Category: God’s Fingerprints

Recent God Stuff

Things are tight now that the donations have slowed to a trickle (we are so grateful for the few who decided a small weekly or monthly payment would be better and plan to put up a subscribe button on Shamus’ site  to accommodate them.)  We expected this and attempted to plan for it though didn’t succeed quite as well as we hoped.  We have about 5 days before we will, God willing, get the next chunk of money– which should cover us for several months.  Please be praying that we have the money for what we need in the meantime.  Honestly, we have plenty of groceries on hand though they aren’t exactly what I had hoped to have, and have even found that several bills that we thought would be big were overpaid so we won’t have to pay those (or can pay ahead).  Not just that but several other blessings that I have to wait to talk about are, God willing, coming our way.

God is good and is taking care of us in wonderful ways.

And in case you were wondering– I updated our Amazon grocery list to suit our new diet (not asking, just saying.)

PAX East

Today we finally, after some fussing with banks versus Paypal, paid ALL of our bills, well, except the mortgage.  We also have plenty of groceries, all thanks to God’s most recent provision.

We had one more big thing that we had been praying about for 2 years now, a thing which we are pretty sure will be beneficial to Shamus networking wise and certainly beneficial writing wise– we wanted to go to PAX East.   For those who don’t know, it is an east coast (read: driving distance) video game conference run by the great folks from Penny Arcade (I would link but you can look it up if you want to–they are not always suitable for young audiences looking over the shoulder).  Suffice it to say they started out with a webcomic based on video games and then went on to take over the world.)  We also wanted to go because we haven’t actually stayed overnight away from home since our honeymoon (unless you include hospital stays during the birth of our 3 kids and when Rach was in the hospital– trust me– I don’t.)

So, we prayed about it.  When tickets went on sale we had money for tickets but not rooms.  Then someone offered us a room but we didn’t have money for tickets let alone the money for the 12 hour drive.  Then we didn’t know what we would do about the kids.  Plus Shamus hates travel and had all kinds of concerns that needed addressed (and which made it very unlikely).  And so it went so we assumed we weren’t going.

Until this week.  Somehow God managed to orchestrate things so that we were able to find a completely animal free hotel with a front desk person who’s son had severe animal allergies and understood my concern.  Said hotel  just happened to be in our price range, has a kitchen (so we don’t have to go out to eat except when at the conference itself). We were also concerned about the confusion of taking an hour and a half long ride on public transit with multiple switches– until I talked to the hotel and it turns out there is a line that goes straight there.  Then the Saturday tickets were sold out so we thought, nope, not going.  Until we realized, derf, that is Sabbath so we wouldn’t want to go that day anyway.  And considering that we would be on our feet all day Friday and Sunday sandwhiched between a 12 hour drive, a day off started looking really good.  So we are actually looking forward to the break on Saturday despite it “being the best day to go”– if God wants us to go then He can make things work out so that it won’t matter that we miss Saturday (in fact, looking at the itinerary there was only one thing we were even slightly interested in on Saturday and that is likely to not be near as good as it seems from the blurb.)

After that we just needed to figure out what to do about the kids–we didn’t want to saddle anyone with all three for 3 nights (nor make the kids have to stay with anyone person the whole time, and we were leery of asking.)  But that all worked out perfectly (including hand-offs so no one has to all three at any one time) thanks to wonderful family members who really want us to get to go.  The other awesome thing is that not only are the kids excited about visiting family while we are gone but they are just really excited that we are going.  They WANT us to have a vacation together and are planning that we use the $8 they gave us to go out and share a meal for our anniversary to get ourselves some dinner while we are there.  Having lived in Massachusetts in the past and having been to Boston multiple times I know there is no way it will buy much but boy doe sit make them happy we will be able to spend it there. 🙂

Then we kept waiting to buy the tickets.  First it was one thing, then another, but we finally got the go-ahead and got them– which I did today. So now, God willing (praying we don’t get a freak snow storm–it’s happened) we will be going to PAX East next weekend.  It will be our first vacation together since our honeymoon in 1997 (you will notice that Shamus is never in my vacation pictures–that is because he never goes.)  We are both as excited about the Saturday break as about PAX itself though we already have plans to hang out with our gaming group for a bit at the conference.  And then, even more awesome, it turns out that the hotel is a block from the beach so on our Sabbath rest we can walk over and look out at the ocean.  Even if it is a blizzard I will probably do it– I adore the ocean and miss it like crazy.

Next step is printing up some business cards for Shamus to simplify meeting people.  After that is planning who needs to take what where and making sure we are stocked up on everything.  And God willing, it will all continue to work out perfectly.

Rachel and Piano

Rach trying on hats at Walmart.

Rachel loves playing piano and has always been interested in learning. (We have photos of her at 4 months banging on a keyboard.)

This last year through a total God thing (Essie made friends with a piano teacher’s daughter who also had a son just a little younger than Issac) Rachel started taking lessons. Chris, the piano teacher, charges less than the other teachers in the area and is lovely and laid back– which makes her a perfect match for Rachel. The downside was that due to our current financial position (living on what God provides instead of a regular paycheck) we still couldn’t afford the lessons.

So she had to stop but that hasn’t stopped her from practicing what her teacher had taught her, getting a full size keyboard with pedal (another gift from God) so she can play right and going each Friday to practice on a real piano at my mother-in-law’s church. Plus, occasionally her teacher would ask her to come babysit during lessons and give her a lesson as well.

Rachel laughing while dressed up for Halloween.

Well, this week her teacher asked her to come babysit regularly so she could have regular lessons, offered to pick her up each week, AND someone donated the next level up of books so she can move on to the next set.

Rachel was tickled pink!  God is so amazing!  We are so very blessed.

God’s Provision

As you likely know, we have been living completely on what God provides– and many of you have been part of that provision. We keep hoping that we will end up on a more regular schedule instead of the daily bread/mana for the day plan God has had us on. We still honestly have no clue about the future but… He has again provided for the time being.

To begin with as I said I have been doing a bit of cover design/art work as well as the game, which has been paying a bill here, buying groceries there. I also have a potential website design coming up that should help out. However, the big, shocking, amazing thing is that Shamus finally put a donation box on his website. His readers have been begging him to do it for ages and after some consideration and a ton of prayer we finally decided to go for it, recognizing that any income from it will probably be more of a one time deal than an ongoing source. The most amazing thing has been seeing the support pour in– $3 here, $10 there, $50 from over there, and $1.50 from back there and so on, from people all over the globe. I have mentioned before that I love my husband’s readers, and I will say it again. They are an amazing crowd and I love them, idiosyncrasies and all.

And so, as a result, today I was able to go grocery shopping at Sam’s Club (thanks Dad) and pick up a few of the things we were really out of, as well as put in an order at Frankferd Farms for basics like flour and yeast and it looks like we will have enough money to pay all our bills this month, and if we are careful then into next month. What God will do next we don’t know, but it is a relief to know we can pay our debts, and even pay on time–praise the Lord. God is so good.

Oh, and my dad is getting a new washer and dryer so is giving us their old washer! YAH!

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.

Jehovah Jireh

This morning I started to panic again.  I have been doing some work, very fun, exciting work, and it is a paying a bit– enough to cover a few of the past due bills and some necessary items.  But we have plenty of bills that are overdue which means everything is at pay or shut off status and despite God’s obvious provision in the past my brain started thinking again.  So instead of panicking I prayed, and praised God for what He has already done, and then prayed again (I know in my brain that God has and is still providing but every once in a while there is a disconnect in there between that part and the part that buys groceries and pays bills.)

I know God is providing.  I know God is providing.  I know God is providing and am thankful for all He has done.

So anyway, this morning after starting to panic and stopping again I got back to work.   The box art for the card game is sent in and all ready to go so hopefully we are able to move towards printing soon (which is exciting and scary all rolled into one.)  I am also proofing a book while scanning for description for some possible book cover art.  Plus random around the house stuff that needed done.  In the midst of all that I got an email.

A writer friend I had done some website work for in the past and now more recently wanted to know my Paypal address.  This is cool because I finished the work before Christmas and she didn’t have the money then.  Anyway she was able to pay me in full for that job which means that, combined with the work I have been doing (and have gotten promptly paid for) we have enough to pay the most pressing bills and buy a few much needed items.

And so once again God stepped in and took care of things when I couldn’t imagine how He would.  I would so love to be in a place where I didn’t wonder how He could possibly do something because I KNOW HE will I just need the rest of me to know as well.  So praise the Lord for He is awesome!

Our Surprise Anniversary Gift

Yesterday the kids came in the office while Shamus was writing and I was working on a book cover.

“Mom?  Dad?  We have something for you.”

They handed us a huge card with “We love you!” on the front.  Upon opening it we found $8 and note that it was for us to go out to eat to our favorite Chinese restaurant for our anniversary.  (Our anniversary was the 25th and they pretty much ignored it at the time.)  It was especially sweet because they explained that they had only just realized that we hadn’t had the opportunity to go out for our anniversary like we usually do (any and all gifts we received went to pay bills so nothing got turned off).  They had figured out how much we absolutely had to have in order to go out to eat ($8 will pay for one large lunch plus tip at our favorite Chinese restaurant which is plenty for the two of us) and took the money from their savings (they are saving for a decent computer on which to play newer computer games.)

It was the sweetest gift and we are both very proud of them and thankful to God for each of them and their giving hearts.

Work and a Gift

Actually the title should be something about how work is a gift from God, which it is.  How bored we would be and how little enjoyment we would have if we didn’t have something to do with our hands.

I am excited because the Lord has gifted me with several bits of work to do that may lead to other bits of work in a field I adore.  This is especially exciting because it combines skills I have developed over time (which is always nice– I would much rather do that which God has prepared me to do than some random new thing for which I am not designed), books (which if you don’t know already I am passionate about), and creativity (design using Gimp as well as with my pen and paints).

A friend of mine, Grace, owns a small publishing company, Splashdown Books, and was talking about all the work she had to get done this month and I (per usual) volunteered to help.  I got to layout a book cover (which I enjoyed a lot more than designing websites) and got to do a small painting that will be incorporated into the covers for the series.  And then she paid me for my work on the very first night which I was not expecting (like I said I volunteered) and for which I was grateful.  And it looks like she may have other work for me (at the very least the rest of this series which is also exciting, and fun.)

Ever since I was a child and wrote “BCL” in every one of my picture books (B___ Children’s Library) and then proceeded to organize them by author (and type for the non-fiction) I have adored books and wanted to have something to do with them. For a long time I thought I wanted to write and though I do I do not consider myself a “writer”.  I don’t care enough about writing itself to research the best ways to write, writing styles, getting published and all that.  On the other hand I AM passionate about art, a well designed book cover (I will often pick up a book based on a great cover), and encouraging good writers (and there are a lot though there are also a lot of  the other sort of writers out there.)  So it is exciting that God is leading in that direction at this time (I don’t know what He has planned for the future but I am enjoying where I am.)

That, combined with doing the box art for the card game (more art from that over here) is making for a very busy me. The sooner the box art is done, the sooner we can get it published so I am working to get it done quickly, and praying over the work constantly.

Also cool is that Shamus has had several possible offers regarding paying gigs (for both writing and his videos).  We are prayerfully considering each, especially since we are feeling very led to continue in the direction we are going.  He has also been writing about 2,000 words a day on his book, which is coming along nicely.

Finally my mother-in-law showed up with some cash from my father-in-law this morning.  She  said, “He just told me that I was to give this to you kids.”  So that is pretty awesome and appreciated.  Have I mentioned that our families are wonderful and have been such a blessing to us?   Regardless, I will say it now, they are wonderful and a blessing. 🙂  (Later on Rachel came home (she had spent the day helping her grandma and practicing piano at my mother-in-law’s church) she came laden with perishable groceries that my mother-in-law had gotten us: eggs, salad, fruit, and cheese.  Did I mention they are awesome?!

And now back to work. Trying to finish the final element of the box art before Sabbath so I can touch it up then get it scanned after Sabbath.

And It Continues

A huge box just showed up at our door.  It contained several weeks worth of groceries at least: tuna, olive oil, rice, AND chocolate.  It was a gift from the same friend who sent the green beans which means that she and her husband have just provided all of our families favorite foods (well combined with the blessings we have already received) and enough of the basic things to last us a while.  I am just absolutely amazed and grateful and once again teary-eyed.  (I am not a crier and the daily blessings are making it so I am really no longer going to be able to say that.)

So again, thank you to both of you, and praise the Lord for providing in this beautiful way.

And I REALLY need to start taking photos of all these boxes– our poor delivery dudes.

Blessings Abound

It is so amazing to see all that God is doing (I know I keep saying that but each day He surprises me in a new way.)

Yesterday I was struggling. Money I thought would last longer was gone (some because something hadn’t gone through yet at the bank so we thought we had more than we did) and yet another check that we expected this month isn’t coming until next.  So I was having a hard time trusting– which is silly when you look back over the previous posts and see ALL that God is doing.  I should note here that one of the things we do and which God holds us to is tithe on all income from work.   Often when I forget (especially when I am getting a lot of little jobs) God will withhold blessings as a reminder.  Yesterday morning was one of those times– when, after reading the verse about not withholding good/payment from another I remembered and immediately dealt with the issue.  Yesterday’s struggle was before we tithed and the blessings came after.  (Like I said, God does not deal with each of us the same way.  We firmly believe in tithing but that is because God has impressed this on us since we first married and were living on $10 a week in groceries.)

One of the things I have always had trouble with is recognizing that our God LOVES to do new things.  Very seldom does He deal with a situation in exactly the same way.   He likes to keep us looking to Him, waiting and watching for the next miracle He will perform.  I am not saying He doesn’t allow similar circumstances in people’s lives– He does and often it is encouraging to find out that while you are dealing with something there is someone else out there in the same situation.  However, how He handles that situation changes.  I am always expecting Him to handle the new situation the way He did last time.  For example, if we are short the money for a bill  I will expect Him to provide the money for it in the same way He provided for it the month before.  He has yet to do that.  Though I think our mailman/UPS guy/Fedex dude are beginning to wonder what is going on. 🙂

In the last two days we have had even more amazing blessings:

Yesterday morning the UPS guy showed up (despite the solid ice over everything).  I was expecting some enzymes and coconut oil that I had ordered thanks to a gift of an Amazon gift card last week  and was surprised when he handed me a very heavy box.  When I got it inside I found that it was neither–instead it contained 12 cans of green beans from my best friend from high school.  She is awesome!

At some point in the day yesterday I sent an email to a friend who I had been meaning to get in touch with.  After some back and forth I found out that she was overloaded with some work and I volunteered to help out if I could so she could get it done by the deadline.  I took on the project and got a lot of it done last night and sent it off.  I was surprised to find that she sent me money for my work– enough to pay at least one bill!  YAH!  And thank you!

Also the art work for the box of the card game is moving forward quickly, which is exciting and means that the sooner I get it done, the sooner it can be published, and the sooner we can possibly get some income from that.

This morning I sold another Zazzle product (I only get 10% of the sale but it adds up. :))

Then this afternoon, literally right after I remembered to tithe on the money I earned last night, we got three packages in the mail (our poor postman– he is knocking louder every time and not because we can’t hear him.)  My enzymes and coconut oil came (just as I was almost out of both) AND another package– a huge bag of raw almonds from Anonymous .  I am SO EXCITED!!!!  I am the almond lover in the household (though the kids enjoy almond milk and the baked goods I make from the almond meal.)  So thank you, whoever you are!

I wonder what God has for us next?  Regardless I am sure it will be awesome because He is!