Thankful Thursday

This week. What am I thankful for this week? Since Iris over at Stings My Heart has picked "Random" as her theme this week, here is my list. In no particular order:

1. My guys. First, my husband who spent two days messing with the plumbing under our sink because we have found that, yet again, the previous owners really didn't do things around here with quality and care. Zip ties to hold pipes together? It was an interesting discovery. Son #1 who has picked himself up and dusted himself off a few times in his short life and who ends every phone call or walks out the door saying "love you." I live for that. Son #2 who spent eleven hours with me at our church while I packed backpacks. No complaints, no whining and who did everything asked of him without hesitation. I really can't say enough about that one. He did more than made me proud. My heart about burst when I was praising him in the car on the way home.

2. My job. It may not be a "dream job" to many (and it's not to me, either) but it is a good place to work. My co-workers are awesome people to work with, the pay is great, the hours are good, I've been there so long the vacation is beyond dreamy and on and on the list goes. Absolutely I wish I were a stay-at-home mom, using most of my time for my volunteer work. But I'm not and I won't be for a while (not until I retire) unless God shows us clearly that's what He wants for us and since that is the case, I can't think of anyplace else I'd rather work.

3. My car. I drive a mini-van. I may not need all of that space all that often but if you saw it right now, it's filled with somewhere around 100 backpacks that I need to deliver after work tomorrow. I am thankful that God has provided because this is the volunteering I love to do.

4. My church. A place where the Bible is taught. Our Pastors don't give sermons on "topics." They teach from the Bible. We dive deep into the Scripture and in addition to that, the underlying message is always to not take our relationship with Christ lightly. Do not put off loving Him, learning about Him, drawing close to Him. That message is never in a hellfire and brimstone fashion but always with the knowledge that these leaders, these teachers, love Jesus, they love their brothers and sisters in Christ and do not want to see a single person left in the "lost" line.

There is more. A lot more. Unfortunately, I have to head off to an appointment this morning. My surgery is one week from tomorrow and today is pre-op day. I'm nervous and I'm not. This will be last on my list this morning - I'm grateful I have a doctor I trust, a family to take care of me while I'm under the weather for a few days and that this too shall pass....

Have a gloriously blessed day!


Dog Hero

We adopted Max a year ago this upcoming October. When we adopted him, we knew he was between 3 & 4 years old, he's a German Shepher/Rottweiler mix and he had been a stray up near Bellingham "for a while." That was it. Well, that and he is just absolutely beautiful and struck us as being a pretty good dog.

It's been a learning process. He's "ok" in the trained department (He knew not to use our living room as a toilet. Major plus!) but just ok. He doesn't listen very well and it can take several times of telling him what we want to get him to do it. After almost a year, though, he has become slightly less stubborn about some issues but more stubborn about others. It's been interesting.

He also isn't all that friendly with other dogs. That was a bit disappointing to realize as there are a couple of dogs in our family. So far, we haven't done any socializing amongst the dogs because, well, frankly, we are too concerned as to what Max might do.

Yesterday he proved himself to be a dog with which not to trifle. He did a great job of protecting our home and I'd often wondered how he would do if someone or something that didn't belong came on our property. Yesterday, he made it perfectly clear he would defend what he considers his without hesitation.

One of our neighbors has 4 dogs. Two adults and two puppies. They're pit bulls and I only mention that because the reputation of that breed makes what Max did all the more impressive. I know any dog can turn on you, no matter what kind of dog they are. I know pit bulls have a "reputation" for being nasty dogs and I know plenty of people who will tell you the best dog they have ever owned is a pit bull. I wouldn't want one but not because of their reputation - they don't have enough fur. I definitely prefer softer, longer haired dogs - even with the shedding.

Anyhow... this story seems to require more "setting the story" than actually "telling the story," I think but I'll continue. We had installed a dog door for Max a few months back. He spends most of his time indoors and likes to be around us when we're home but when we're not, he likes to move between inside & outside. Sometimes three or four times in a minute.

When we found out our neighbor had his dogs (they haven't been there for long), my biggest concern became those dogs escaping (the fence on their yard isn't all that great) and coming into our yard (We had installed Invisible Fence when we got Max. Wonderful way to go if you're thinking about that, by the way), in through Max's dog door and... well.. the bloodbath that would ensue would be all over my house. I could imagine it, did not want to imagine it and most definitely did not want it to happen.

So - yesterday my deepest fear was almost realized. Three of the neighbor dogs escaped. They came to our house. One of them (one of the puppies) even started to climb the ramp we have to Max's door (remember - septic system, tore down the deck...), probably would have found his/her way inside.

Max would have none of it.

Aaron said Max was up and out that door so fast that by the time he made it outside, the drama was over.

Max "removed" the puppy from the ramp (tossed him pretty good, I guess) and when momma dog yelped about the puppy, Max charged her, knocked and pinned her down and had his teeth on her neck before she could inhale to yelp again. Apparently he shocked the bejeebers out of all of the dogs because they couldn't even think to react beyond "RUNNNNNN!!" They headed for home pretty fast, especially since Max wouldn't let up. He apparently kept trying to pin momma down again but she managed to wiggle away from him (for that I am incredibly grateful, by the way) each time.

The pits went home. Aaron followed them, making sure all of them arrived home and none of them were hurt. Max never broke skin, the teeth, it seems, were a warning. An effective one, too. Our neighbor was very apologetic and his dogs are now safe - and secured - on his property.

What happened is still so hard for me to imagine, especially if you have ever met Max. He is just a sweet, loving middle-aged puppy (he still behaves a lot like one!) who enjoys cuddling and snuggling with us. That can be entertaining, (the picture might not portray his size very well) especially when we're actually trying to sleep.

We have always known, though, that there is this protective streak in him - I was incredibly grateful for it when I was home sick one day and two gentlemen were in the neighborhood advertising a carpet cleaner from Kent. For those of you who don't know, Kent is about an hour away. I wasn't feeling all that sure about them and since Max had started growling and barking the moment I opened the door, I sent them on their way quickly. He didn't like them and who knows what he saved me from.

This family wasn't complete, it seemed, until we brought Max home. He may have been a challenge - and is still on occasion - but well worth it. We are so proud of his reaction yesterday although we're also very grateful that it went the way it did and none of the dogs were hurt.

He earned an extra milk bone!


Then Sings My Soul Saturday - Fields of Grace

This week has been, without a doubt, one of the toughest weeks I've ever had. It started on the Friday before with Freedom Fest. The Coalition I'm a part of manned an information booth on combating human trafficking. The issue itself brings up a lot of emotion for me and add to that 95 degree heat (which to some is no big deal but when your weather generally doesn't get much above 75, it's tough) outside for four hours, it was a bit draining. Also, the only person I talked to in that time was a 9 year old young man who walked up to me, pointed at a sign that referenced human trafficking and said "what's that?" It broke my heart a bit because there I sat talking to a child who is a "favorite" age of traffickers.

You don't want a day to day account, I'm sure so I'll just say that every single day this week was filled with a lot of draining, physical work, late nights and little sleep. Last night I went to bed at 9PM and except for the jolts of poor Aaron (who is still dealing with a lot of pain in his side) waking me up, slept until 7:30 this morning (finally).

The song... the highlight of my week was the summer concert series at my church again. Unfortunately it was a day of incredibly heavy rain so we were inside. I had to leave a bit early because I thought Christopher was going to drop from the stuffiness but Big Daddy Weave graced our stage and sang their hearts out for us, sweat pouring off their faces every moment. They sang this week's choice and I sang my heart out with them and in my mind, I was in that Field just dancing my heart out and Zephaniah 3:17 came pouring into my head. My heart soared to Jesus and I just well.. I just thanked Him that He has given me SO much. I can't complain about work or lack of sleep or a week where I have to spend so much time away from home. I have a job that pays me well, work that keeps me from becoming too lazy of a couch potato, I have a bed to sleep in and I have a home to return to. I absolutely needed that reminder of dancing with my Father God in that Field of Grace. My life isn't about me - it's about glorifying my Father God and that includes doing whatever He asks of me. Nothing will be too great for me as long as I am doing it through Him.

I pray it brings the same thoughts and blessings to you!

Sports Quiz

You Are Boxing

You are assertive, strong, and downright aggressive.

You have the power to demolish your opponent...

And you have the endurance to make sure the job is finished.

Ok - so I was blog-exploring again yesterday and I came across a young woman who is losing her grandmother. It was a bit odd that I settled on her blog (she was my 2nd or 3rd click) and read that particular post as yesterday was the 2nd anniversary of Nana's death.

Anyhow...I ended up back there today & she had posted about this Olympic quiz so... being my normally curious self, I decided to check it out.

Yes, I already posted this morning but... two in one day will be a novelty, I promise but I had to share this.

How appropriate is boxing for me?????? I'm not sure I could hit someone else for "sport" but the "independent" streak is definitely me.

Anyhow... what sport are you? If you take the quiz, leave a comment & let me know. I'm curious...as always....

Have a great Thursday!


Thankful Thursdays - America

Iris over at Sting My Heart wrote this week on Peace. I thought it funny considering the week I've had but this one has been on my mind more so I'm sharing it. Please forgive me if it seems a bit disjointed. Like I mentioned, I'm a bit off this week. Hopefully next week I will have settled back down again. I'll probably be thankful even more for that Peace next week...

You know, I find so many things wrong with every day America. Conversations I have about it tend to drift toward the same topics - rude drivers (and we seem to be getting more rude in general). It also feels as if so many of us have forgotten that when we climb into our car, we are in control of a massive, powerful weapon - capable of inflicting pain so intense it can't be imagined and yet we drive it like it's a Tonka toy. We also forget that the folks in the cars around us have important things going on in their lives, too. I realized last night that I am a culprit in this, too. I'm not innocent.

So - while I definitely had some things to say about some of the folks driving around me yesterday and probably will today forward, I am reminded of a few things I am thankful for because I live in a country where I can say things out loud about other drivers on the road:

1. I'm grateful for our medical care. No, it's not perfect - it's run by human beings. Won't be. Ever. However - it IS better than what is available in many countries today. Some may say that's not saying much but those aren't the people sitting in a country with no health care. My husband got hurt at work on Monday and by Tuesday we knew that while it is painful and a serious injury, he is being taken care of by a competent doctor who will keep Aaron from hurting even more. I have to have some minor surgery in September and while I have been with the same doctor for over ten years and would trust no one else, if I didn't feel comfortable with her, I could find another doctor - quickly.

2. I'm grateful for choices. Sometimes I think there are WAY too many and I may never make up my mind but I know I still get to make one. Even one as mundane as what toothpaste will I use this morning. How many folks don't have toothpaste?

3. I'm grateful to be able to speak my mind. Even if I don't give it much thought and just let words tumble out, even if I end up having to eat crow - I can speak up, speak out, just... speak and I have a voice. I can proclaim the name of God loud and clear. I can say "Jesus" in a crowd and not face arrest. Personal persecution may happen but no one is going to put me in prison for trying to share the fact that Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead to put us back in right relationship to God.

4. I'm grateful there are people here who care enough about their families, friends and this country to don (or have donned) the uniform of our armed forces. They are so brave, these men and women willing to give up their dreams and plans so I can continue to speak up and speak out...

5. I'm grateful I live in a place where there is so much opportunity, so many ways to help those who don't have as much, so many options for my children, so many people who still want to do the right thing.

No - America is definitely not perfect and we are, it feels most of the time, spiraling out of control. We seem to have forgotten some basic truths and have taken God out of where, instead, we should be grateful He wants to be. We often act as if "I" am the most important person in the world and treat our neighbors shabbily because of it. Then every once in a while you see a news report or hear a story from a friend that reminds you there is hope and it gets you wandering back down the grateful road again.

For this week, that story involves a group of young men who will be returning from Williamsport, PA next week HUGE winners. They may not have won the final "prize" and be the World Series Little League champs but the guys from the Mill Creek All Stars have reminded us, in many ways, how unique and flat out fun baseball is. No inflated salaries, over-priced tickets or memorabilia selling for millions online - just a bunch of boys who have played together for years going out, giving their all for a game they love and showing us a good time watching them.

I'm thankful for America and what it stands for, for what our founding fathers had hoped for in this country and I am ever so grateful to the God who loves us despite our faults, which are legion.


Aaron's Update

Praise God - he only has an acute muscle strain/severe muscle injury. It's not good but it's not a broken rib or two, either. That was Aaron's main concern - when he heard that pop yesterday and the pain being as intense as it is, he was concerned he'd torn some ligaments and broken some ribs.

He's home today - resting. He can go back tomorrow doing "modified duties" so long as they don't include bending, twisting or lifting of any kind.

All I know is that with those restrictions, he'll either end up hurt worse or back home again because the man can't work without doing those three things. He also can't just sit and let someone else do the work. He has to jump in and help.

I'm curious to see how he drives. :)

Please pray for him...he is in a lot of pain and he really can't take any more time off from work right now. Please pray, especially, that we can sleep. He's having a tough time sleeping because of the pain and he is waking me up. Last night was tough and I don't think it's going to get easier for the next few days.

Couldn't have happened at a worse time for the shop...

On a much happier note:

We have been praying over the last several days for a little boy named Trey who fell into his family's swimming pool and has been fighting for his life at Harborview for almost a week now. Praise be to God - he has opened his eyes, he's laughing and talking and while he still has a long way to go, he's alive and able to communicate and recognize his family. What joy and rejoicing there is today!!!!!!!! Thank you, to all of you who have been praying. God definitely gave as we asked on this one. Yayyyyyyy!!!!


Oh...it was definitely a Monday

Almost everyone I work with knows that Monday is a tough, tough day for me. There is even a "rule" for our field agents about not calling Bonnie on Mondays. They don't do it unless it's an emergency (or they forget it's Monday) and I am always grateful for that. Today was a doozey. After the incredible, overwhelming weekend we had (it was backpack packing weekend and it was a LOT of hard work this year and then Leavenworth yesterday - 104 degrees in the shade!!!), I was simply exhausted today which made all of the normal Monday stuff even tougher.

The roughest part of the day came in the afternoon when Aaron called to say he'd hurt himself. It's time for set-up at the Evergreen State Fair and they were up there getting the stoves off the truck when the one on Aaron's hand-cart shifted and started to slip. Aaron did what he does every time this happens - he reached out a hand to steady the stove and keep it on the hand truck. Imagine his surprise when the stove didn't do what it was supposed to and instead kept going... Thank God it was in front of him and he not in front of it because the result of this could be a LOT worse than it is. Tomorrow we're off to the doctor to see what's wrong and I get to go. Poor man can't drive...


Then Sings My Soul Saturdays - Love Is Not A Fight

UPDATE (Sun., 8/17/08) - My husand read this post and asked me to note that the lamp lying shattered on the ground was an accident. He said the way I wrote it made it sound like he went a bit nuts and threw the lamp or something. That wasn't the case. The lamp was just an unfortunate casualty 'cause it was in the way and while he's wonderful, he's a bit klutzy. :)

This week I had the pleasure of hearing Warren Barfield in concert at my church. Before singing my song for this week, he talked a bit about his relationship with his wife of seven years (they're expecting their first child in December - watching him talk about THAT was fun!) and a fight the two of them had over, of all things, spilled pretzels. Of course, it wasn't actually over spilled pretzels but they were that final straw.

Warren told us that he and his wife get along so incredibly well that they only have about one fight a year. As my husband and I listened to him tell about their last fight (he was very open, by the way), words flying back and forth at each other, until he said those words that a spouse just falls apart when they hear - I don't want to be married anymore - and she didn't respond with "ok, then go." Thank God. He never did say what she said but he told us it "broke her." I'm sure it did. It probably broke her heart and rendered her brain practically scrambled.

When he got through all of that, Aaron and I just looked at each other. Aaron and I don't fight often, either. I'm not talking about getting a bit snippy with each other, I'm talking fights. Fights that seem rooted in differences in principles and beliefs. Fights that when you are in the middle of it you have to fight against the rage and anger and not say things you can't take back. We've had a few of those although most of them happened at the beginning of our marriage. The last one was late last summer, early fall (even when we had our last big fight caused a bit of debate in our home last night... that gave us a good laugh when we realized it) and it involved, of all things, a bowl of pretzels. Whatever we were fighting about (and neither of us can remember), escalated to the point where I was so sick and tired of yelling at each other that I was ending it. Bowing out. Shutting down is more like it. When I did that, I grabbed the pretzels I'd been snacking on and sat down on the couch. As Aaron continued to talk, I ignored him. That didn't last long because that infuriated him so much you could see the steam coming out of his ears. Next thing I know, that bowl of pretzels has been knocked out of my hands, pretzels are EVERYWHERE in the living room, our lamp is laying shattered on the ground and he's walking out the door. At that point, by the way, I was quite happy to see him go. Fortunately, I was even happier to see him come back.

As in all of our differences so far, we eventually calmed down, talked it out and got on with life. The truth is, we live our marriage like the words in this song. It is what God intended. It would be wonderful if there were no problems in life, no arguments, pitfalls, things that get in the way, no busyness... but there is. All of that can stack up in front of you like a great big brick wall and make you lose sight of what is really important. This song reminds you, if nothing else, that God remembers what is important and He doesn't let anything get in the way.

Embedding has been removed from this video so I had to paste a link, not the actual video, in my post. Hope you enjoy Warren as much as I do.



Thankful Thursdays - Serving

For the last several summers, our church has put on a Summer Concert Series. During the four Wednesdays in August, our back parking lot is turned into a family-oriented concert hall. Some of the artists vary from year to year (two years ago Bethany Dillon joined us - I so enjoy listening to her voice!) and some of them come back (the Voetberg Family and last night's artist Warren Barfield, for example).

We don't go every week but when we do, we are never disappointed. We visit with friends from church, some we don't get to see often because they attend another service time than we do. We enjoy some good food (last night's burgers & hot dogs were huge!), some good fellowship and great music.

Last night was special in many ways. Some of that will be for another post but the one I want to share about here is in regard to the women I brought to the concert. I was fortunate enough to be able to drive our church van up to the local women's shelter (we've been doing a lot of volunteering in there for a few years, I've been volunteering for a few months), pick up 7 of the women who are staying there and bring them with me to the concert.
And therein lies the adventure that caused this list of just some of what I'm thankful for today.

1. I'm thankful that God has put me in a place where I can bless these women from driving the van, to offering devotions with them on Sunday mornings, to just listening to them as they talk. It never fails they end up blessing me, no matter how small or simple what I have done seems to me.

2. I'm thankful that God gave me that oh so very brief time years ago when I was homeless. I'm thankful it happened and even more thankful it was as brief as it was. My son was in 2nd grade at the time and nothing - absolutely nothing - has frightened me more in my life than not having a permanent roof over his head, no job and no job prospects. My family took me in after just one night in a not-so-reputable hotel but it was months before I could get into an apartment and call it ours.

3. I'm thankful that of all the nights to drive the van, God has me drive for Warren Barfield's concert. He and his back-up band were awesome and they spent time afterwards mingling with all of us from the church and were great sports when the women from the shelter wanted pictures.

4. I'm thankful that God lead me as I drove that van last night. You wouldn't think a 13 passenger van would be that big a deal but I'd never driven one before and I took those ladies home after 9PM. It was dark and the freeway went down to 2 lanes at one point for construction. It's not a super-maneuverable vehicle. I could have panicked but... God handled it.

5. I'm thankful for pretzels and husbands who love their wives. I'm thankful for a song titled Mighty to Save. And those comments are for another post.

Have a gloriously blessed Thursday!



Most people love weddings (as long as they're there as a guest, not the bride, groom or part of the wedding party!) and I'm no exception. My sister-in-law got married last weekend and my husband (her brother) walked her down the aisle. She is beautiful and he is just so handsome. Funny thing about this one - usually people are all eyes on the bride. Not this one, not for me. I glanced at her and then watched him. In my head I am wondering again however did I get so blessed?

But I rabbit trail because the day wasn't about my wonderful husband. It was about his sister and her new husband. Although every time I look at mine, I seem to forget almost everything else. After 4 years of knowing this man, he still brings a smile to my face and joy to my heart every time I even so much as think about him.

Jules & Shandy looked so happy. Shandy, as I said, was beautiful and Jules is a pretty handsome guy (had to say that, seems the guys always get the short end of the stick when it comes to the wedding day). At one point, the officiator (and his name I cannot remember to save my life!) was reading from some notes he'd taken as to why each of them wanted to be married to the other and as he was reading, one solitary tear made its way down Jules' face. I'm usually pretty good at holding back the tears as long as there isn't too much to trip me up and that one almost did it. It was so sweet, so tender, there was so much love in his eyes that I almost lost it.

Weddings are crazy things. I absolutely loved mine and all that Aaron and I promised before God, our families and friends that day. I love that we live out our vows day in and day out, getting through the bumpy spots by holding onto each other and knowing we're not letting go. As I stood there (yes, we stood - that stopped the tears from flowing, too because I wasn't really listening to the words too much, all I could concentrate on were my sore feet...) I just started to pray. I prayed that Jesus would reveal Himself to them in their marriage. Neither one of them is a Christian (which made for some difficult phrases for me in the vows "by the powers of the universe, both known and unknown, I pronounce you husband and wife"... as an example) so my prayer is first that they would come to know Jesus for who He is, that He would become the center of their marriage. I also prayed they would hold onto each other as tightly as Aaron and I hold onto each other. I love them both so much, they are incredibly dear to me and I wish them love like they have never known.

My prayer for them is the same prayer I have for every couple I know getting married:

May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you.
~Psalm 33:22


Then Sings My Soul Saturdays

First I have to say - there is SO much to learn about posting to blogs. Whew! I'm not sure how this is going to post with the video I've chosen so please forgive me if something doesn't make any sense and it's backwards or upside down or... well.. confuzzled.

I've been spending some time over the last several days just reading through several different blogs and in that time I stumbled onto a blog written by a woman named Amy Wyatt and her blog is called Signs, Miracles, and Wonders. In her blog she has what she calls "Then Sings My Soul Saturdays" and when I read it over it seemed like such a fun idea!

The song I'm sharing is by Casting Crowns (one of the greatest groups ever, in my humble opinion) and it's called Praise You With The Dance. The first time I heard it, I was propelled back in time to high school when I attended Poco (church camp) for a week in the summer and we sang "Lord of the Dance." I loved that song so much I came home and picked it out by ear on my organ. Can't really play anything beyond the simplest of melodies but still...it stayed with me.

That's the nostalgic reason for my love of the song. The biggest reason, though, is that it makes me want to throw my arms up in the air and just Praise God. I want to dance for Him, sing for Him and rejoice in the grace He has given me through Jesus on the cross. The words themselves are so simple but the music...the music carries my soul to heaven and I can just feel the smile it puts on God's heart when I praise Him as loud as I can and dance right along with it. We were created to glorify God, to praise Him always and this song helps me do that with such an outward expression of joy I can't help but play it at least once a day, sometimes more.

So... I hope you enjoy the video. The editing on this is wonderful and I really enjoyed watching it and if you're in a good place, reach your hands toward heaven and dance for God. I bet He smiles on you!

Oh... and before you play the video, scroll to the bottom of my blog and pause my playlist. :)

Casting Crowns - Praise You With the Dance


1 Corinthians 13

I found this adaptation on a blog I was reading this morning. A lot of lessons to be learned in here (from the Scripture and the poem) and I think I should be paying more attention in "school".

...For Mothers

If I live in a house of spotless beauty
with everything in its place,
but have not love,
I am a housekeeper, not a homemaker.

If I have time for waxing, polishing,
and decorative achievements,
but have not love,
my children learn cleanliness, not godliness.

If I scream at my children for every infraction,
and fault them for every mess they make,
but have not love,
my children become people-pleasers,
not obedient children.

Love leaves the dust in search of a child's laugh.
Love smiles at the tiny fingerprints
on a newly cleaned window.
Love wipes away the tears
before it wipes up the spilled milk.
Love picks up the child before it picks up the toys.

Love accepts the fact that
I am the ever-present "mommy,"
the taxi-driver to every childhood event,
the counselor when my children fail or are hurt.

Love crawls with the baby,
walks with the toddler,
and runs with the child,
then stands aside to let the youth
walk into adulthood.

Before I became a mother
I took glory in my house of perfection.

Now I glory in God's perfection of my child.
All the projections I had for my house
and my children
have faded away into insignificance,
And what remain are the memories of my kids.

Now there abides in my home
scratches on most of the furniture,
dishes with missing place settings,
and bedroom walls full of stickers, posters and markings,
But the greatest of all is the Love
that permeates my relationships with my children.

-Adapted by Jim Fowler


Septic & "Life in General" Update

Hope this gives you just a little bit of an idea of what my backyard looks like. I'll try to take another one today but I may not be able to get to my back corner. This is after just one of four rows our contractor has to dig. (The picture didn't "stitch" completely right, either - we don't have two towers on Chrisotpher's swing set/play thing) HOWEVER - I CAN DO LAUNDRY IN MY OWN HOME AGAIN!!!!! Every time I say that or write it, I almost start to cry. I don't think I can describe the joy I feel that we are actually getting this fixed. That we will be able to fully live in and enjoy our house again soon just seems almost completely unbelievable to me. The sleepless nights, the ridiculous money flowing out the door with every time we have to pump the tank.. all of it... almost a thing of the past!! What a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful mess there is the back yard.

Does it make me think of the ugly we often have to go through to get to the beauty? Some but I can't focus on this ugly too much - it's stinky, too. Instead, this process has reminded me once again to wait on the Lord!! (Psalm 27:14 ~ Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.) And that is just soooo hard to do - no matter the circumstances. I don't want to admit that someone else is in control, I don't want to think about that. I know what needs to be done and I just want to do it and I can only procrastinate for so long. Waiting for the Lord to provide the funds for this project (and we thought we were going to need a LOT more than we ended up needing) and then the contractor (if you had seen the list of "approved" contractors from the Health District your reaction would have been ours - how do you PICK one from this many?????) has been, in a word, tortuous. Our septic system has been covered in more prayer these past several months than almost any person I know and I cannot begin to tell you how grateful I am for that.

Aaron and I knew from the moment we saw this house that this is where God wants us. By today's standards, the house is nothing exciting. It was built in 1961, it is a 3 bedroom 1 1/2 bath home (when bedrooms were built small because, after all, all you did in a bedroom was sleep and store your clothes) BUT it has a huge living room, a good sized kitchen and then an awesome family room. It also has a yard. A real yard. We can play fetch with Max, Christopher & Aaron can play catch and the boys (have I ever talked about how good Chris is in 'playing' with his little brother??) had tons of snow to use for their snowmen AND snow fort this winter.

There is so much available space for entertaining and we know God has that in mind for this house. It is to be a refuge, a place to relax and refuel and enjoy company. That we have had to keep our guests to a minimum since January has been incredibly painful. It's all about to change and I am excited to see what God has in store next.

In the last month, a lot has been happening with the Coalition to Combat Human Trafficking and I have been in touch with some amazing people who stand on the front line of this battle. They have heard my heart's desire and God's vision for a shelter for the children of this area who are victims of trafficking and slavery and are excited to work with me (which humbles me IMMENSELY) and I am in the process now of putting together a viable working plan for this shelter. There is sooo much to consider for these children and there really isn't much out there right now so this is untested waters. Me, though, I like the challenge and every time I feel overwhelmed, I think of a 16 year old girl I read about in an article and I dig my heels in again. Whatever God intends for me to do, I am walking with Him. I trust Him implicity for direction, guidance and protection. This is His work, not mine.

With our hands in His and our eyes focused on Him, we'll go where He leads or sit and wait...whatever comes next.

Stay tuned....the next couple of months could get exciting in our household!!


Sunday the Happy Continues

Knew the blessings would continue. I really have to get better at counting my blessings every day because they are legion but I don't spend the time thinking about them, considering them as actual blessings. Foolish of me and I know if I think about it more often, I would grow closer to and listen more to God every day. Ever since I was given my camera at Christmas, I have carried it with me almost every day (except today of course and the Blue Angels flew over Safeco Field. Of COURSE they did...!!!!) and I think I pay a lot more attention to what is happening around me because of it.

Today we were at the Mariners' game. Worst team in baseball this year. I don't care. They're still the Mariners and they're worth watching. Today we won. YAYYYY!!!! 8 to 4. Edgar was there, too... WAHOOOOOO!!!! A surprise that made the WHOLE day a lot more special. The Mariners honored Dave Niehaus, the voice of the Mariners since opening day in 1976. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame last weekend in Cooperstown. Pretty good broadcaster he is. The Mariners made a special bobblehead to commemorate the occasion and we now have 4 of them. One is to be traded with a friend for a Felix Hernandez, one goes in the Mariners' collection and the other two? Who knows... I just had to laugh tonight as I lined them up on the piano.

My husband is so happy....


Saturday Happy Day

Today was a good day. A really good day. It started with me running an errand for Proverbs 31:20 Ministries. Elizabeth headed out of town with her family to California as Alek, her son, is part of the Mill Creek All Stars who recently won the little league State Championship here in Washington and earned themselves a spot in the Regional Championship games. Praying Mill Creek can keep up their incredible winning streak and move onto the Little Leage World Series in PA!

That's the why I was running the errand. The actual errand involved buying sheets, blankets and towels (Elizabeth had already picked up washcloths) for a new transitional home opening in Mill Creek. Six sets of sheets, six blankets, six towels and there works out to be about 36 washcloths. THAT was a crazy deal Elizabeth couldn't pass up but...

I went shopping. Spent a good deal of money that wasn't mine and I LOVED it. I forgot how much fun shopping can be when I don't have to buy clothes for myself. That's what I don't like to shop for, I've decided. Nothing looks good on me but... pretty towels, sheets, blankets and then house doo-dads (of course I looked for me, too - came home with a photo album, a planter, some kitchen washcloths, a few pitchers (for a project I'll hopefully write about later) and a couple of other fun things. I didn't spend a ton of money on us, it was just a few items and the prices were about perfect. Some of this stuff will probably end up in here. Especially the photo album...I haven't done one in years and I can't wait to put this one together.

Later, Aaron & I and headed out to take a look at these pretty cool vintage-looking fans I spotted today. I wanted one for our place and if we had stumbled across two really good ones (each one was different, this was the last of the "wood" looking fans), we were going to get one for Aaron's sister & our soon-to-be-brother-in-law for their wedding. Alas, there was only one Aaron really liked so... we're KEEPING it!

We have decided on a really cool gift for Shandy & Jules. I can't post it now - the wedding isn't until the 10th so.. it'll have to keep. Once that decision was made, we headed off to dinner. Olive Garden two nights in a row. YUM!! After all of that shopping I did today, I was definitely too tired to clean up after Aaron cooked and I think he was too tired to cook so.. going out to dinner really was our only option. :)

To wrap up this practically perfect day, I have to tell you a new record was set. Most folks who know how we play the "slug bug" game will tell you we're weird. 'tis ok, we have fun with it and Christopher grew really strong with his addition & subtraction skills when he was still very young all from adding up those silly cars (based upon our point structure). Our son hasn't grown bored with the game as yet so we still play and we don't start over every time we get back into the car. Our total slug bugs today was 163!!! If only I could have confetti flying and music playing for this... :) It is the highest number of slug bugs we've managed to get in one day - EVER. We were helped a great deal, too, by 6 stink bugs & one stink bug convertible...

The game may be played a bit silly to most people but to hear Christopher squeal with laughter as we break 100 and then broke that 150 mark... It's worth being silly.

So, today I count my blessings and I am just so incredibly grateful to God for all of them. My husband, two sons, three nieces and one nephew (even if all I saw were two nieces today), my sister and brother-in-law, my mother, my sister's/niece's friends, healthy children who can play soccer and run around outside on a beautiful sunny day, the sun, shopping for those who can't shop for themselves, finding a great planter for my house for $4.50, counting slug bugs, vanilla milkshakes, people who cook in restaurants, people who serve in restaurants and people in restaurants who clean up after you, a dog who is just so excited to see us when we come home he can't hardly stand it, a rose bush bigger than me covered in beautiful pink roses in my front yard...

I know I could keep going but I'll end it with the biggest blessing of all... a God who loves me and cares enough for me to bless me in the first place. mmmmmmm... that is the best of all blessings!

Tomorrow the blessings continue...


Too Excited for Words!

UPDATE - Blayne (our contractor) will be out on Monday and he just saved us another $500. He seems like SUCH a good guy... pray he is as good as the Health Department has said he is (he's the only one they've recommended above their list of approved contractors, by the way...).

Blayne will be out between 8:30 and 9:30 Monday morning. I'm not sure I can explain the excitement. I'm giddy!!! Like I'm off to Disney World or something. After almost 10 months of headaches with our septic system, we are days away from having it work right again.

PRAISE GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!