Sunday, January 30, 2011
We are still waiting on THE job (if that is God's plan for us) but God has provided short term contract work for the friend of a friend. The company is in a town about three hours away, but my husband can do the work from home so he will have a flexible schedule and will be able to continue looking for steady employment and be available for interviews. It will last about 1-2 months if he works full time (longer if he gets a day job and has to go to part time). We are grateful!
In addition to getting the unemployment glitch worked out, we also received a generous grocery store gift card from our sunday school class. After a couple weeks of literally counting pennies, it was a joy to go to the grocery store and buy EVERYTHING on my list! We are grateful.
All of our February bills were or will be paid on time! We are so grateful.
The interview my husband had last week did not result in a job offer, but it was good interviewing experience. We are grateful.
My husband is NOT discouraged!! I am so, so, so, so grateful.
If you would please continue to pray for my foot pain to diminish, I would appreciate that. If you read the post below, you may have noticed that in one form or another we have been dealing with unemployment or underemployment for a long time. It's been somewhat of a theme running through our marriage. So long ago I realized that, at least in our society and in my socio-economic circle, it takes more time to be poor than it does to be wealthy (and I use the word "poor" very loosely, as we are by no stretch of the imagination truly poor!). Cooking from scratch, using raw ingredients rather than packaged, not eating out or getting carry out, making your own laundry detergent, etc. That all takes time. And most of it is time on your FEET.
I am experiencing another flare up where the constant pain is intensified, so being on my feet is just plain hard and something I want to avoid. There are a couple things I can do at home that help a little. Please pray I would be faithful to do those things. I have a plan to see a physical therapist that specializes in feet as soon as we get that first check from the contract job. Please pray with me for insight and wisdom into how to tackle this. And for grace to deal with the pain in the meantime. I have so much more compassion for those who live with constant pain ~ it is very wearing!
But....God is good. :-)
Do you know the hymn "Great is Thy Faithfulness"? I love these words from the chorus:
"All I have needed thy hand hath provided"
Amen. So true. My heart rejoices in God's faithfulness to provide ALL that I need!
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
10 years ago I was: about to turn 39, a stay at home mom to a 3 year old, a 1 year old, and a 9 month old, and had just begun to house hunt for the home we currently live in
5 years ago I was: homeschooling and mothering our five children, and thanking God for my husband's new job after a 5 month unemployment
1 year ago I was: doing the happy dance that my husband was WORKING (!!) and thanking God for His incredible faithfulness
Yesterday I was: walking around Home Depot on a "free" date with my husband, picking out lots of paint cards, and dreaming of painting several rooms in our house
5 snacks that I enjoy:
ruffles potato chips and dip
my own chocolate chip cookies (I make awesome ones!)
a bowl of cheerios
5 songs I know all the words to:
Our National Anthem
In Christ Alone (fyi, I want this sung at my funeral)
too many hymns to count
5 things I would do with a million dollars:
pay off all debt
give to my church, missionaries, and causes I believe in
buy a much newer vehicle
pay for a fabulous vacation with my entire extended family
5 favorites tv shows:
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
5 things I am thankful for (seriously??? only five????):
my husband and children
my parents, sisters, and dear friends
my church family
God's lavish love
2 names I go by:
Prunelle (family nickname from my childhood - only my sisters call me this!)
2 parts of my heritage:
2 things that scare me:
failing to give God glory
2 of my every day essentials:
2 things I am wearing right now:
fuzzy warm Naval Academy sweatshirt
2 of my favorites bands/musical artists at the moment:
Point of Grace
2 things I want in a relationship (other than real love):
God loves me
God is sovereign
2 physical things that appeal to me in the opposite sex:
arm muscles (both my dad and my husband have awesome ones!)
2 of my favorite hobbies:
watching sports on tv
2 things I want really badly:
all of our children to trust in Christ for salvation
a job for my husband that lasts longer than a few months
2 places I want to go on vacation:
DisneyWorld with the family before any of our kids go to college
2 ways I am stereotypically a chick:
I cry easily
I love chick flicks
2 things I wouldn't normally admit:
I can talk football as good as most guys
I don't shave my legs in the winter
2 things I am thinking about right now:
that I need to go upstairs and kiss the boys goodnight
my friend and her family saying a difficult final goodbye to their husband/father
2 stores you shop at:
2 people I would like to see take this quiz:
2 people I haven't talked to in a while:
Monday, January 24, 2011
More great news: One of the interviews my husband had last week has led to a second interview on Wed at the client's location. Please pray!
Thank you friends! And thank you Lord!
Sunday, January 23, 2011
By God's grace, and your prayers, I am less fearful and much more at peace. Satan was really attacking me with dark "what if" thoughts, and he struck at the things I tend to fear most. Some of those things we can do something about once my husband has another job, and some of them are things that are totally beyond my control and I just have to trust God with them and go ahead and live life. Living fully in each moment, as is my goal for this year. I feel that I have barely scratched the surface of what it means to trust God moment by moment, but I am practicing living in that truth, however feebly, and enjoying His presence.
Living moment by moment is truly what we're doing right now, as we are experiencing a severe cash flow crisis. We have money saved for next month's expenses, and want to keep that set aside for its intended purpose. We thought that unemployment benefits would cover the daily things like groceries and gas for our vehicles, but since benefits have been delayed we are having to get really creative in those departments! We *think* that it's a matter of bureaucratic red tape ~ even though the judge ruled in our favor we don't think the right office has gotten the word that we are once again eligible for benefits. So my husband is going to try and get that straightened out tomorrow. Whatever the issue, it is a small thing to God and He can provide for us with or without the unemployment benefits. He has been doing so already! A check in the mail, a grocery card slipped to us at church. He is faithful, and He is good.
One of our children is really wrestling with fear, so please pray for wisdom as we shepherd him through this time. He is afraid of not having enough to eat, and has begun to try and eat "extra" (sort of like hoarding, only hoard eating). He honestly has not experienced any shortage of food, just a shortage of some of his favorites (there is a difference!). Last night at bedtime we talked about how God provided for the Israelites in the wilderness ~ manna from heaven and even water from a ROCK! That is some pretty dramatic provision! I used that to gently point out to him that we really have nothing to worry about. It was good for me to hear it too. Confirmation from my own lips to my ears, that God loves us, He is in control, life circumstances that happen to us are not random, He is sovereign!
I'm so glad to be in His hands.
We spent the first two weeks back at school finishing up Unit two of Tapestry of Grace Year 1, which took us through the period of the judges in Ancient Israel, and into Saul's kingship. We spent a lot of time reading I Samuel and talking about Saul's shift from predominately good to predominately bad. So many interesting stories and concepts ~ such as the Lord himself sending a "troubling" spirit (some versions say "evil" spirit) upon Saul, after he had disobeyed and ceased to find favor in the eyes of the Lord.
This is son C's Saul booklet.
In case you can't read the words below, C thought that Saul's positive traits were: he was impressive, God changed his heart, God's Spirit was upon him, he prophesied, he was a good fighter. His negative traits were: disobedient, proud, impatient, foolish.
We have found a new morning routine that is working pretty well and allows me to spend time with Little Man doing kindergarten work every day. We got to the point in his math book where he needed to review the concepts each day (rather than doing a week's worth of work in one day as we did for a while last fall). He spent two weeks learning the number value of each of the colored blocks/rods, and now is working on addition!
Snuggling together and watching a science video.
Daughter G is plugging away in her physical science book, and if she stays on track she is set to finish by the end of May. She did a super cool experiment this week involving air pressure. First she lit a candle that was set in the middle of some colored water (colored just so we could see the water better).
Then she covered the candle with a glass. As the candle used up the oxygen inside the glass, water from outside the glass was "sucked" in to fill the void.
Just before the candle burned out, nearly all the water was inside the glass. Can you see the difference in the outside water level vs. the inside water level? It was really cool to watch, and she explained the process very well to the rest of the family.
At the end of the week, body paint during bath time!
Also this week, I cooked an entire five pound bag of dry black beans, which made the equivalent of 12 cans! I will use them in recipes for the next several weeks.
We made some plans for our Unit 2 unit celebration, but I think we will need to hold off on having it until after daddy gets a new job, so we will probably end up combining our unit 2 celebration and our unit 3 celebration into one.
Last week was a week off of history studies (we did all other schoolwork) while we played a little catch up. Now we are looking forward to starting unit 3 tomorrow!
Thursday, January 20, 2011
This was a huge relief to both of us and a big answer to prayer.
The temp agency that offered him the interview still has one month to appeal this ruling, so please pray that they will let it rest. If they choose to appeal, the process would get moved to a different judge in a different location (our state's capitol) and could be drawn out for another long period of time.
This whole process has been a learning experience for us. The unemployment law in our state has been crafted to offer every possible protection to employers, making it harder for employees to milk the system (a good thing). But it has been a bit nerve-wracking for us, with a legitimate case, to realize we have less protection and less recourse. As we waited for the judge's ruling, we both sortof prepared ourselves for the ruling to go against us, and we agreed that we wanted the judge to rule according to the law more than we wanted the ruling to go in our favor. If he had ruled against us, God would have provided the means to pay back the money somehow. BUT... we are thrilled and thankful that he ruled according to the law AND in our favor!
Our bigger request at this time is that the unemployment benefits we are entitled to receive right now have not begun, and we ask that you would pray with us for this glitch to be resolved. God may choose to provide for us through some other means, and that would be great too. I guess just pray that our needs would be met. God knows what they are.
I have felt the prayers of others very powerfully this week, and the Lord has been giving me great peace. Thank you so much for your loving comments, emails and most of all, your prayers! Please continue to pray that I will actively TRUST, and REST in Him.
He is good.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
scrub our stovetop and microwave until they were sparkling clean!!
Can you see the shine? Seriously, they look brand new. I was both super excited and super nervous to use them ~ didn't want to get them dirty! This has been on my "to do" list for the entire school year. SUCH a way for him to bless me!
I don't know what our immediate future holds, but at least I am facing it with a clean stove.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
While I don't want to wallow in my feelings, I do want to be honest. I am really down right now. How are we going to continue paying the bills without a job? Will my foot (and from the constant limping, now other parts of my body) always hurt? What if something catastrophic were to happen, what would happen to our children? We have been living on the edge for so long, I am just really weary. The stress of our situation has begun to affect me physically. Every single "human" plan we want to have in place for the future, including taking care of health issues, requires money. We were able to accomplish a few things during the last year of employment, but it doesn't seem like "enough."
I hear God asking me, "Pam, do you trust me?" And I answer, "Yes, I trust You. Help me trust You more." And then He says, "if you trust me, then why are you still afraid?" And I am faced with the reality that perhaps I don't really trust Him. Not completely. He, who is fully trustworthy, and loving, and good, the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, He who is full of compassion and mercy, and who has shown Himself to always be faithful ~ how could I not completely trust Him?
I can, of course. And I do. Over and over and over. With scripture, truth words read aloud, heart felt prayers, combined with those of my husband. And now I am asking you to pray also. When the Lord brings me to mind, please pray for perseverance in practicing trust. For peace. For hope rooted in God. For spiritual eyes that keep looking at Jesus and see things as He sees them. I believe this is a spiritual battle, and I must fight it with spiritual weapons. But I also need to do the practical things that will help my body cope with the stress. I appreciate the prayers of my loved ones so much. "Thank you" seems so small. But thank you.
This I know:
God loves me.
He is in control.
Nothing happens in this world that is bigger than He.
He loves my children more than I do.
His nature is faithful. He cannot be unfaithful.
His thoughts and ways are higher than mine.
His plans are for my good.
I am precious to Him. He dances over me with singing.
He is stronger than any evil, any fear, any thought of man.
Because of Jesus' blood, He does not condemn me.
I can draw near to Him.
He is a strong tower.
He is my defense.
His Word is my offense.
He is God and I am not.
Friday, January 14, 2011
I printed out my 2010 booklist so that I can remember which titles I read, and have started a new listing down in my right sidebar. Once more, here is my list of books read last year. I bolded my favorites.
- Venom and Song by Batson and Hopper (for fun)
- Curse of the Spider King by Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper (for fun)
- Black Ships Before Troy by Rosemary Sutcliff (for school)
- A Place in the Sun by Jill Rubalcaba (for school)
- The Well of Sacrifice by Chris Eboch (for school)
- The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw (for school)
- Gilgamesh the Hero by Geraldine McCaughrean (for school)
- The Runaway by Patricia St. John (for fun)
- Garden of the Purple Dragon by Carole Wilkinson (for fun)
- Ninth Witness by Brock and Bodie Thoene (for fun)
- Eighth Shepherd by Brock and Bodie Thoene (for fun)
- Seventh Day by Brock and Bodie Thoene (for fun)
- Sixth Covenant by Brock and Bodie Thoene (for fun)
- Fifth Seal by Brock and Bodie Thoene (for fun)
- Fourth Dawn by Brock and Bodie Thoene (for fun)
- Third Watch by Brock and Bodie Thoene (for fun)
- Brother Andrew, God's Secret Agent by Geoff and Janet Benge (read aloud)
- Poppy and Ereth by Avi (for fun)
- Poppy's Return by Avi (for fun)
- Poppy and Rye by Avi (for fun)
- Second Touch by Brock and Bodie Thoene (for fun)
- Ragweed by Avi (for fun)
- Have Space Suit, Will Travel by Robert Heinlein (for school)
- First Light by Brock and Bodie Thoene (for fun)
- The Sigma Protocol by Robert Ludlum (for fun)
- Water Buffalo Days by Huynh Quang Nhuong (for school)
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (for fun)
- Man From the Sky by Avi (for fun)
- Poppy by Avi (for fun)
- The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi (for fun)
- A Skeleton in God's Closet by Paul L. Maier (for fun)
- My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George (for school)
- So Far From the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins (for school)
- Anne Frank, Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (for school)
- Corrie ten Boom, Keeper of the Angel's Den by Geoff and Janet Benge (read aloud)
- Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan (for school)
- Onion John by Joseph Krumgold (for school)
- The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom (for personal growth)
- Going Rogue, An American Life by Sarah Palin (for fun)
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
A bit prophetically, I prayed that morning what I have prayed this year. That God would help me to be all there ~ fully live in each special moment, and remember them later.
And he did.
So many special moments from the hour long ceremony and that whole day, etched forever in my heart and mind.
Husband and wife ~ on our honeymoon
But I do.
Nineteen years later, we have lived love. Fought for it. Put it to the test through hardships of all kinds. The feelings of love have ebbed and flowed, as feelings do, but the practice of love has stood resolute and grown stronger.
Knowing what I know now, I would marry him all over again.
I love you honey. I'm thankful for the years we've shared, the memories we've made, and the truths we've discovered. May our love for God and for each other only continue to grow. Happy anniversary stud muffin!
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Our mortgage modification is COMPLETE!!!!!
Back payments from the months that we were behind in our mortgage (during the 9 month unemployment a year and a half ago) are no longer hanging over our head, and therefore foreclosure is no longer looming. We are so very grateful.
We came even closer to foreclosure recently than we did during the unemployment itself. The first week in December we received a notice on our door that our home was going to be sold at public auction during the first week in January. Of course, this was published in the paper, as all foreclosure notifications are, so we had realtors contacting us NON STOP trying to get us to short sale our home, unfamiliar cars driving slowly past our house (looking to see if it was worth bidding on), letters from bankruptcy attorneys. It was endless. And disconcerting.
We were in constant contact with our lender and knew that the public auction probably was not really going to happen, so we didn't panic too much, but it would have happened if our modification had not been moving forward. Just before Christmas we learned that the modification was "complete" and our home was taken off public auction. The best Christmas present ever!! But this week we received our copy of the paperwork in the mail making it 100%, certifiably official.
It is very humbling to come close to losing your home. I have such sympathy for those who do. I learned that it really can happen to anyone, despite their best efforts and planning. Financial gurus tell us to have 6 months worth of living expenses saved, but what if 6 months is not enough? What if unexpected medical bills consume all your savings? What if there is simply no work to be found, even though you are a hard worker? I learned that God's grace truly covers all the "what ifs". Every. Single. One. It doesn't exempt us from the hardship, but God gives us hope through the trial.
After doing the happy dance when I saw the paperwork, I had a moment of worry. Now that we are temporarily unemployed again, what if we get behind again? Would God allow us to work through a successful modification only to have us lose the house after all? I don't know what the future holds, but I DO know that God's grace will cover this "what if" too. And I decided not to let worry come to the party! I happy danced away!
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
When it became loose a few days ago, he was very excited. The rest of us shared his excitement, and his siblings told him what to expect, admonished him not to swallow it, told him it would bleed a little but would be okay, etc.
When it actually came out he wasn't happy with the way his mouth felt. Eating breakfast was weird. He dripped some milk through the tooth hole. The rest of us were very excited for him, and tried to spark some enthusiasm for this major milestone, but he would have none of it. He was deeply bothered by the new feeling.
In the spirit of my commitment this year to be all here, I pulled Little Man onto my lap and really listened to him. He was troubled. He wasn't expecting it to feel so different. Couldn't he just put the tooth back in?
I acknowledged his feelings. It was different. But now that the tooth was out, we couldn't put it back in. The new tooth would be growing in its place and would need that space. I told him that change is always hard because it's different. But different doesn't always mean bad. It just means ... different. I assured him he would slowly get used to his new mouth. He would adjust to his new normal. I kissed him and put him down. He ran off happily.
And then it hit me.
I was preaching to myself. Change is hard (loss of a job, church turmoil, foot pain ~ fill in the blanks with your own changes) because it's different. I would slowly get used to the changes. I would adjust to the new normal, learn how to make compensations. And then I realized I had forgotten to tell him the most important thing of all...
God never changes.
We can count on Him being the same as He has always been. Patient, forgiving, gracious, full of love, merciful, just, good, immoveable. His unchanging nature anchors us as we go through all the changes that life throws at us. No change is too big for Him to handle, and no change is too small for Him to notice.
Even lost teeth.
"Lord God, thank you for being who you are and never changing. Help me to cling to You through all the changes we are facing, and will face. Thank you that nothing, NO THING can separate me from Your love. I love you. Amen."
Monday, January 3, 2011
Tomorrow we will jump in with "everything."
I did not ONCE think about or do any prep work for school during our two week break, and if I had been tempted to do so I would have resisted. It was WONDERFUL for me to have a true mental break from all things school.
I enjoyed my family immensely, spent hours playing board games, reading, watching movies and football (!!!) on our new TV, and sleeping in. And in it all, trying to be truly in the moment. I have lived long enough to know that the days and the stages fly by, and the only thing I can do to combat the passage of time is to fully embrace each moment and be all there. I read this recently on A Holy Experience and it resonated with me so much:
“Time is a relentless river and it rages on, respecter of no one.
And the only way to slow time is this: Enter fully into the current moment and the stream of time slows — slows — with the weight of a soul’s full attention.
We slow the torrent by being all here.
Life at its fullest is this sensitive, detonating sphere, and it can be carried only in the hands of the unhurried and reverential—a bubble held in awe.”
(fyi, this is a quote from Ann Voskamp's new book which is due out this month, called One Thousand Gifts: a dare to live fully right where you are. It's sure to be good! Look for it!)
I like goals, and I typically make some every new year. But this year I'm keeping it simple, and I just want to..
be all here.
When a young child says, "look mommy" I want to really see.
When an older child is talking to me, I want to really hear.
When my husband wants me to sit with him and watch an episode of Smallville, I want to stop multi tasking and really enjoy my husband's presence.
When a friend calls, I want to fully engage.
I want to be all here, and live each moment to its fullest. Even the small, mundane moments. Especially the small, mundane moments. Because life has a lot more of those than the other kind!
"Lord, help me to appreciate each moment because You inhabit it. Help me this year to be fully present in the moments that string together and make up life. I love you. Amen."
Sunday, January 2, 2011
Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus.
The angel Gabriel.
The Magi, bearing gifts.
King Herod and his soldiers (all trying to look mean).
The shepherds (with a little black sheep!).
I'm glad G got to do this while she felt good. She is one of the ones who is sick right now, though she avoided the stomach bug and has a bad head cold instead.
My husband with his siblings (his brother had to work and is represented by a picture!).
After that we played pictionary.
Here is the winning team, the Red Hots! (sadly, the team I was on, Blue Sky, came in last. But we gave it a valiant effort!!)
It was a fun, fun day. We're thankful for our cousins!
Saturday, January 1, 2011
When the children wake up on Christmas morning, their stockings have been moved from the fireplace mantle to hanging beside their beds. They come pile on our bed and we open stockings all together. This is a tradition my husband's family had as he was growing up, and I love it! Many of our Christmas Eve traditions come from my growing up years. I love how we have merged traditions from both our families and made them our own.
This is what our bed looked like afterward. You'll have to imagine the stocking opening fun!
I am tickled pink because in my stocking I found my first mp3 player! It's super tiny and can clip onto my shirt or the edge of a pocket. It can't make a playlist so I just have to listen to songs randomly, but since I love listening to songs randomly that won't be a problem! My husband even pre-loaded several of my favorites. Gotta love Aco Hardware! (and my husband!)