Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sharing Jesus

I had an unusual opportunity to share Jesus the other day. The kids and I went to a local store to see about a new dress for me. (I know -- what a treat!) Believe it or not, I found 2 that I liked - along with a pair of capris and a shirt.

Well, when we went to check out, the man at the register hung my items on a hook by the cash register. Unknown to us, when he bagged the items, he mistakenly bagged 2 additional capri pants that had been left on the hook. We didn't realize his mistake until we got home and unpacked the bag.

So, I had to take the 2 other pants back to the store. The decision to take these pants back was a no-brainer. They weren't mine to keep. I knew the store would want them back. I knew it was the right thing to do. I did, however, wonder if they would believe my story.

So, a few days later, I loaded the kids into the car and returned to the store, pants in hand. Was it convenient for me? No! I really didn't have the time to go to the outlet mall again. Remember, I was in the middle of a move. But, it was the right thing to do. When I explained to the man (luckily the same one) what had happened, you would have thought that I had slapped him. He was genuinely shocked that I returned with the pants. When I explained that it was the right thing to do and that they weren't mine to have, he just commented that most people wouldn't be so honest. I guess he's right. So, I got the opportunity to tell him that as a follower of Christ, I believe that I have to "do the right thing" at all times.

He wanted to give me something for my kindness (like a coupon/gift card), but I refused. I don't need a reward for doing the right thing. My reward was getting to share Christ, knowing that I was obedient even in the smallest thing.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Officially an Arkie?!?

Hi friends. I would like to sincerely apologize to all those affected by my lack of blogging as of late. I am sure you all have been stressed out, unable to eat, and incapable of functioning at work. Be sad no longer, my dears. Here I am :) Let me be the first to say that I missed the Internet more than anything!! Who knew it would take a week to get phone, Internet, and TV at the new place. PSA - If you are moving, schedule your phone, Internet, and cable hook-up RIGHT NOW! For some reason, they are booked a week or two in advance.
I have so much I want to put down here! I have a LONG list of lots of good things that are happening in AR and cute things that the kids have said. But, I have to first tell you that I am EXHAUSTED! I feel like we have gone non-stop for the past 10-14 days. It is amazing that I can even get these fingers to cooperate with this keyboard. My mom left this morning, and I was to get a long nap this afternoon, but the guy showed up to put together the swing set. So, no nap for me. :-( I'm very bummed by it.
The new house is WONDERFUL! I was so worried that we would not find a good place after the first house fell through. But, I have to say that God has taken extreme care of us, and He only blocked the other house, so we could have better. I love my new house. Mom and I worked and unpacked all the boxes except for the master bedroom. It is nice to have everything in its new place. I have 2 rooms that need some new furniture, and then I will have the fun of decorating the house. IT will be a long term project - mostly because of budgeting, but it will be nice to put my hand on it.
So, I promise to be back with lots of info - and some pictures for those interested. But first, I have to catch up on FB and blogs.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

God's Promise Kept

I am up early this morning, so I decided to take advantage of the Wi-Fi at the mission house. The movers will be here in a few hours to unload our worldly goods. I have to admit I was a bit sad to leave the old house. It was the place we brought baby girl home and the only place she's lived. It was a good home for us and Plano was good to us, too.

As I traveled eastward to my new home, I had 5 hours to think and reflect on all God has done in the past few months. I've always known that He has walked this journey of unemployment with us. I can honestly say that I would not had made it if I hadn't had Him with us. In the midst of all the uncertainty, I always had a deep seeded peace that He was over this and carrying out His plan. There were definitely times I wanted to rush His time frame, but I never felt alone. God is so faithful!

So, somewhere between Plano and North Little Rock, I received a great gift from God. I rounded a curve in the road and there before me was a HUGE, beautiful rainbow. It stretched from one side of the highway to the other. It was beautiful. I immediately began crying. What a great reminder to me of God's faithfulness. It was as if God was saying, "See, I always keep my promises." God promises that He will never leave nor forsake us. He promises that He has a plan and is at work to bring it to fruition in my life. He promises to give us good and perfect gifts. He promises that all things work together for good. I know He keeps His promises, and I am so thankful!

And then, because God likes to show off, I was blessed with another rainbow. Right as I drove into NLR to the new house. The picture above was taken from our new front porch by my hubby. (He's the one with a fancy phone that can take pictures). Another rainbow that reminds me that God will continue to walk this journey with me. He had brought me to my personal "promise land" and I will dwell in this land with Him. I'm so grateful for His guidance over the past months, and I pray that the lessons I have learned will continue to bless me and make me a better person for Him.

Monday, July 20, 2009

You Take the Good, You take the bad ...

... The Facts of Life

Well, this is the day. The packers are coming today. That means my endless hours of purging and preparing have come to an end, and I am one step closer to being a complete family unit again. YIPPEE!

It also means that my mother is here. I was near crazy within the first hour of her arrival. It seems that I didn't clean enough for the packers. I will get over this (or at least through it). I will never measure up to her expectations. Should I yell and scream, telling her how I've juggled moving details with single parenting and how that isn't all too easy? No, I will just let her do her thing and know that I will be with my dear husband tomorrow night. This too shall pass.

It also means that I will be losing my internet and computer by this evening. We are all set to be FANCY in the new diggs - with the new AT&T U-VERSE. However, they cannot come out and install it for a week. It will be sad living as a pioneer without TV, Phone, and computer for a whole week, but at least we will have lights and running water.

So, as they say in the trucking world, "Catch you on the flip-flop." I will be back with great tales and adventures.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Imagine All the People...

Did you have an imaginary friend when you were growing up? Do you still have one? How about your kids - do they have an imaginary friend?

My favorite stories from my hubby's childhood involve his imaginary friend - Donny. Donny was his special friend, and he drove a green pick-up. On occasion, people weren't allow to sit in certain chairs in the house because they were occupied by Donny. Once, my mother-in-law was scolded for putting the catchup on the table and blocking Donny's view.

When brother was younger, he had an entire imaginary posse. Brother has always been into police and fire. So, his imaginary friends were Rupsy and Kipsy - both policemen who also fought fires - and Rootbeer - their dog helper. Brother would play outside in the front yard, chasing down criminals with his posse. He would talk on the imaginary walkie-talkie to Rupsy and Kipsy, always saving the day. I'm sure the neighbors had plenty of conversations about the strange red headed boy who always dressed in rain boots, wore a baby monitor on his belt, and ran around talking to himself. Oh well! One of my favorite stories about Rupsy and Kipsy was when my mother-in-law was talking to Brother on the phone one day. She asked how Rupsy and Kipsy were and what they had been up to. Brother rolled his eyes and declared, "Nana, you know they are PRETEND!"

Well, now 5 years later, it seems that Sister is to follow in the family tradition. I'm starting to believe I am the abnormal one since I never had an imaginary friend. Like Brother, Sister has an imaginary dog friend, Bella. Maybe I should feel guilty and get these kids a pet, but the imaginary ones are so much easier. Sister doesn't really dress up to play with her dog friend, but she does her fair share of talking and barking. The other day we were driving in the car and Sister announced, "I have a new friend." When I asked for more detail, I realized that her new friend was imaginary -- Alan. I haven't learned much about Alan, but I'm sure he will be great company as we proceed in this journey of life.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Week in Review = Weak in Content

Have you had one of those weeks where you have been so busy, but you haven't really accomplished much? Yeah, that has been my week. So, for those of you interested:

Sunday was hubby's first day at the new church-place. We went to NLR of the weekend to house hunt (again) and prepare for the first Sunday. I cannot put into word how much I LOVE our new church. As I mentioned before, it is just what my heart wanted. Since attending the services, I have come to realize that it has even more. One thing that makes me happy is that it is a "suit church." I just love to see men in suits, especially when one is my hubby. It thrills me that it will be at least a once weekly occurrence. (Be still my heart) At one point during the service, I was crying - for 2 reasons (1) because not only was it our first Sunday, but it was also July 4th Sunday. I love me a patriotic service - probably more than Christmas - so my heart was happy and (2) because I just cannot believe God's goodness to my family in giving us this incredible church family. Okay, I could gush on and on, so I will move on...

Monday was spent trying to get established in our new town. We opened a checking account and house hunted. We looked at 4 properties. We found one that we really liked and put in an offer. The rest of the evening/night was spent waiting to hear back from the sellers. We also toured the local Wal-Mart and got supplies for hubby to live alone for a few weeks.

Tuesday we heard back from the seller -- offer denied. UGH! I was loading the car, getting ready to return to Texas, but now we needed to find a place to live. One that we had previously looked at had it's current contract fall through. So, we went to look at it, liked it, and submitted an offer. Third time's a charm, right? It is a good house in the neighborhood that we wanted, so it is a winner situation for us. I then got in the car to drive with the kids to Texas. An hour into the drive, hubby called. Our offer was accepted without any counter. YEAH we will have a place to live.

During the drive home, I also had a scary experience at a gas station when Brother went into the bathroom and a strange man followed him. For a split second, I thought about going in there, too, but brother emerged safely from the bathroom. The man freaked him out, too, so he didn't stay in there. On, how I wish I had a hubby with me. The single parenting is DIFFICULT!

Wednesday was a day spent at home, recovering from the trip. I let the kids watch TV all day long (did I mention where we stayed in NLR this weekend didn't have cable, therefore, no real TV to be watched?) I have so much to do to get ready for the big move. The swing set guy came and dismantled ours for the big move. I'm so glad with get to take the big thing to our new home.

Thursday and Friday were both spent running errands around town. We had bought some furniture for the sunroom in the house that we ended up not buying. So, I had to return the chairs to Ikea and some other stuff to Target. Then we did some other returns and bought some new stuff for the new house. I promised Brother a final trip to the Lego store, so we went to the mall on Friday.

Once again, I was so empathic to single parents. Just as we sat down to eat, sister announced that she had to go to the bathroom. What to do? Do we leave the food on the table and all go to the bathroom? Do we leave Brother at the table alone to guard our spot and food? UGH! In the end, I told Sister to eat fast, and we'd go when we were done eating.

Today (Saturday) it is hotter than blue blazes, so we are staying indoors. I did work to clean some more stuff from the garage early this morning. We placed our first visit to RED BOX last night, so we are going to watch some movies and stay in comfy clothes all day. It is free slurpee day at 7-11, so we may venture out to get our freebies.

I'm tired. I realize how spoiled I am to have a wonderful hubby who is very involved in our kids' lives. There is an incredible emptiness when he isn't here. I also realize how lucky I am that he doesn't travel much with his job - and if and when he does, we are usually able to travel with him. This 2 weeks will be the longest we have ever spent apart since we were married. It is crazy busy, but it is something else, too. I cannot even put a word on it -- not lonely, not scary, not even quiet. It is different, and I'm ready to be back to normal. (However crazy that is.)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Wherever He leads...

I am a house girl. I love houses. I love looking at houses, dreaming of houses, and drawing floor plans. I am the kid who would wander through the houses while they were being built in my neighborhood, dreaming of my own home one day. I am the girl who will forgo a Sunday nap to wander through the open houses on Sunday afternoon. But recently, houses have become like chocolate --too much of a good thing can make you sick. And maybe it is that I'm not partaking of the finest of houses, only that which I can afford. (Which isn't as much as I would like).

We are house hunting. It is a tedious process. We have fallen in love with one, only to lose it because the seller didn't disclose the $10,000 repairs that were needed. We then spent another 2 days looking. We found another that we loved -- maybe even more than the first -- put in an offer, only to go back and forth with no accepted offer. I'm tired of looking at houses. I'm ready to have a home. I ready to pack up my stuff and move to this new state and begin my new life.

I have spent a lot of 2009 waiting. I'm not a good wait-er. I never have been. I want the lines to move quickly. I want the traffic to part before me. I want to know the next step - NOW. God has a great sense of humor. And I guess he decided that it was my turn to learn about waiting. So, I cling to Psalm 37. It has become the psalm of waiting.

Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil ... Wait for the LORD and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land. Psalm 37:3-7, 34

My "good friend" Oswald Chambers reminds me that God intends for us to "work where He sends us to wait." So, I will. I will go about God's business until He reveals to me a new place of business. I will trust Him to take care of the housing details. I will believe that He knows my wish list for houses -- just like He knew my wish list for churches. I will not be homeless. I just might not be in control, either.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Terrible,Horrible,No-Good,Very Bad Day

I'm not in a very good mood. I try not to blog when I feel this way - I mean, who needs a downer? But since I couldn't sleep, I thought I'd chat with y'all. I'm not going to ramble about the drama behind the house we were to buy, or how dishonesty just get under my skin. No, I'm not going to list all the reasons I have to go back to NLR and house hunt. I'm not even going to let you know that I learned there are worse things than unemployment - homelessness. Instead, I'm going to tell you the wide variety of things I do when I can't sleep.

Have you every suffered from insomnia? Maybe it technically isn't insomnia - only that you cannot turn your brain off enough to go to sleep. I am usually one who can go to sleep pretty quickly. So, when I can't, it makes me CRAZY! So, here are some different things I do.
  • Pray. I know that you aren't supposed to fall asleep during your prayers, but when I can't sleep, the first thing I do is talk with God about it. I ask him to give me peace and allow me to drift off.
  • Quote Scripture. I try to remember all the verses that I have memorized over the years. I just think this is more of a challenge than counting sheep (and I don't like animals in my house), and it does successfully re-direct my brain.
  • Tense and relax. Starting with my head and working down to my feet, I tense my muscles, then allow them to relax. It feels good - even if it doesn't work.
  • Blog. I am always writing stuff in my head. Unfortunately, they always sound better in my head and I forget what to say the next day at the computer. I really need to write those great, brilliant thoughts down. Then you, dear readers, would have some brilliant things to read.
  • Give myself a deadline. I think of something that needs to be done around the house. Then I tell myself, "If I get to ___ time and still haven't fallen to sleep, I will get up and do that thing." Last night, it was, "If I get to 4:30a, I will get up and fold laundry."

There you have it! A short, bulleted list. Now I have to go fold laundry.