Monday, November 29, 2010

Busy Month full of Thanks!

 After a somewhat humorously long wait for our Turkey to cook, we did finally sit down for our simple and "small" Thanksgiving Dinner.  It wasn't small in the amount of food, but rather in the amount of company.  We typically gather with friends for this festive day, but we chose to spend the day at home, just us, this year.  Actually it was a "plan b" after we discovered that Salvation Army had enough volunteers to serve their meal.  It was a very laid-back day that we enjoyed thoroughly!  We had no worries about eating Gluten-Free, and no one was put out to fix anything special!  So easy.  It was also the first day that we didn't have freezing rain in a while, so I was also thankful to be able to take a walk with my dogs!  It did begin to snow these extremely wet, slushy snowflakes, and I returned home completely soaked, but it was beautiful and worth it!

We have been extra busy getting ready for our debut Arts and Crafts Fair!  Well, technically, I had done a crafts bazaar a few weeks ago, but this was a very large event with over 165 vendors.
We worked hard to make enough inventory for our Alaska to Africa Project.  We had no idea what kind of goal to set, so we just rolled with it.  God blessed us so much in this project!  We were able to make about 90 pieces to sell and we sold about 75!  We have been able to put all the profits from these sales to Drawn From Water (If you aren't familiar with this organization, please take a look!).  God so blessed us those two days after Thanksgiving!  In all my disdain for "Black Friday" I was thankful for others who took the time to go shop and then purchased with a purpose at our booth!  We were able to raise over $1,500 for DFW, and we still have orders coming in!  Praise God!  Plus, we were able to share about the organization and hopefully bring others into the joy of helping them.  It was amazing to hear about all the connections people in our small community had to Africa.  It was really encouraging!  We met missionaries, adoptive families, and many others who had friends in Africa.  We hope this is just the first of many years of being able to help through the Craft Fair!

Now that things are possibly slowing down, I am continuing to look forward to my days at Love, INC.  Again, if you haven't heard of this organization, please check it out!  They are local organizations (that operate nationally) that help to coordinate churches to help neighbors in need.  I am helping with taking phone calls, and I love it!  I'm also hoping to start some budget counselling (I am not a counselor, but I have successfully operated both larger and smaller budgets!).
 I also can't wait to go shopping for some food boxes that we hope will help homeless teens get though the school break over Christmas.  Our Church Youth Pastor challenged us this week to "Do One Thing."  Pat and I cannot do just one thing.  I can't imagine anyone who has the life of Christ in them to stop at just one thing.  We are praying about what God may have us do for these kids beyond the food boxes.  Kids should not be homeless and hopeless anywhere in the world.

I asked my husband what he thought our next year would bring.  Neither of us have a clue, but we are really excited!  God has blown open the doors of our hearts and pushed us to action in ways I'd have never dreamed.  I am so thankful for every small thing and every small opportunity we have to share.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Thankful for My Morning Coffee Wake-up!

This morning I prayed for my husband as he left for work.  To be more accurate, I prayed out loud while I gave him his hug goodbye.  I rarely do this.  In fact, I think it's been years since I have done it last.  How sad.  I'm going to try to do it more often.

I am extremely thankful for the man God brought me with which to spend my life.

People are often shocked that I get up early to make my husband's lunch and see him off to work.  Right now this means getting up at 5:30.  Actually, he comes in with a fresh cup of coffee to wake me up!  Not too bad, really. He is up around 4:45 and gets the fire going, feeds the dogs, and has his quiet time. I often get looks that say, "Are you serious?" followed by the, "I would NEVER do that!" to which I usually think to myself, "That is why your marriage isn't as good as mine."

That may sound extremely pompous, but if you aren't willing to get up a little early for your spouse, are you really living in unity?  Are you giving as much of yourself to your professed loved one as you are expecting in return?  Why would you draw a line of "never" to the one to whom you vowed to love?  This always confuses me.  I would do anything for my husband, the least of which includes making his lunch in the morning and getting to start the day together.

Now, granted, I have an incredibly amazing husband who is not only an excellent provider, but also a gifted leader.  He lives surrendered to God, and I can trust him to follow Him!  This makes living in submission to each other much easier.

Notice I didn't say easy.  I'm still a human and become selfish more than I'd like to admit.  I'm also not necessarily saying everyone should do exactly what I do.  Your spouse may not care a whit about the morning send-off, but I'd bet there is something that does matter to him/her.  Usually it is something relatively small, fairly painless, and could move mountains if done regularly!  I'd also like to point out that discouraging and ridiculing someone else's act of love is highly reflective of your own level of loving.  Just saying.

If God called you to be married, then this is your act of service to Him, not necessarily your spouse.  I take the verse in Luke 16:10 to apply to marriage as well, though that takes it a bit out of context!  If I can't be faithful to show my husband love in small ways, how on earth can we hold up in hard times?   Being faithful to love each other in small ways will lay the foundation of Godly strength when the storms come.  My marriage is a huge testimony of what I really believe about God.  I know I've failed before, but in God's continuing story of redemption and second chances, I have an opportunity to let God shine through my marriage.

I love the chance to talk about what I do for my husband.  It gives me an opportunity to share how far God has brought me.  It reminds me of the gift I have and my responsibility to care for that gift.  I also hope it encourages others to give more of themselves, and then they can experience the sweet joys of selflessness.

Time for my second cup of java joy!  (O.K., my 3rd!)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I celebrate birthdays.
In a random google search, and from some J.W. friends, I have learned that birthday celebrations had strong pagan origins and that these celebrations weren't exactly Biblically sanctioned!  
I still celebrate birthdays!
I like to think that my God is not legalistic about where celebrations originated and that if I want to take a day to thank Him for what I have and ask Him to lead me through the next year; well, I believe He is honored in that.  I don't believe that when people give me a "Happy Birthday," they are warding off evil spirits or that a candle-filled cake honors any greek goddess.  I genuinely believe it is all just a sign of goodwill.  And on that note, I will take it!  

I do wish, however, that I could pass on the increasing amount of gray in my hair.  I know, seriously shallow and vain.  I have found some slight pleasure in knowing that my husband now has some of his own:

 You see that big light hair in his goatee?  It's the fat gray one!  You have no idea the excitement I had this night!  Obviously, I had to get the camera and document this momentous event!
Sadly, I am winning this contest.  Pat must be thinking golf score.  I wish I could convince my follicles to play that way.

Oh well.  If this is the worse thing in my life (and it's pretty high up there) then that is a testament to how amazingly blessed my life has been these 34 years.  I have to admit, I don't stress about much.  In fact, I rarely stress.  This last year has opened my eyes and heart to so much, and I am a little apprehensive but extremely excited to see where this knowledge takes me.  Ten years ago my life changed.  Eight and a half years ago my life became combined with another's and change has been my constant!  I have no idea what lies ahead, but I know that change has been good to me and I will celebrate this change in my age!

Now then, perhaps I need to change that hair color...