Tag: God stuff

God’s Provision and Where We Are March 2012

You might say we are in a tight space,  but we have been there before and God is providing and now that all family members know where we are and what is going on, at least in part, I can share here what is going on here.

The house is up for sale (current potential sheriff sale date is in early May.  We are praying the house DOES sell before then or that they push back the date –still in the reams of paperwork that it takes to figure all this stuff out.)  The house has a lot of issues (that we can’t afford to fix– one of the reasons we didn’t even attempt to sell in the past) and there are a lot of houses up for sale in our area so it is definitely a buyers market and there are NOT a lot of buyers though we have had a lot of showings.)

No, we have no idea where we are going.  Looking at our current financial situation, poor credit, and random freelance income combined with aneeding a completely mold and dander free place big enough for the 5 of us to  live and work, well, finding a place around here isn’t likely.  Also our families all have pets so that is a no go.

One of the things we are prayerfully considering is an RV– IF the Lord provides one that suits our needs (within our budget, big enough for our family, self-contained since our minivan couldn’t pull a big enough one, everything functioning and low maintenance since neither Shamus nor I is good with fixing vehicles) then that would be awesome.  The kids and I love to travel and love to be able to come home to family.  Shamus loves to stay home yet wants to be able to go to conferences.  The cost of living in an RV works well with our freelance income and the cost per month is within our means.  So far we have found a few that IF we had a check come we could afford and look to suit our needs so the idea is not too far out there.

Otherwise the Lord would either need to increase our freelance income or provide a place to stay for low rent or free until such a time as He does that.

We are currently at the “in-between checks” stage of the freelance life.  We just used up the big check we got back in November (and thanks to the Lord’s intervention in various ways we were able to extend it slightly further than expected– we expected to run out and need more in January and we just hit the end of it here in March– which is amazingly awesome.)  We have money we are waiting on from various sources and we know we will get it soon though whether soon is this month or next month we don’t know.  So, THAT is interesting. 🙂

In the meantime the Lord has provided for us here and there in all kinds of cool ways.

Currently we have just enough in the bank to make it to PAX East in a few weeks (we have to go this year for various reasons or we would back out knowing money was tight).  Since we plan to move soon we thought it best if we used up the food we have instead of buying lots of other groceries of the type that the family prefers.  In the process the Lord has extended our food supply in amazing ways.  We have had more than a few “stone soup” type meals: The last few grapes, the last banana, the about to go bad Mandarin oranges, and the pears I found in the bottom of the fridge behind something else made a wonderful fruit salad.  The broth I made from the last chicken in the freezer, plus the last bit of several bags of vegetables made a wonderful soup.  While searching the freezer for something else I found a lb of ground beef and made that up for Shamus (he is allergic to chicken).  While searching for something to go with noodles and meat for him I realized that the jars of red peppers in oil that I bought by mistake (was supposed to get fermented and missed that fact when buying) made an amazing “spaghetti sauce” that the family couldn’t tell from tomato sauce (which they can’t eat anyway so that was pretty awesome.)

The Lord has also extended the money we have when I do buy at the store– over and over again when I have gotten to the cash register the price has been way below what it should have been– either because of $15 off coupons given out because there is a new store in town or because I miscalculated or because the food was mis-priced.  This week I was able to supplement the food we hav eat home for the week by spending only $30 (I make everything from scratch and we buy our meat, eggs, and milk from the farm and our weekly grocery budget is usually around $200-$250.)

Also a wonderful group of friends, who knew a little bit about what was going on, pulled their resources and sent us $150– which has basically provided gas and groceries for the last 3 weeks and probably the next 2.

So it has been pretty awesome to see and while Shamus and I have been here over and over again since 15 years ago when we married and had a grocery budget of $10 a week the kids are getting a much needed reminder of God’s amazing provision.  It has spawned numerous conversations about how sick the Israelites must have gotten of manna (and how God did not appreciate the whining and complaining :)), God’s promise of provision, God’s plan for our lives and how He shows us which direction will be best for us.  The kids are old enough to remember past instances of this but it is a good reminder and they are doing better about it this time around then in the past.  We have plenty and they know it. 🙂

Also the Lord has blessed them in new exciting ways.  Rachel has had work recently so has been able to buy the things she wants instead of feeling deprived.  A friend who has been to Japan has given her info on a Japanese missions trip each summer which has further fueled her passion to GO.  The same friend is giving her a copy of Rosetta Stone Japanese (which is a cool God’s timing story in itself– a whole day flipped upside down and inside out just to get us outside the thrift shop at exactly the moment this friend was leaving.)  Family members have randomly stopped by and given us some of the kids favorite foods without even realizing that things were tight (we generally don’t advertise the fact wanting all provision to be obviously and clearly from God plus we don’t like people worrying.)  Issac is getting to stay with his best friend while we are at PAX East (the family is going out of their way to meet us and pick him up which is so cool.)  A neighbor out of the blue gave us a full working computer (it just needs a decent graphics card and it will be awesome for the stuff Essie does– and this happened the day after Es sent her Eee pc off to a fellow Christian unschooling family who needed a computer.  Her Eee pc no longer suited her needs and spent most of its time in her desk while she waited for a turn on the bigger laptop that can run Blender and Gimp so finding someone who needed a computer just for writing and communicating and being able to bless them was awesome.)

Shamus’ book is selling well though not nearly as well as Shamus had hoped (though VERY, VERY well for an indie author in a new genre.)  And he is working on a new book (in a different genre of course.  Sigh.:))  He has been very inspired and therefore writing on the new book nearly constantly which is a blessing in itself.

Shamus’ asthma had started acting up again very suddenly– we think we have finally tracked down the cause but also a friend blessed us with some Young Living Essential oils to try and he has been using the R.C. one on his chest twice a day and it has REALLY helped.  So that is another awesome blessing.

I am sure there are many other things that the Lord has been doing but those are the ones I can think of at th emoment (we have been so busy that this is the first time I have had a chance to write in a while.)

God is so GOOD!

Halving it All

A recent question on the CU Facebook group got me thinking about my experience with too much stuff and how God got a hold of me– which is why our house is no longer cluttered and it is actually easy to find what we need or want and keep it clean.

I have always collected things.  Old books, lots and lots of old books, vintage toys, rocks, vintage clothes, you name it.  When I was a kid my floor was completely covered with stuff and intermingled with toys and books and clothes were fossils, lots and lots of fossils collected from our limestone driveway. When I went to college, I packed up most of my stuff and moved into a teeny tiny dorm room.  It was covered in stuff all the time.  When I got a job as a nanny and moved out I took ALL my stuff with me– most of it never got unpacked– boxes and boxes and boxes of stuff.  And I still couldn’t keep my trailer clean because I had too much stuff.  Same happened when I got married.  And then proceeded to move multiple times, and I took everything with me.  When we finally settled down here 11 years ago  I had boxes stacked in every closet, more books than shelves, the kids toys and clothes overflowed every possible nook and cranny.  The floor was constantly overwhelmed with our stuff.  I couldn’t keep up with the basic chores because I was dealing with 3 little ones (Issac was born 10 months after we moved in) and we had too much stuff.

Too many shoes? We figured out that they only wore about 3 pairs of these each. Most didn't even fit!

Probably around 2004, definitely in January, God clearly told me to get rid of half.  I don’t remember the verses I read at the time nor how exactly nor what (and the journals are packed up at my in-laws so can’t check.) However it was very, very clear that He wanted me to get rid of half of all of it.  Some of this stuff had never been unpacked since I first moved out to become a nanny 10 years earlier.  Most of it I had held onto out of fear– what if I need this at some point in the future.  That was how my family had always done it– when I had Rachel my mom handed me box after box of my own clothes and toys from when I was small.  My grandmother saved bread bags instead of buying ziplocks.  It was just how we did things.  How could I possibly give this stuff up?  It just wasn’t done.  But half of everything stayed in my mind and stuck with me.  I needed  get rid of half of everything and I needed to start now.  (And mind you Shamus had been wanting me to get rid of stuff for forever.)

So I started.  I started small.  I looked at the coat rack and my pile of coats– I still had winter coats that I had had in school, and ones that had been given to me by family members who were getting rid of (being the only married kids in the family with the only grand-kids- EVERYONE gave us stuff.) So I looked through my coats and got rid of half.  Those all went to the thrift shop.  I realized I could suddenly find the ones I wore with no problem, instead of knocking everything down every time I tried to grab one.  Then I went through my shirts.  I got rid of the ones that didn’t quite fit, the ones that weren’t flattering, the ones that I didn’t really like to wear.  By the time I was done I could close my drawer.  And it went on from there.  I got rid of half our dishes.  Half our books.  Even half our food (turns out we had a whole lot of stuff in the pantry that had been bought that we couldn’t or wouldn’t eat– that all went to the food pantry in town.)  I went through the old paperwork and got rid of the surplus (which was more than half and went to the burn pile.)  And so, in the matter of about 6 months, I had gone through the entire house and gotten rid of half of everything.

This train only left the house this year as Issac decided it was time to share it with someone else. Much of the rest in this picture, taken in 2006, is long gone. By that time we had a lot less stuff though not near as little as we do now.

It ended up being a good thing (or you could consider it God blessing us) because in August a friend started dropping stuff off at our house that they didn’t want (she was cleaning out her house) and suddenly we had more stuff– some of which we really needed or had been wanting.  And then my parents, who  were divorced both remarried, combining multiple households and started dropping off stuff THEY didn’t need.  And a neighbor started dropping off things her grand-kids didn’t want.

Issac does Kung Fu with marker sticks in our fairly simple living room. The kids pitch-in and help get rid of because they like being able to find the things they enjoy.

Pretty soon I was in the habit of going through, only keeping what we would really use, and getting rid of the rest, recognizing that God clearly WAS and would continue to provide what we needed, when we needed it, and we didn’t need to hold onto all that stuff.  Because that was all it was.  Stuff.  Even the things with sentimental value were just things, things that were getting in the way of my peace, of our family’s peace, even in the way of my relationship with God because I wasn’t trusting Him, I was trusting stuff.

So now we keep the clutter down, regularly going through and getting rid of, and focusing our time on better things than maintaining stuff.  Less clothes=less laundry, less dishes= people will rewash instead of leaving the dishes to pile up, less toys means the kids can find what they really want to play with, less stuff we don’t use means we can focus on what we DO use.  All in all halving everything was the beginning of a much healthier lifestyle for all of us and God continues to bless us as we willingly pass on the things He gifts to us.

Provision-y stuff and an Octopus

Rach proudly holding the homemade marzipan octopus she sculpted.

We are busy cleaning and packing plus doing Hanukkah (not to mention family Christmas stuff.) In the meantime God has been blessing us in a variety of ways, including the above marzipan recipe which makes it much cheaper and thus lets Rach sculpt to her hearts content.

It's a Calvin octopus.
Some cool God stuff that has happened:
  • We managed to get rid of 6 garbage bags full of sheets, blankets, and books– which means less stuff to pack!  YAH!
  • The kids have been a great help with packing things up, especially since I keep getting minor injuries that are forcing me to stop and rest.
  • We bought the kids 1 gift for each day of Hanukkah and it has been so peaceful and enjoyable.  Instead of a pile of presents the kids are really focusing on their one gift and enjoying it, which has been a huge change of events.  In the past a stuffed Mario or book would have been tossed aside when the bigger, cooler gifts come out but this year they are enjoying each to the fullest.
  • The peace that Hanukkah has brought has especially blessed me as I normally go crazy during the holidays, preferring to hole up in a corner with a book and avoid all the chaos.  This is especially good considering all the other stuff going on.
  • The Lord is continuing to take care of us financially.  We have been waiting, praying and trusting and He is making our money go much further than we could have imagined.
  • I got a God-gift today (usually around the holidays and my birthday the Lord blesses me with something that is exactly what I wanted, something just perfect that blesses me in a huge way– I always call them God-gifts…because they are obviously a perfect special thing just from Him to me.)  Today, Rach and I ran to the thrift shop to drop off the bags of stuff.  While there we were checking for something she was looking for and while she was looking at something else she ran across a food processor in the wrong spot.  We had just been talking about how little time this one has left (I have burned them out in less than a week and our current one is used and was missing the shredding/slicing blade.)  The one she found was a perfect match to my current one (which was a thrifted gift from a friend) and it included a non-broken bowl and the blade I needed.  This means I can use the current one till I burn it out and have a backup.  Plus I now have two bowls and mixing blades!  We are all so excited because I have been wanting to make sauerkraut and other ferments again and really needed that blade (due to my RA cutting and grating are pretty much out so without a food processor that works well I can’t make a lot of our foods.)   Someday we will have the money to get me a good one again (I killed my Bosch after 9 years of daily use) but for now I have a backup that does what I need!  So excited and blessed that God would provide this for me in such a way (and I think the kids are as excited as I am– we all love God-gifts and get excited about them together).
  • The sign is up in front of our house to let people know it is for sale.  Today someone stopped and asked about it (we are appointment only because we are all home all the time and I am not sure if we will have sheets to give out or not– we don’t right now which is what he was asking for.)  I am just feeling really encouraged that someone is even interested at all.
  • When the bank called today they suddenly said that we DON’T have a sheriff sale date.  Not sure if it changed because the house is now for sale for real, if he just didn’t see it, or what but he was pretty sure we didn’t have a date for sheriff sale which is interesting because last week they said January 6.  Either way we are encouraged again that something is happening and God is moving.
  • After the thrift shop Rach and I ran into the grocery store nearby to pick up a few things we needed.  On the way out they had a huge pile of excellent boxes (banana boxes and egg boxes which are super strong.)  I had totally forgotten that  when I had called they said Thursday was their shipment day and that they just put them on the ledge in front for people to take.  So Rach and I filled the minivan up with boxes and we now have plenty (I think) for what we need.


Green Energy Snap Circuits
Issac saved up his birthday/Christmas money to get these. Just ordered them and got them right before our derf we ar a lmost out of money moment..

We have been, for several months, gratefully living off the money we got back from the government (via paying our taxes) for which we have been very, very grateful.  The problem is we knew it wouldn’t last.  We didn’t go crazy and buy all sorts of things– except for stocking up on the things we had been out of for some time, getting a few things to replace broken other things (though not replacing all the broken appliances– well attempting to, but when the replacements also broke we just waited).  So we are at that place.  The place where we are back relying on Jehovah Jireh daily.  The oldest isn’t too thrilled as she doesn’t like being uncomfortable at all but here we are.  SO I thought I should share what all He has been doing (though I have been sharing daily on Facebook and on the CU group.)


Moraine State Park
Impromptu trip to Moraine on a very hot sunny day.

When we realized how low we were getting we did the same thing we always do– avoided paying the bills.  We are awful that way.  Then we went to pay the bills and realized, wow, we really are low– too low to buy groceries.  Okay, now what God?  (I hate that we do that, but we both do, especially as it almost always happens when Shamus is sleeping during the day and we aren’t seeing each other except when one of us is falling asleep.

Green Energy Snap Circuits
Intent on his new kit.
  • Right around that time I got a spur of the moment, last minute, please help us get this done in time book cover job (thanks Grace!) which paid for a bill that needed paid NOW.  The book is here: http://www.amazon.com/Winter-Keven-Newsome/dp/tags-on-product/0987653105, the cover was nearly done, just needed to place some text and clean it up for print.  Holly Heisey did the cover and it is lovely.
  • I helped a friend transfer her blog for fun and she sent us gift cards for a local restaurant– which is awesome and will provide a much needed date with Mr. Hubbypants (if our sleep EVER lines up again!)
  • The first thing that happened, immediately following paying bills is I started really analyzing the cost of GAPS foods and deciding what was most important.  We then realized that trips to Broadrun farms were VERY important as raw milk, meat, and eggs are the cheapest nutrition for us.  So, knowing we didn’t have the money we prayed that God would provide.  And around the time that we HAD to leave I got money via paypal through the same friend who sent us the gift cards!  Enough for everything we needed at the farm!  YAH!  (And thanks to my grandma I had enough gas to go!)
  • If you follow my husband at all you will know that he was finishing up his book, Libreoffice hiccuped and LOST 3 days of work– which was HUGE and he was devastated.  Then a reader sent him a free gift of  Word (the “good  version–can’t remember which year).  He was grateful but felt it wasn’t time to get back into it– which is fine because he works in his head like I do, THEN put sit on paper.
  • Because of that he suddenly got back into programming and started working on a game engine again– and is going at warp speed doing what he calls the best programming he has ever done.  Which is awesome and I am excited to see where God takes that.
  • I have multiple jobs right now, all of which will help pay the bills in the coming month (some things due soon so that is awesome.)
  • Right after I had a huge panic attack about where the money would come from, God started putting everything into place.   A friend sent us not only enough to renew our Science Center Membership (which he says we should do) but also added enough to pay some bills and keep us in food until these jobs pay.  Praise the Lord–some stress relieved.
  • Another friend was doing a rummage sale at her church and told me to let her know what appliances we had that had died so she could watch for them.  Then she offered to pick them up at the pre-sale (just for helpers) so I would get them.  THEN when I tried to pay her she said no!  So now we have all new small appliances to replace all our broken ones!
Moraine State Park
Moraine State Park, Pa

Scrims and Seemings

When I was in high school I had no urge to be on the stage. I wanted to be behind the scenes, making the invisible workings work, creating illusions, and making fake seem real. I loved stage crew and especially adored painting scenery. The curtains and lighting were completely beyond me but there was one aspect of both that I adored. Occasionally a musical we were working on required a scrim. For those who don’t know, a scrim is a thin mesh material that hangs the full length of the stage, with a scene painted on it. When the light shines in front of it you can’t see what is behind, but if a light shines behind you can see that beyond the scrim. In fact you can shine lights on individual aspects of the scenery or props behind the scrim and just show those. (If you are having a hard time imagining what I mean this site has a cool image that demonstrates it.)

I loved all the effects that you could get with a scrim– where with a bit of scenery and some props you could have a few scenes with a scrim you could layer them and create dimension. You could add light to just one part, rearrange everything behind while the light was shining without anyone even realizing you were on stage. You could create many different scenes with a few drop down scenes, some scenery blocks on wheels and one scrim. It was amazing and exciting to see all changes in view and perception that that one illusion could produce.

The thing about scrims is they are really just a seeming. They seem to be there, they seem to show a scene but when you get close to it you can see that it is really nothing more than a bit of mesh. The illusion seems totally real until the light shines just so from behind and your eyes are opened.

Last night I remembered the scrim and realized how much of our religiosity is just seemings. It is only when God’s light shines on it that we see it for the flimsy scrim that it is. This one thing seems so important, it seems like the right thing and then God adds His light and suddenly we see that there is something more true, more real behind it.

The thing is we are all at different places in the theater, seated in different seats so we are all only seeing a part of the stage and that through multiple scrims and seemings, sometimes with various props, scenes, and false fronts in the way. And then God shines His light and refocuses our perception so we see a little bit of His Truth. None of us can see the whole though for some there are less seemings between us and Him. We have to rely on Him to lift those veils, open our eyes, and He does it gradually, never all at once– I think if He did it would break us completely. So we watch and pray and ask and receive and another seeming is removed.

Someday we we will see the whole and it will be glorious.

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.

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!