Tuesday, November 6, 2012

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 6

Today is election day in the United States...... and I am thankful that my faith is not in man, but in Christ alone!  

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  
Philippians 4:6-7

No matter the outcome of the 2012 presidential election, the many races across the country and critical initiatives, God is still on His throne!

Monday, November 5, 2012

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 5

I am thankful for God's amazing blessings.  

Though I wander, doubt, second-guess and often don't think I'm good enough to receive special blessings, He shows me how much He loves me.  He shows me that He does have a plan for my life and He can do ALL THINGS!

I stand amazed
I stand amazed
This life, Your love, it abounds

I stand amazed
I stand amazed
The beauty.... the sights.... the sounds

I stand amazed
Oh, I stand amazed
Your creation, for us, so profound.

Your creation.... for us.... so profound.  

Thank you, Lord!

Posted on Word from God blog ~ Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Blessings of God ~ click link to visit Word from God site.

(Psa 25:12,13) Who are those who fear the LORD? He will show them the path they should choose. They will live in prosperity and their children will inherit the land. 

Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Those who fear God in life will run away from doing evil. They will be blessed with Godly wisdom. He will counsel them, teach them and guide them to choose the right path. Walking in the right path will be pleasing to God.

When God is pleased with us, all the promises and blessings of God will be fulfilled in our life. God's blessings will bring prosperity without pain. It will stay in our life for our future generations also. Our children will also be established in the land.

So set your eyes not on the worldly riches, but prioritize to live a God pleasing life. Fear God and run away from sin. You will be filled with Godly wisdom. All other needs of this world will be provided by God. Riches and Glory will follow you in the right time.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 4

I am so thankful that God cares so much about me that He continues to teach me lessons I need to learn for His purposes to be accomplished in my life.

The theme God gave me for 2012 was Learn and Grow plus Letting Go.  I could never have imagined how much I would be stretched, who I would have to say goodbye too, the challenges that would arise in our lives nor the new opportunities that would come my way.

I wouldn't have chosen any of the lessons, but I am thankful for the new path He has placed me on.  I don't know where we'll land when all is said and done, but I'll do my best to bloom where I'm planted for I trust Him with my life.

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 3

Yes, I'm a day behind in my postings already... sigh.  We had a really busy Saturday.  Ran errands all day after going to the farmers market.  On to my thankfulness for yesterday.

I am so thankful for our local farmers and farmers markets throughout the Puget Sound region, especially the University District Farmers Market in Seattle, which Blaine and I shop at nearly every Saturday morning. *Click on any of the photos to see a larger version.

I love the sights, the sounds, the people, the beautiful produce for sale and in the fall, the smell of peppers roasting...  Saturday mornings 9 am - 2 pm; Brooklyn and University / 50th.  

Support your local farmers and give thanks for all their hard work to bring us fresh, organic, local produce!

Friday, November 2, 2012

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 2

I'm thankful for a break in the weather and the weatherman's forecast being "spot on"!

We're still struggling with our bedroom ceiling and the leak from the roof.  We talked to one of our older neighbors and he made a repair suggestion and we decided to try it.  So thankful the weather was dry today, especially while Blaine was on the roof.

Blaine with the repair "goop" ~ Henry's 208 (nasty smelling asphalt material, but we needed to fix this problem quickly)

Coco was running around the yard whining and looking up the hill when I realized she didn't know where Dad went ~ once I got her to a place where she could see Blaine, she was content to sit there and keep an eye on him.

Chickens had a great time while I was supervising Blaine on the roof (and available to lend help if he needed it).  They decided to come over by me (next to the neighbor's yard where their cats stalk them), so Coco decided to sit and guard them.

Making progress...

Happy girls!  Lots of bugs and worms.

Exhausted dog.  It's hard work keeping track of her people and the chickens.

After lunch, still dry outside so we can rake up the neighbor's leaves.
Need more leaf mulch for the garden still.

Really wanted to get the Forester clean today, so we went for it even though it was 4 o'clock and the weatherman predicted rain late afternoon.
Vacuumed the inside and washed interior windows before washing the car.
Good thing, because we ended up washing the car in the rain...

The second day of focusing on Thanksgiving and the second day of emotional ups and downs and asking God, "Why?"  It seems the house is falling apart around us.  What is it that You want to accomplish here?  How are we to be a light to this neighborhood and the world around us?  We don't have the answer, but we know the One who does.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Praise Him all creatures here below.
Praise Him above the heavenly hosts.
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Perspective.  This house is a material thing.  We experienced God's hand of grace today in holding back more rain, keeping Blaine safe, enabling the chickens, Coco and Blaine I to get fresh air today, and experiencing the beauty of autumn while raking the neighbor's leave which will feed our garden....  God is good.  All the time.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 1

I am thankful for God's faithfulness throughout our faith journey in this life...

I know, you're thinking my statement is one of those, "I want world peace" statements, huh?  Hang in there.  Hopefully, you'll click the link to watch the video and read the story below. (Wish I could embed the video, but it's privacy protected.)

When this song was released, I listened to it again and again and again.  I cried the words out to God.  Even today, hearing it again for the first time in many years, it touches something deep within the core of my spirit.  Once again, the tears stream down my face and I willingly say, "I surrender all" to You.  Do you know what those words mean?  Do you know that if you say you're willing to do something, God may say yes?  ALL means everything, all there is, nothing is off limits.  I share this, because it's been our life.  We had a child walk away from our family to go her own way.  We've had a another child's life deeply effected by the choices of his wife.  We live with broken hearts.  We've seen dreams become dashed.  I've battled illness for as long as I can remember (even as a young child).  We've been judged, criticized, and misunderstood.  We are walking in forgiveness and trusting God to heal and restore what we humanly are unable to do ourselves.  It's been a long, difficult, amazing, crazy journey.  We've seen friends experience similar things in their lives.  Some even greater challenges than we have faced.  If we had known what would come our way, we would have told God it was too much to ask.  Too hard for us to bear.  He promised never to leave us nor forsake us.  And, today I hear this song again...

The words are so powerful!  They enable my spirit to soar to great heights. They make emotion rise to the surface.  They hit really close to home when I ponder their meaning.  And, if God asked me to surrender ALL, would I willingly do so and continue to praise His name?

I don't know the answer yet, but I pray if that day arrives that my response is, "Absolutely, because I love You and You have always been faithful."  

And this year, another phase of our journey has unfolded...  One we could never imagine.

This is the home we currently live in.  We've been here for 6 years, which is the longest we've ever lived in one house.  (Usually God moves us every 3 years.  He alone knows why it's different with this place.)   It looks like a typical home in our neighborhood.  We've slowly worked on it the entire time we've lived here.  Done alot of work inside (and much still to do) and alot of work in the backyard (building an urban farm).

This spring, we finally qualified to refinance our home.  During the process, an appraiser "tagged" a crack in the basement foundation wall (it's an old home, they are bound to have cracks in the walls) and our mortgage company required us to bring out a structural engineer.  We would be required to complete any work deemed necessary in the engineer's report to move forward with the refinancing process.

3 different structural engineers came out.  They all said, "Don't worry it's all fixable."  

It's just money.  Well, it turns out there is significant foundation damage to our home.  Approximately $32,000 worth - and that's just to put in foundation piers to "fix" the foundation.  In addition, because water and drainage is a MAJOR issue and a significant part of the problem ~ an extensive drainage system need to be put under the house, the north side of the garage foundation is failing and the sump pump in the house was not installed correctly and is adding to the problem.  The guesstimate was around $50,000 to fix everything.  For several weeks we processed the information, considered fixing it, prayed, and tried to come out of the shock we were experiencing.

With the realization that we were already $100,000 under in the value of the house (and our mortgage hasn't gone down much from when we bought it in the HIGH market) ~ considering another $50,000 was not realistic.  We made a decision we never thought we would make.  Let the house go.  Walk away from it.  Stop paying the mortgage.  This house is a bad financial investment and we need to stop pouring money into it.  WHAT?  HOW COULD YOU?  

This spring, we built a brand new chicken coop and had four locust trees removed from the hillside behind our home before we knew this life changing news.  We separated ourselves from worrying about what others thought about us, the money invested in this house/property and focused on who God is and what He is doing in and through our lives.  If we chose the house, we would shackle ourselves to it and greatly reduce options of what we could do in our lives.  *Through the process, we also learned more about our neighborhood too ~ like the fact that the neighborhood park was once a wetland and there is an underground stream that runs under our backyard (drainage stream) and comes out a block south of us.  Even though we are facing significant financial loss and an "imperfect" credit score, choosing to foreclose on our house is the best longterm investment for Blaine and I.

We will continue to live in our home until we're told to leave (or it falls apart around us), as we're not making any repairs to the house from now on.  We are focusing on paying off other debts and we know there is the possibility that we could be sued for our 2nd mortgage.  It's our life and in the midst of it we're pursuing my lifelong dream of farming.  

Walk by faith, not by sight.

And then today, I saw something I did not want to see...  This is so not happening.

Remember ~ "Great is Thy faithfulness!" "Great is Thy faithfulness!"

  Morning by morning new mercies I see;

All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—

    "Great is Thy faithfulness," Lord, unto me!

Take a picture.  Text picture to Blaine.

Text Blaine a second picture and hope to get his attention.
When this doesn't work, I called him.  He hadn't looked at his phone.
...and then he did.

He came home from work early and we got to work investigating.
The paint layers peeled off quite easily where it was wet.

That didn't expose the problem, so Blaine began to cut and explore...

And cut some more.  We weren't surprised to find no insulation in the ceiling.
Well, there was one batt in the whole area we were cutting.  
Who puts an addition onto a house and not insulate it?!

And, he kept cutting until there was a dry perimeter all around

We located the leak area and the rusty nail from the outside roof fell through the hole it was sitting in.  Blaine sprayed a flex-all sealant over the area and we hoped this irritation was behind us.

We had 2 batts of cotton denim insulation left over from our basement remodel project a few years back.  We put them in the ceiling to, hopefully, help a little with keeping it warm in our room (because we're not going to replace the sheetrock - we're moving eventually and we want anyone coming behind us to know there are problems in this house! Serious problems!)

Blaine stapled up some plastic to cover the hole.  We have a room with a "new" view now.  We thanked God that the problem wasn't too difficult to fix and put our room back together.  

End of story.  Thank you, God.  

I decided that if the room was all pulled apart, I should do a good cleaning.  I dusted all the surfaces and realized a short time later that water was dripping inside the plastic. (It had begun raining again.)  UGH!  There must still be a hole somewhere.  Really?  Why?  Why does everything have to be complicated?  Why can't things be easier?

The rain has stopped.  We have a reprieve through tomorrow (dry weather forecasted), so we'll get to work again and try to discover where the water is leaking and make the repair again.

There are days and times we all want to just throw up our hands and say, "I quit."  I've done that plenty of times. And today, there were tears too.  We were reminded, again, to keep our focus not on things, but on Him, on the people He desires for us to share His love with and to lean not on our own understanding, but in all our ways acknowledge Him and He will make our path straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).  And, whenever my focus is on God or a special project that involves Him, I am not surprised that these little irritations arise...  SO, instead of feeling sorry for myself/for us ~ I was reminded of His faithfulness and, for that, I am so thankful!

No.  Nothing is too hard for You.