God’s Valentine’s Gifts

You may not know it but I have really needed a vacation (I was overwhelmed and getting rather depressed). I need to take a nice long drive occasionally, get away, clear my mind, and do something cool with (and preferably FOR) my favorite people. I know this about myself, and Shamus knows it, and apparently God knows it and chose to arrange for it.

Rachel making a bead ninja.

On Friday I got a message from a friend (who is the closest thing to a sister I have ever had.) She needed some help over the weekend and knew that I was probably the only person she knew who could and would come visit for the weekend on the spur of the moment and provide the help needed. She offered to pay the gas and groceries if Rach and I could come for a visit (the other 2 kids were welcome but she really needed my help searching for some very important papers that she was sure she would find with my help–which we did and Rach’s help with babysitting while we searched). This was at 11 am Friday. Shamus was asleep and Rach was out babysitting and practicing piano so I prayerfully began getting things ready in case, upon praying about it, Shamus felt I should go.  (My gut is ALWASY  in favor of a trip but I needed to check it with God and Shamus as Shamus is much better at discerning in the areas I am prone to just jump in and do.)   By the time he woke I had all but the prep except for final packing done.

Rachel decided her Trader Joes cod fillets should "look" like fish. (She had to make them because we had just played "Fish Stix which made her hungry.)

We prayed about it and after some time Shamus said the coolest thing– he had been praying the night before that I would have the opportunity to be a blessing to others because he knew how important that was to me. Isn’t that so cool and sweet? And he is right, I LOVE blessing others and want to help, fix, do whatever I can to make things better for someone else and I think it is so sweet that he actually prayed for that opportunity and really do start getting mopey if I don’t have the opportunity. And then he said that that prayer was exactly what God brought to mind when he prayed. So Rach and I got to go! YAH!!!! This was especially cool because Rach had been begging to take a trip with me– she thrives on the time away as much as I do and longed to see our friends again (as well as another friend on the way that she had been begging to visit.) So God gave Rach and me a Valentine’s gift. 🙂

Rach and Kayla signing Valentine's day cards.

Rach was so excited when she returned home (loaded down with Sam’s Club quantities of the non-food items we had been out of, plus eggs–an awesome gift from our inlaws) and I finally told her what was going on. We loaded up the car and left just as Sabbath began for the 5 hour trip. We were supposed to borrow a GPS from my in-laws but couldn’t find the cord and use dGoogle maps instead. It worked out really well because it turns out Rach is an awesome navigator. 🙂 The drive itself went so smooth that we made it in record time with only one stop even needed. We listened to Rebbecca, an American Girl on the way, which was a fascinating look at a young Hebrew girl in 1914 (very cool because my Polish great-grandparents came to America in 1918.)  The weather was perfect, which is amazing for this time of year.  We actually only needed light jackets for most of the visit– a nice change from the snow and ice, and got to enjoy LOTS of sunshine!

Kayla and Rach at Ihop.

Not only did God bless the trip in amazing ways but He also blessed us throughout with gifts of money (enough to pay several bills) and groceries (LOTS– which was great because we finally have  a full pantry) and clothes (the perfect things to replace several rather threadbare items). It was wonderful to spend time with CJ and Kayla and really relax and spend time talking and chatting. Rach even kept Kayla so CJ and I could go out shopping and run some errands.

Our beautiful Kayla girl-- photo taken by Rach.

We also had enough gas to visit slightly out of the way friends on the way home. Rachel was especially excited by this as she had been saving her money for a visit with her friend, plus I got to hang out with her mom, a dear fellow homeschooling friend who has been through much of the same situation in the past, which as you can imagine was very encouraging.

Rachel after I curled her hair. Doesn't she look so grown up?

The trip home itself was … interesting.. due to high winds but we found a cheaper way home (less toll roads) and had a nice drive through PA’s mountains. The next morning we received yet another Valentine’s gift in the form of a package from a friend, containing chocolates (yummy), home canned preserves and sweet and sour squash (which the kids are looking forward to trying in the morning), and kettle popcorn (which Shamus LOVED!) All in all, for people who don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day God provided some wonderful gifts.

Rachel and Tab taking a walk on an icy field and enjoying their visit.