplement all the food we already have in the house thanks to last weeks blessings and to actually get some gas (been keeping it running on fumes for a few months now– $5 here, $5 there, so $20 in the tank was a huge deal).

A friend blessed Esther with a gift of cash for her new Paypal account (her “big” 13th birthday gift.) So Es is very excited to now have a way to buy things online, and to have money to do so.

Earlier this week the kids made donuts. Now the making of donuts doesn’t seem that much of a blessing except  as a “wow, we have donuts” thing.  Yet, God used it to allow us to bless others.  Rach messed up doubling the recipe and ended up quadrupling some (which lead to a lovely math lesson and a LOT of donuts).  So we shared.  We called up  family and invited them over for donuts.  I took some to work for my friend’s family to share.  All these people who have blessed us recently, we were finally able to bless them back, albeit in a small way.  (Though I must say that this is my favorite donut recipe ever and this thing makes great donuts– since they are all donut lovers,  they were pretty happy with the results.) We still have donuts in the freezer, waiting to be fried, which means donuts will continue in our future, which is also a blessing. 🙂

We have moved the kids downstairs and are cleaning out upstairs (warmer downstairs, good practice for living in tighter quarters as we likely will in the future, and lets us simplify the upcoming the move).  The kids are handling it beautifully.  In fact, despite a few setbacks thanks to all being introverted to certain levels, they have been spending more time watching movies together, and enjoying each other’s company.  So that is a blessing.

We are moving the kids clothes downstairs next (into a closet in the bathroom) and God has provided  that we have everything we need on hand to do that as well– including flooring for the closet (was just subfloor which was fine but not so nice.) So now the kids are excited about that as well (and I kind of get my family closet.  Shamus and my closet is in our room but the kids will all share which will make putting clothes away so much nicer.)

Shamus has been blessed with so many games that  there is no way he can play them all.  In fact, we were just talking about how much he used to pay for video games– at least $60 a month, in order to review them and make comics from them.  He quit buying them and suddenly he has so many more games.  It is exciting to see God providing this thing that is so important to him.

Finally, our little bits of random income are coming through (end of the month after the quarter plus end of the month) so now we have money to finish paying up this months bills and possibly (with the money my dad has offered to help) put tires on the car.  As discovered last week during a very little bit of snow– our tires are completely bald and a little bit of wet=skidding into a parking lot with brakes going into anti-lock mode.  God is good and we were fine but that taught me not to drive in wet and to be super careful until we can get new tires. So praying that falls into place and we can get them soon, before the snow starts to fall regularly.

God continues to take care of us in many wonderful ways.  We continue to not go without. It is exciting to see what will happen next. God is good.

#BirdsoftheAir: Awesome provision plus a Birthday

I meant to write this the other day, but life got in the way.

God has provided in such a way that we are nearly caught up on bills (we were hitting that scary several months behind place).  This means that when Shamus’ dying computer or graphic card both do die we should have money on hand (which we are currently waiting for) to get him what he needs. The money came immediately following me spending the last $1 I had in my purse, leaving exactly $33 in the bank in case something slipped through in the account that I had forgotten.  We were hitting it close and had multiple bills at the near shut off point.  Yet once again God was faithful and provided in a way that had us all in tears.

We also have a plenty of food again, which is nice since we have a birthday plus Thanksgiving and were able to pick up special foods for both.

Also, it looks like the buyer for our house is hanging in there despite multiple hoops the bank has put them through.  Because we are applying for short sale we are pretty much out of the loop but on Tuesday I got an urgent call from the real estate agent as there was a bit of paperwork I had that she didn’t and needed for a deadline…so that is comforting.  We really want the house to sell rather than go with foreclosure.  The bank not get all their money but since we have already paid quite a bit in they will at least get what the house is actually worth and we will be free of that debt. Once that happens we will likely be a whirlwind of activity here as we rush to get packed and find a place to stay (yes, we have a couple possibilities but none are ideal and we know that God will provide the best situation in His time so aren’t worried).  So that should be interesting.

In the meantime, happy 13th birthday to my girly. She is super excited about her cake (homemade ice cream cake with chocolate peppermint candy decorations– which we had money for the ingredients to thanks to a donation–THANK YOU!!!).

 She also is excited about the painting I did on her purse (that is Mine Turtle from one of her favorite Youtube video series), being able to get real honest to goodness online accounts in her own name instead of through me, getting my old Genius Mousepen drawing tablet for drawing on her computer, and the game she got on Big Fish.  It doesn’t seem a lot but she is thrilled with it all.

Another beautiful provision the Lord has given has been a matter of attitude.  When we sat down to talk to the kids about Hanukkah gifts (for our family) and Christmas gifts (for extended family) and how it was very unlikely that we would have funds to buy anything unless God provided specifically they got really excited.  They have already come up with gift solutions for their new step-cousins that I think they will love, and said if I made a chocolate for each day for Hanukkah then that would be plenty. They also filled their Amazon wishlists (for extended family who have no clue what the kids are into or need) with things they actually need plus things they would like rather than with just fluff as in previous years.  So praise the Lord for healthy attitudes about stuff.  Proud of these kids– they are pretty awesome.

You can read more Birds of the Air posts over at Bohemian Bowmans.

 

Manna Living

My dear friend calls it Manna Plan and oh, what a wonderful description it is. Living on faith, trusting God to provide everything– work, money, food, shelter; everything.  He provides when we stay in His will (sometimes it is like being herded or for D&D players: railroaded.) We trust Him and want His best for us, and sometimes His best plan leads through some pretty uncomfortable territory.

Some days manna living is hard.

Some days  you have to decide between  buying butter or toilet paper (in general toilet paper wins but what if you are only almost out of both?)

Some days you have to decide whether it is worth the gas (which you have to buy because you are running on empty) to  make a run to the bank to put $10 in the account lest that small bill that you are pretty sure will go through the next day does and might possibly cause a bounce if anything else goes through that you have forgotten.

Some days you wish you were a normal person with a normal job so your family didn’t have to struggle with these days.

Some days you forget how much God has taken care of you in the past and want to take the easy way out.

Some days are exhausting and scary and heart heavy and hard.

Yet God still provides rainbows after rain.

Manna still comes in the morning.  It may not be much and you may be sick and tired or it, but there it is: Abundance. Just enough is all we need. And we only need enough for today.  

God is still in the heavens and He still owns the cattle on a thousand hills.

The bills will get paid in His time.

We will still have food on our table.

We will still be able to do what He has ordained for us to do.

We can trust Him because He is trustworthy; more trustworthy than government, or insurance, or man.

And all is right with the world for God is good.