Sunday, July 31, 2011

Our 29th Wedding Anniversary

29 years ago today, Jason and I were married! We dated for almost 2 years so we were ready for this big day! It seemed like the day dragged on forever! The ceremony didn’t begin until 8:00 p.m. I remember it rained for awhile that afternoon (showers of blessing I like to call it). I was so nervous and anticipating this big day that I dreamed the night before our wedding that it was time to walk down the aisle and I was still in my pajamas! (I tend to have crazy dreams like that when I have something big that I’m anticipating the next day). :)

I can honestly say that our love has grown over the years. I wouldn’t have thought that possible but it’s a deeper kind of love. We’ve gone through many chapters in our lives and I wouldn’t trade any part of it. I value his opinion, his time, his sacrifice, his talents, his leadership, his approval, and most of all, his love.

I appreciate and love the way he shows me I’m important every day. It’s the little things that he does every day that really makes me happy – opening my car door, holding my hand every chance he gets (even in the car), his arm tucked around me sitting in church, his “hey baby” when he walks by or calls me, noticing when I’m wearing something new or have my hair fixed different, or just telling me I look pretty (what girl doesn’t like to hear that?). These are just a few of the little things he does that mean so much in making me feel loved, valued, and cherished.

I thank the Lord for writing our love story and for the gift he gave me in Jason. If you’d like to read more about us, you can read here, here,  here , here or here.

Today as you read this, we’re off on a little overnight getaway….the first and only one we’ve had since Luke came home. Joy and Luke are getting pampered by Grandmama and Pop; Colt has the house to himself; And we have our very own cabin. :)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Faithful Friday - "Before You Meet Prince Charming"

My daughter, Joy, came up with the idea of putting Friday aside especially to share our Christian faith in some way to the blogging world. Not that we wouldn’t do it any other day of the week, but a special day, where others could contribute if they’d like, encouraging others in their Christian walk. If you would like to participate, please grab Joy’s button below and go to her blog, Doodlebug, and leave her a comment letting her know that you participated. We’d love to come by and visit and read your post! And if you don’t post, that’s fine too. We just thank you for reading and for comments as well.

Oh, and the subject of Joy’s post today is the same subject as mine. If you’d like to read more, from her point of view, she invites you over to read her Faithful Friday post too.


It seems girls these days are so preoccupied with boys way too early. I’m talking about girls age nine to twelve, and some even as young as seven and eight. I hear them talking about, “my boyfriend”, and “oh I broke up with him”. It’s really a shame that our society pushes this way too soon to our daughters. More and more grown up styles, trends, and attitudes are aimed at the tweens or pre-teens. They are pressured to be “little teenagers”. I think this is so unhealthy and very harmful to young girls, which brings me to the point I want to make today.

What is the purpose of dating?

Dating is not a word or concept that’s always been around. In earlier days, people courted. It was more like this: A young man was acquainted with a young lady. They would see each other at social gatherings or when their two families got together – more of group gatherings or situations. If a young mad admired a young lady, he asked her dad if he could court her, or get to know her better, in which case they were rarely ever totally unsupervised. The purpose of this courting was to find a wife (or husband).

We’ve drifted so far from the purpose of “dating”. These days, the kids start “dating” way too young. They view dating as a form of entertainment. I doubt very few go into a dating relationship with the question of “Would he (or she) make a good husband (or wife)? So, by the time they get to the point that they’re ready to start looking for a future spouse, they’ve already given so many pieces of themselves away, whether it is physical, or even just emotional.

They go into marriage with emotional scars from giving so many pieces of their heart to this one and that one. How many have given away the best pieces of their heart…..the treasured part that should be a gift to their future husband (or wife).

I did date. I never really considered some of the things I’m suggesting today, but it would have saved me some heartache. I did have a mother that guided me and I was set on being pure for the person I married. Pure, in my definition, meant being pure physically, as far as protecting my virginity. When I did date I always had the intent and outlook of “Would this guy make a good husband and dad”. If he didn’t, that was my red flag and there was no other reason to be dating him. However, I wish that I had kept even more intimate parts of my heart and emotions for my future spouse. I was praying that God was raising up the pure young man that I would marry (as was my mother) and that He would bring us together and give me the wisdom to recognize him. And He did, when the Lord brought Jason into my life.

At the homeschool convention, back in March, Jason, Joy, and I had the privilege of hearing Sarah Mally, author of the book, Before You Meet Prince Charming (and co-author of more books). She reiterated what I knew and believed. I purchased her book and her curriculum, Bright Lights, recognizing it as a gem to be shared between Joy and me. This is a very important subject.

The book, Before You Meet Prince Charming, is written in a princess/castle story style presenting the issues in this fairy tale style. Then Sarah follows it up with scripture, examples, and testimonies on what was read. The entire book encourages and shows young ladies that boys aren’t where their focus should be. These precious years are better spent being “bright lights” for Jesus and finding opportunities to minister, serve, and bless others. This time of singleness can be used to prepare in practical ways for managing a home as well as developing natural talents, God-given desires, and ministry opportunities, instead of looking for a boyfriend (or girlfriend).

To sum it up, trust God with this important issue – don’t give pieces of your heart (or more) to anyone. What better gift than to save the best, a pure heart and body, for your future husband (or wife)?

After we finished reading Before You Meet Prince Charming, we started reading When God Writes Your Love Story, by Eric and Leslie Ludy. It is mostly written for a little older audience than the 9-12 year age. Although these days, maybe not. They’re going to hear other things from other people, so better from a parent that loves them. I am finding it fine for Joy. However, please use your own discernment as a parent before you begin reading it to your daughter or son, or turn it over to them.

This book is written by a husband and wife who both had been living and doing the “dating scene”, knowing enough Christian values to remain pure of body, although compromising going as far as would be okay without jeopardizing the “too far”. It’s a book about how they both (before they ever met each other) realized this wasn’t what God intended and they turned their love life over to Him and gave God the pen to write their love story….waiting on His plan to unfold concerning their future spouse.

Some of my favorite parts and highlights from When God Writes Your Love Story:

Have you ever thought of your heart as a treasure every bit as valuable as your physical purity? Have you ever felt the pain that comes from casually giving away your heart from pouring all of yourself into someone – only to have that precious treasure thrown on to the ground and trampled?

How much of your treasure will be left if you continue to give it away piece by piece in one relationship after another?

Our purity is a treasure.

One of the greatest ways we can love our future husbands (or wives) with unconditional, self-sacrificing love is by carefully protecting that precious gift we possess – our inward and outward purity.

Carefully guard your heart, emotions, physical purity – everything you are for the man (or woman) you will one day marry.

A young man should have to “win” your heart.

Here’s something that hit me like a brick. Why did I not see this before? The Bible tells us in Proverbs 31 what a godly woman and wife looks like. In Proverbs 31:12 NIV, it says, “She (the wife of godly character) does him (her husband) good and not evil all the days of her life.

Did you get that…….all the days of her life? Do you know any women that have been married all the days of their life? So what does that mean? That would mean that we are to do our (future) husband good all the days of our life. That means before we even meet him we are to be doing him good. Wow! We aren’t doing him good if we’re giving away pieces of ourselves that belong to him.

And for the guys: The secret to heavenly romance is to begin practicing purity for a woman, and cherishing her with your thoughts, actions and words, long before you meet her. Think about beginning to live as if she could see you now…..what you’re doing with who you’re with now.
Would she be pleased? Same with the girls…….would your future husband be pleased if he could see what you were doing and with whom? Would he rather have that piece of your heart?

Think about it like this. This was also taken word for word from When God Writes Your Love Story:

Just imagine that inside your heart there is a place where only one person can ever enter, other than God. It’s a combination between a mini-kingdom where you store up your finest treasures, and a dazzling meadow where your sweetest flowers bloom. In this mini kingdom, you store up the most extravagant love, and in this dazzling meadow, you nurture your most tender affections. The longer this sanctuary is faithfully guarded, cultivated, beautified, the more enchanting it will become!

Recently, a close friend of mine went to a wedding of a young man and woman who followed this path of “courting” and keeping themselves pure in every way for their future spouse. They were saving their first kiss for their wedding day. I wasn’t at that wedding, but my friend told me what a beautiful wedding it was. I can only imagine. It gives me goose bumps thinking of it. And at the reception, the young groom stood every time his young beautiful bride got up or came to sit down. He showed so much respect, admiration, and adoration that it was just a beautiful thing to behold. And their first dance was like there was no one else in the room for these two. They were so in love, the passion held back for each other until this day was so obvious. They were floating on clouds.

I highly recommend both of these books. I loved them both. Both are gems. Before You Meet Prince Charming is a wonderful mother/daughter book to share first. If your daughter is ready, I highly recommend following it with When God Writes Your Love Story. If not, save it until you think she is, but I recommend reading it together!

To all young girls out there (and guys too) and for moms to share with your daughters (or sons): Before you meet Prince Charming (or your princess), spend time cultivating a pure heart, your treasure of a gift for your future spouse. Give God the pen to write your love story. When God writes your love story, it’s a beautiful thing.

I’m going to leave with you a beautiful story, about a beautiful love, a God-written love story. (This excerpt was taken from When God Writes Your Love Story.)

Lt. John Blanchard was in New York City at Grand Central Station, and he looked up at the big clock. It said five till six. His heart was racing. At exactly six o’clock he was going to meet the girl whom he thought he was in love with, but had never met. This is what had happened….He had been in Florida for pilot training during World War II, and while he was there he happened to go to a library and check out a book. As he flipped through the pages, he noticed that someone had made notes in the margins. Reading the insightful observations in beautiful handwriting, he said to himself, “I would love to meet whoever wrote these note – they seem so kind, gentle, and wise.”

He looked in the front of the book and saw a name, Harlyss Maynell, New York City. He decided to try to find her. With the help of a New York City phone book, he found her address and wrote her a letter. The day after he wrote her, he was shipped back overseas to fight in the war.

Surprisingly, Harlyss answered John’s letter. They soon began to correspond back and forth throughout the war. “Her letters were just like the marvelous notes she had written in that book,” John recalled. “She was so comforting and so helping.”

One time John had confessed in a letter that he had been scared to death when they flew over Germany. Harlyss had encouraged him, “All brave men are afraid at times. Next time you are afraid, just say “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.”

As they continued to write, John began to realize that he was having romantic feelings toward Harlyss. He wrote, “Send me a picture,” and she replied, “No, I won’t. Relationships are not built on what people look like.”

Still, he was intrigued by her and longed to meet her in person. Finally the day came when he was to return to the States on leave. He mentioned in one of his letters that he was coming home and would like to take her to dinner. She had arranged to meet him in New York City’s Grand Central Station at six P.M. under the big clock. “You’ll know who I am because I’ll be wearing a red rose,” she told him.

At last the day had come. John waited nervously to finally meet the girl he thought he loved. Here is how John described his first meeting with Harlyss Maynell:

“A young woman was coming toward me, her figure long and slim. She had blonde hair that lay back in curls from her delicate ears. Her eyes were as blue as flowers. Her lips and chin had a gentle firmness, and in a pale green suit she looked like spring-time come alive!”

Excitedly, I started toward her, entirely forgetting to notice that she was not wearing a red rose. As I moved her way, she noticed me. A small provocative smile curled her lips.

“Going my way, soldier?” she asked coyly. I took another step closer to her. It was then that I saw….Harlyss Maynell with the red rose in her coat, directly behind the girl in green. My heart sank. She was a woman well past forty. She was plump. She had graying hair tucked under a worn hat. Her thick ankles were thrust into low shoes. The girl in the green suit was walking quickly away. I had to make a choice. Should I follow after the beauty who had just spoken to me? Or stay and face poor Harlyss Maynell?

I made my decision and I did not hesitate. Turning toward the woman, I smiled. Even as I began to speak, I felt choked by bitter disappointment. “You must be Miss Maynell,” I said extending my hand. “I’m so glad you could meet me. Will you join me for dinner?”

The older woman’s face then broadened into a smile. “I don’t know what this is all about, son,” she replied, “but you know that young woman in the green suit who just went by? I met her on the train. She begged me to wear this rose in my coat. She said that if you should ask me to dinner, to tell you she’s waiting for you in that big restaurant across the street. She said it was some kind of a test.”

The amazing and romantic story of John Blanchard and Harlyss Maynell is an incredible example of a young woman who was willing to wait for a man with true integrity – and a man who was rewarded because he did not follow his fleshly desires, but responded with the character of Christ.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Cedar Loft - Update #4

Things didn’t go exactly as planned this past week.

Joy and I did begin staining the siding for the interior walls last Thursday and got as far as eight sheets stained. I wasn’t pleased at all with the finish but waited to hear Jason’s opinion when he came home. He agreed; so it was another trip to Lowes.

We took a board with us and went through five of their little samples, trying each one out there on the spot. The clerk was great……very patient with us. She asked if she could try a color. We told her she was more than welcome to try any she wanted and that we should have asked her sooner! She tried a color and it came very close to the shade we were trying to achieve. When we told her it was getting close, she went over and picked a shade called “leather satchel” and tried that one……and bingo, we had a winner! It’s a warm cozy color and I think it’s going to be great for that space!

So the report for this week is that most of the knotty barn siding is hung and painted. At least, as of now, the main living area is done.

My daddy hung most of the fixtures and did the electrical hook ups.

I love these two pendant lights hanging over what will be the bar area.

These fixtures that hang in the kitchen, bathroom, little hallway, and living area were purchased like this. They look nice in black, but I wanted more of a “rusty” or “bronzed” look and couldn’t find anything I really liked within our budget. I really preferred more straight lines and most of the indoor fixtures were curvy. I ended up going with these – the closest I could get to a rustic/prim look on our tiny budget. They were actually in the outdoor section of Lowes. So, they started out this way:

But with the help of this:

They were transformed into this………a little more prim/rustic.

And for the laundry room and closets, we just purchased these very simple wall plates and for good measure, I sprayed them also. From this:

To this:

The rest of this week, Jason will be hanging more siding with his helpers, (Colt, Joy, or me). I think he prefers Colt (he knows a little more what he’s doing than the other two). :) Then Joy and I will paint and Jason will cut in.

Luke loves being a little helper. He watches and listens closely to his daddy at work and we find him “working” too. He will stand on the little ladder and look around and say “hmmmm”, like he’s trying to figure it out. He declared that the tin ceiling was “like a puzzle”. He’s so right. It was definitely like a puzzle! He likes to help wherever he can. He’s been really good about hanging out there with us, especially for an active three year old boy.

Next on the list is the flooring. We have a flooring man coming out tomorrow to give us an estimate on laying the vinyl flooring for us. Because there will be so many seams to glue down and a pattern to match up, I think Jason and my Daddy aren’t feeling very confident about tackling it. According to what kind of estimate we get from them, we’ll have to make a decision on going ahead with the vinyl flooring we picked out and letting them lay it (I do love this pattern) OR staining or painting and applying polyurethane to the plywood subflooring. I guess next week’s report will tell the story.

This weekend we’ll be taking a little break for part of the weekend to celebrate our anniversary (which is on Sunday). We’ve climbed these stairs way too many times this week! Poor Jason, especially, carrying that heavy siding!

My favorite carpenter at work:

It’s exciting to see the transformation and it’s so amazing how adding the walls added depth and makes the space appear bigger! My mind’s eye can see how connecting the tin ceiling and the walls with the trim (which is one of the last steps) will make a huge difference too!

So that’s where we are…….chugging right along, not really too far off schedule from our goal of completing it by Labor Day. I think we can, I think we can, I think we can........

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Family Evening at the Drive-In Movie

I’m not really sure why we haven’t done this with the kids before now, because I have a very fond memory of my Uncle Jesse taking my cousins and me to the drive-in movie to see The Apple Dumpling Gang! My uncle backed his van in and opened the back doors where all of us kids could hang out with our snacks. We had a blast! (However, on the adjacent screen in the distance, they were showing Mommy Dearest….not exactly a child friendly movie).

Colt and Amber love going to the drive-in movie. It was because of their remarks about it that we ended up going. It’s less expensive; the concessions are more affordable; and it’s just a different, comfortable, and fun atmosphere. So Jason suggested we go one Sunday evening a few weeks ago.

You get a double feature for $7 per adult. Kids under 10 are free.

We saw Cars 2 and Kung Fu Panda 2. They were both okay. I think so many of the movies these days that are supposedly made for kids are over their heads. They still throw in inappropriate comments sometimes that I could do without as well. However, we had a really good time, just being there!

It was fun sitting out in our lawn chairs with a big bucket of buttered popcorn and soft drinks under the stars. We didn’t stay for the rest of Kung Fu Panda, because Luke and Joy were having a hard time holding their eyes open, and Jason and I weren’t far behind them! So we packed it up and headed on home before that movie ended with everybody climbing in bed rather late.

We’ve decided that going to the drive-in movie will be especially fun this fall when the air starts to get that crisp feeling, snuggled under a quilt in our lawn chairs with hot chocolate.……..and a big bucket of popcorn of course. I wonder why it is that popcorn tastes much better when you’re watching a movie?  :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Snacks for the Road

It’s that time of year. Time when we load the family up in the SUV or Minivan, or in our case, our little black Mazda 3, and head out to our vacation destination, whether it be for a week or two, or just a weekend.

And everybody knows you’re inevitably going to hear at least three different things somewhere along the way (not usually very far down the road):

#1 – How much longer until we get there?
#2 – I need to use the bathroom.
# 3- I’m hungry or I’m thirsty.

So, for #3, if you’re really organized and thrifty, you’ve brought snacks along as well as drinks in the cooler.  And in that case, you should pat yourself on the back!  If not, (or if you don’t have room in the trunk because of everything else you stuffed in there), you will be looking forward to those stops to get gas or use the restroom because you know that you can probably talk dad into a snack and a drink.

That brings me to the subject of this post. When you stop at the gas station to grab a snack and drink, what do you reach for?

For me, without a doubt, my drink is most definitely a cool bottle of Diet Mountain Dew.

When it comes to the snack, my first choice (and very favorite) is probably a little stranger than most. At least, I haven’t met that many folks that are crazy about these things (except my daddy)………..

Circus Peanuts!

Love those things!

My next choice is usually these….another odd choice I suppose……Boston Baked Beans.

And if I’m in the mood for a candy bar instead, it’s either:

A Payday,

A Butterfinger,

Or an Almond Joy.

Oh and when they’re in season, I can eat WAY too many of these little sugary things:


Are you hungry yet?

What about you? What’s your favorite snack for the road?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Faithful Friday - "Building a Foundation"

Today for Joy’s Faithful Friday, I’d like to share a message that I shared at our homeschool group’s kindergarten commencement back in May , when I was asked to speak. It was something that I feel strongly about and that the Lord laid on my heart to share that evening. I’d like to share it with you today.

Just as a foundation is important to the building of any home, so is the foundation to the building of our children.


I think we would probably all agree that learning to read or write is very important and that we desire for our children to have strong academic skills. However, I feel there’s something even more important. We have the opportunity now to lay a strong foundation in God and His Word….a foundation that will stand and not crumble. And God gives us, as parents, that responsibility, or commandment…..not even to the church, Sunday School or teachers.

Deuteronomy 6:5 says: “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” And then he follows in Deuteronomy 6:6 to say, “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart; and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shoult talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down and when thou risest up.”

Wow! That pretty much doesn’t give us a vacation from teaching our children – does it?

And diligently signifies the manner in which we are to teach them – with perserverance and carefulness.

So important is this that he even repeated it again in Deuteronomy 11:19 - 20, “And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thine gates:”

In this entire passage, he was impressing upon the Israelites before entering the promise land the importance of teaching their children these things because their children weren’t the ones that had seen and experienced what God had done for them and His discipline. It was so imperative that they teach this to their children that he reminded them to etch it; fix it; in their heart and mind and teach it to their children – to our children – constantly – diligently – so that we can enjoy the blessing of the Lord. No man will be able to stand against us because of God’s promise, He says.

He even said in Deut. 11:26, “I set before you a blessing and a curse – a blessing if you obey these commands, and a curse if you disobey.”
That’s a BIG promise and I’m so glad we have God’s promise that if we lay the foundation now and teach our children diligently His ways then we have His blessing.

We’ve talked a great deal here at home lately about FOUNDATIONS. ….of how important it is. We see many children from Christian homes turning from God. Our family has also been reading the book Already Gone by Ken Ham and Britt Beemer. It’s an eye opener. So many, by the time they get to college (not persuaded at college but by the time they get there) are already gone – gone from the teachings of their Christian parents and gone from the church.

So I’d like to challenge you and encourage you to lay a strong foundation – be sure your children know that the Bible, God’s Word, is real – His Story – History – and not just stories from a book (just like any other fairy tale story or book they read). They need to know it’s real, from beginning to end, so later when they’re enticed (and I say when, not if, because they will be enticed by intelligent people who seem to have the right answers to all the real things), they will have a strong foundation and they will stand, without waivering.

Without a strong foundation, they will crumble.


I’d like to invite you to participate in Joy’s Faithful Friday. If you would like to share anything concerning your Christian walk, please feel free to jump right in. Go over to Joy’s blog and leave her a comment letting her know that you are participating (we still don’t have the linky thing going on yet), so we can come by and visit your blog and enjoy your post too!  And don't forget to grab the button for your post!

Thank you for stopping by! :)


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Cedar Loft - Update #3

I’m very happy to report that after six days of putting up corrugated tin on the ceiling…….it is almost finished....just a couple more little sheets in the bathroom area to go! We’ve worked every evening since last Wednesday and all day Saturday. And let me tell you, if you want an arm workout, just put aside those weights, and hang some tin on the ceiling or even just help hang it.  :)  I’ve been so exhausted each night that I have no trouble falling asleep at all. I have the utmost admiration for Jason and my dad who work all day in and out of this heat and then come home and work on The Cedar Loft or out in the yard.

Also Joy and Luke were great while we worked. They usually hung out and played on the other end of the loft opposite the side we were working, when they weren’t outside. Plus, they brought us nice cool refreshing glasses of water or lemonade every now and then.

Anyway, here are a few photos of the progress. Toward the end, when it’s time for the trim work to be done, there will be trim  across the tin as well, which helps hold it up even more. I think that will add rustic character as well.

Next, we’re headed to Lowe’s (tonight) for the knotty barn siding for the interior walls and for the light fixtures. I’ll be staining the siding tomorrow while Jason’s at work and we hope to get started tomorrow night hanging them (if they’re ready). Colt will be helping on Saturday, so we hope to accomplish this over the weekend.

So until next time………we’ll be working. At least it’s cool up there and we’re getting to the fun stuff……stuff that adds character!

Thanks for stopping by and for the kind comments. Have a great day!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Summers Past

I’m pretty sure that the “lazy days of summer” must have come from the viewpoint of a child. Don’t you think? Go back to your childhood and remember how we spent our summers………the beautiful anticipated summer after school days. Our summers looked a little different than summers for most kids these days. And I’m sure they seemed much longer for us back then!

Let’s go back a little bit…….Do you remember?

- Playing all day outside until your mama called you in for lunch and then supper?

- Riding your bike all over the neighborhood and nobody really worrying about it?

- Eating homemade popsicles made from those Tupperware popsicle makers from your mama’s kitchen (or from popsicle sticks and an ice tray if you didn’t have the Tupperware thingies)?

- Going barefoot outside while you played (we had tough feet but dirty feet at the end of the day)?

- Riding your friend on the handlebars of your bike?

- Backyard Bible clubs?

- Gathering up the kids in the neighborhood for a game of baseball, dodgeball, volleyball, or badminton?

- Making mud pies?

- Playing in the water puddles in your swimsuit right after a fresh rain?

- Catching “lightning bugs” in a jar at dusk?

- Drinking koolaid all day?

- Family reunions?

- Lying out in the sun with baby oil (and usually getting baked)?

- Camping in a tent? (Sorry…can’t say I miss that one).

- Washing your car as a teenager in your swimsuit?

- Playing in the sprinkler or spraying each other with the water hose?

- Watermelons after supper? (We spread out newspaper across the table)

- Tire swings over the lake?

- Floating on an intertube in the lake?

- Using our imagination as we played outside all day? ( I remember playing all sorts of things, but particularly we played Land of the Lost one entire summer).

- Drinking Nehi grape in a can. But first we had to shake it up so it would spew when we opened the can. (I guess we had to have wasted half our drinks, but it was worth it).

- Tube tops and shorts?

- Visiting cousins and cousins visiting us?

Can you identify with any of these? Did I leave out any?

What do you remember about summers past? 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Faithful Friday - "God's Plan"

If there's one thing I know, it's that I desire to be in the center of God's will.  I want His plan for my life. 

Lately, I haven't been able to get enough of missionary books and stories.  This has been part of our homeschooling day.  Jason and Colt are at work, and Luke is always nearby, listening much more than we probably realize, but it's mostly Joy and me.

Reading the journey - the call, the scarifices and the rewards - of these missionaries, I am amazed, humbled, and inspired.

There's quite a few that we've enjoyed this past year (some were read alouds and some independent reading), and I highly recommend them all:  Mary Slessor, David Livingstone, Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Amy Carmichael, Lottie Moon, William Carey, George Muller, Eric Liddell, Gladys Aylward, Hudson Taylor, Through Gates of Splendor, and End of the Spear. (There are also movies for some of really must see End of the Spear AFTER you read the book). 

Most of the titles above came from this series.  Great books!

Written by Jim Elliot's wife..... tells the story leading up to the events of the 5 men being speared by the Waodani.
Written by son of Nate Saint, Steve Saint, this one tells the rest of the story...God's plan for bringing the Gospel to the Waodani.

This leads me to the point of today's post.  There's one thing every one of these missionaries had in common.  Although each one felt God's call to the mission field, God's plan almost always differed from their plan.  When they waited upon the Lord and trusted Him, he not only opened doors of opportunity (or closed doors sometimes), but they found His way was better anyway.

I want to share a prime example of what I'm talking about that comes from a combination of two books - Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot and End of the Spear by Steve Saint.  If you're not familiar with these books, the first one, Through Gates of Splendor, is written by the wife of Jim Elliot.  It tells the story of Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Pete Fleming, Ed McCully, and Roger Youderian, the five men (missionaries) who ultimately gave their lives bringing the Gospel to the Waodani (or Auca Indians as they were called) in the jungle of Ecuador.

But....that wasn't the end of the story.  God had a plan.  It was a good plan.  A plan that man never would have devised.  I'm sure those men had no idea that they would give their lives (at least so soon) for the sake of reaching this tribe, although they were all willing to give their lives if necessary.  They hoped to make friendly contact.  But only God could orchestrate such a plan for the Waodani.  Two years after the death of those five men, Elisabeth Elliot (wife of Jim Elliot) and Rachel Saint (sister of Nate Saint) went and lived among the Waodani bringing God's Word to the Waodani, so they could follow His Trail (as they Waodani called it). 

Rachel Saint (Steve's Aunt & Nate's Sister) living among the Waodani.
Elisabeth Elliot and her daugher (age 3 at the time I think) went to live among the Waodani....the very men that speared her husband and Valerie's daddy.

The second book, End of the Spear, written by Nate Saint's son, Steve Saint, tells the rest of God's plan - the rest of the story - years later - a little more than 30 years later.  Nate's son, Steve, spent alot of time as he was growing up with his Aunt Rachel among these people.  They loved him and he loved them back.  Then later, Steve and his family were invited by the very people that speared his father (and the other four missionaries) to come live among them and help them learn how to survive in the outside world.

In fact, one of the very men (Mincaye) that speared his dad became the adopted grandfather of Steve's children. 

Mincaye became like a dad to Steve and adopted grandfather to his children. 

That is a plan that only God could orchestrate.  Most would expect Steve to hate the Waodani for taking his father away when he was only five, but not only did he NOT want that, but he loved them. 

I'm sure that although those men (and their wives) desired to be used by God, they had no idea how it would all play out.  They didn't know that by giving their lives, it would open the door for the Gospel to be brought to them.  God knows best.  His plan is best.  He knows the beginning, the end, and everything in between.

In my own life, there have been many instances where I had it all figured out, only to find out I really didn't.  Had things gone the way I wanted, I would have missed out on the blessing of knowing God's plan for my life and seeing it all come together.  Just one example of this in my personal life was that of my children.  If things had gone according to my plan, I know I would have missed out on God's plan for blessing me with the three children I have.  Three children that came to me in three very different and special ways.  But before the blessing, came alot of "stuff", stuff I would just have soon by-passed.  It was a journey in which I did trust God, but I did also question why it wasn't what or when I desired.  His timing wasn't always my timing.  As a matter of fact, most of the time it wasn't.  His answers weren't always what I had in mind either - but I could see after the fact, that it was best.  And so it has been many times in my life - with the big things and the small things.  Sometimes we can think we have it all figured out and we know best and we like to help God along a little bit too. 

But would I want it any other way but God's plan?  No way.  One thing I'm certain of is I wouldn't want to live a day without the Lord and I want His plan for my life.  I know He loves me; He knows me; He knows what's best and I want to trust him with His plan for my life.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11 


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