Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Life Lessons in Midst of Hard Times

A few months ago I told you about the fire at our house.  We are still displaced and will be until Labor Day hopefully. They should start working this week. We are basically getting a whole new house because of the smoke damage. It will be nice when we get there, but it is not easy in the meantime. These hard times teach us things and draw us closer to God. When we are in the middle of hurting, we don't like to hear that. But you will get through it and you will be better eventually.

Lesson 1: I'm Glad Life Isn't Perfect
A couple weeks ago in Sunday morning church, I looked over at Ben and noticed he had ketchup on his leg. I had seen it earlier and thought it was a scratch. I was wrong. It was ketchup and I had let my son go to Sunday School and sit through a large part of the church service with ketchup on his leg. That seems like a thing I should have caught earlier. But in that moment of thinking, I should have realized that. I didn't go on to beat myself up. I thought, 'I'm glad life isn't perfect.' Someday sooner than I want to think about Ben will be too old to sit by me in church and way too old for me to wipe ketchup off his leg. On those days, I can look back at that Sunday morning and smile.

Lesson 2: There is Still Beauty in the Ruins

Photo Credit: Me
Lesson 3: I am Still a Work in Progress
It should be no surprise that life has been a little stressful lately. 3rd grade is hard. Potty training is hard. Not living in our own house is hard. Living in another person's house is hard. (Yes those are two different hard things.) Working and keeping house is hard. I try not to let the stress get to me. I try to take one day at a time. I try not to solve all of my problems in one day. Sometimes I fail. Sometimes I fail big. But I'm thankful for people around me who help me figure out what went wrong and how not to do that again.

Lesson 4: Reading Should Be Fun
I have trouble going to the library and not getting a book. I also have trouble not jumping on a really good Kindle deal. So at times, I collect lots of books. There are also times of the year when I read less than others. So when the 'read less' times cross with the 'book collection' times, I get stressed out about the books I'm not reading. (Yes, I know I'm a book addict.) This isn't the first time it has happened. It probably won't be the last. But after stressing myself out for a few days or weeks about the books I'm not reading, I tell myself I'm being ridiculous. I turn in the books to the library and cut myself off for a few weeks. I tell myself that reading should be fun. When it isn't, then put that book down. Life is too short to be stressed by reading. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

God is good!

God just keeps showing up!

Photo Caption:

I'm not saying that life is perfect right now, but every day God shows up to give us a hug or a wink. We had planned a beach trip the second weekend in March. It was so nice to get away after a couple weeks of fire stuff. It was a great stress reliever.

Yesterday on the way to work my phone stopped. I tried several things to fix it and nothing worked. So I had to call and get a new one. That was a hassle because they had to text several codes to a phone. Since mine didn't work, that meant they had to be texted to Drew. Then Drew had to message them to me. Whew! That was a long process, but I got it done and my new one is on the way. When it is all said and done, I will be going from Android to iPhone and gaining SO MUCH storage! The 'God wink' in all this? The expanded storage means that Ben can finally get the WWE Immortals game he has wanted for a while.

The fire was started by a wire that wasn't capped off in Drew's hot rod. We have been going back and forth about what to do with the car. We really just want a car to cruise around in and the Buick was good for that. So we thought maybe rebuilding it as a convertible would be a good idea. But maybe that was just more work than we were willing to put into it right now. So we just thought we would wait. God showed up again! Drew saw a 64 Belair on sale at a great price. It has been used as a daily driver. That car is now ours and will be in the car rider line tomorrow. We can all pile in and cruise.

A few more things... Ben is walking the dog and loving it. When it warms up a little, Ben and I will be running together. Lily and I have gotten in lots of extra cuddles and some great pretend play. We are planning a little reading nook for me when our house gets put back together.

God keeps showing up. His love never ends and provision is enough.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

I Will Praise Him in the Storm (or Fire)

Friday, February 23rd I was enjoying an art lesson about anatomy with my art club. I got a phone call. My husband was on the phone. He told me that I needed to come home because the house was on fire. I didn't believe him at first because that doesn't happen to me or in real life. I was wrong. It does happen to me and it does happen in real life. My house was on fire.

Photo Credit: Drew Ward

It took me about 30 minutes to get home. Before I turned on to my street, I saw people standing and watching. In case I didn't believe it yet, this made it real. I turned and saw lots of fire trucks. Later I found out it was about 6 trucks. I parked the car up the block, grabbed my keys, and walked toward the house. I saw a fireman in full gear coming out my front door. I saw other firemen standing around, but I didn't see my family. I started running down the street. As I passed several trucks and got to the corner, I saw my husband. I felt a bit of relief and hugged him tight. He told me the kids were at his mom's house just across the street. I stopped shaking so bad and went to her house. When I got in, the kids ran to me. Ben was first. I think he told me our house was on fire. I don't remember if he finished the sentence before he started crying. Lily came to me as well. She didn't say anything. She just started sobbing. I picked them both up, took them to the couch, and hugged them tight. After a few minutes, they dried their tears. I moved the car to a better place and went in and out of my mother in law's house for the next few hours.

Eventually, the hoses were rolled up and the trucks left. The last truck stayed until the first part of the investigation was done. We found out several things. Upstairs most of the damage was smoke damage and the stuff should be saved. It was saved because Drew shut the door when he ran upstairs to get the kids and the dog out. There was an exposed wire in the Buick that we didn't even know was there and that started the fire. There were things in the basement that could be saved even though they were right next to the car. We will be out of the house for 4 to 6 months because they have to gut it.

Photo Credit: Drew

More than any of those things, we found out that there are so many good people out there. One of the firemen apologized to my husband because he was concerned that he was rude while he was putting out the fire. The Red Cross Disaster Relief was there before all the firemen were gone. They had stuffed animals for my kids, toiletries for us, and a gift card for us to buy things we needed.  My brother in law had dinner delivered to us that night. An art club student emailed me to check on my family and my house. There were a couple kids riding their bikes later that night that asked if we were okay and if we had a place to stay. The insurance guy that took my claim information that night was so nice and patient. Our friends asked for prayer for us from their church. That church collected a love offering for us and we don't even know them. People from work and church have given the things we have asked for and assured us that they will be there when we need more. Other friends and family have checked on us regularly and continue to assure us that they are there when we need them. Friends are on call when we are able to move the Buick. They are ready to help with whatever my husband wants them to do with the car. My mother in law is letting us stay with  her. We have received anonymous donations. Another church helped pay our mortgage for this month. My son's school has given them some clothes. The insurance people have been nice and helpful. ServPro has been amazing! Our mortgage company has been really clear and helpful. So many people have given us hugs and prayers.

I can't say that this has been easy, but I know God has been with us every step of the way. I know he had his angels were protecting us and our things that day. I don't feel like we deserve such love from Him, but I will take it. I will praise Him in the storm because He is still with me no matter what. We can grieve the things that can't be fixed. We can be relieved for the things that can be fixed. We can praise Him for the things that don't need to be fixed. We still have so much, so many people who are here for us and will be here for us. That is worth praising.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Photo Caption: David Locke

Sometimes God has you in a tough place. You are reading your Bible and praying. You have talked to Christian friends. Still you have no solution. The situation hasn't gotten better. The people haven't come around. So now what?

I wish I had a good answer, a quick answer, but I don't. There isn't an easy way to fix some things, especially things involving people. Humans are flawed and broken creatures in a flawed and broken world. We all know that intellectually, but in the middle of this hard place, your heart doesn't care about this head knowledge.

I'm just here to tell you that you aren't alone. There are people who have been through hard things. They will listen. They will give hugs. They will pray with you. Keep praying. Keep reading. God is working and you are not in this hard place for no reason. You will come out of this stronger. And mostly you will come out of this.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Jesus, please hold them in your arms.

I have thought several times about what I want to write about today. There are a few posts I could put up here that would sound okay, but they wouldn't be from the heart. What has been weighing heavy on my heart this past week is some tragic news from my hometown.

A young girl ran away around the 4th of July about three and half years ago. Just after Christmas some remains were found and last week those remains were positively identified as that girl. I did not know this girl or her family, but I have followed the story and desperately wished for her to come home safe. My heart has broken many times for her mother, her family, and her friends. And now for it to 'end' this way is just so much more tragic. Then to think it hasn't really ended because they are still investigating what really happened.

I listen to a lot of true crime podcasts. I read cozy mysteries. I watch police procedural dramas. But now here is a situation near me and it is all so much more awful and heartbreaking. I know there are so many people with such strong feelings about this and they are completely entitled to those. But those feelings of outrage and heartbreak weigh heavily on me as well. I hope and pray the family isn't seeing that. I don't know if that is the right thing to feel, but I don't want them hurt any more. So I hope they don't have to have these feelings laid on them as well.

Ultimately, my heart is breaking for everyone involved and I don't see it getting better any time soon. The only thing I know to do is pray.

Jesus, please hold them in your arms.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Things Saving My Life Right Now

Every year about this time, Modern Mrs. Darcy, makes a list of things that are saving her life right now. I try to take time to think of that list for me as well. It is easy to focus on the things that are draining you, but the easy thing isn't always right.

So in the cold of February with no break in sight, these are things that are saving my life right.

1. Working with great people. I am so blessed to work with this group of people. We had a SUPER long day last night. It happens about the same time every year. So the administration gets us some kind of food since we will be there through dinner. Last night we had steak and baked potatoes. There are a few guys that did the cooking and the administration did the buying. It was so good to have a nice dinner together in the middle of a very long day.  Then when there were still a few parents around and I was going to help close up, they told me to go home because I have little ones. It was so good for a working mother's heart to have someone recognize that. 

2. Lily smiles and hugs. 3 year olds are hard to deal with. Having a red headed 3 year old girl seems so much harder. She is quick to cry and with the cry comes the screaming. If she doesn't get her way, she likes to kick and throw things. But she is also quick with a hug. And she throws her whole self into that hug. When I come home, she runs down the hall and yells, "Mommy." Then she throws herself at me in one of those big hugs. She tells me about the best thing that happened to her that day and runs off to keep playing. Those moments are wonderful.

3. A new water bottle. I recently got a new water bottle and I love it! I am drinking more water and feeling better. And since I'm walking more, more water is needed.

4. Books. I haven't had the time I would like to have to read. However when I do sit down to read, I escape into 1900s New York or Themyscira. Those escapes even for just 10 minutes means a lot.

I could probably think of more things, but these things are good. They are really good.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Too Much to Read!

Those that know me probably know I'm a book worm. In case you don't know, let me make my case.

Photo Credit: MotaWord

1. I chose my purse based on the biggest book it could fit inside.
2. I chose my house in part because it had nice book cases.
3. I go to the library once or twice a week.
4. I have 4 book apps on my phone.
5. I read over 100 books/audio books last year.
6. This is my kind of click bait. (#4, #6, #7, and #8 are my favorite.)

I'm sure there is more I could think of, but that should suffice.

As we approach the end of the first month of 2018, I have read 3 books and abandoned 1. One of my books from the library I even had to renew twice! I will probably finish one more tonight, but I added 10 to my To-Be-Read list. I'm not moving in a positive direction. It kinda bothers me. I see the books on my ebook shelf or my physical bookshelves and see how many books I want to read. It kinda depresses me that there are so many books to read and so little time to do it.

I guess what I'm saying is that I've been busy this month. Too busy to read is too busy. Fingers crossed that I have more time to read next month. In fact, I think I will finish this here and pick up my book for a few minutes.