Thoughts On Life

Goodbye To The East

A week ago. Only a week ago that we said Goodbye to our friends in the east, and the big farmhouses and winding roads of Lancaster County.

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I knew moving was a huge amount of work and a pain in the back. This was our seventh move in seven years. I just forgot, again (when I was SURE I wouldn’t!) how NOT FUN it is.

We arrived home from Montana the previous Monday night and collapsed into our own wonderful bed. That week was full of packing, organizing, tying up loose ends and farewells. We advertised our van on Craig’s List and another online websight on Tuesday. We prayed it would sell. Sure enough, the day before we left, we sold it.

 We had quite a bit of interest in the van online. One lady especially, grabbed my attention. She was a single mom with 4 kids and in desperate need of a vehicle. I think God just held other people off until she could come see it and make us an offer, because I think she really truly needed it. The night she picked it up, her Mom told me that their church was having a time of fasting. The last day of the fast was that very weekend that our van showed up for her daughter. Isn’t that amazing? We signed the title over to her on Saturday before we moved. Don’t you just love how God works!

(I apologize for the poor photo quality coming up. I didn’t take time to really look at the pictures until tonight and realized my camera was obviously not on proper settings. The images are more important to me then quality in this case, so please be gracious:)

Linda and her girls came over to help me pack the kitchen and pantry one day.

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Joanna and Alisha tackled the big bookshelf.

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Kobe was very glad to have someone to play with and read to him.

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Otherwise, he got into lots of tight spots and hollered for me to come find him. Moving and two year old emotions aren’t the greatest combination.

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My family came on Saturday to help us load our tailor. It was an unusually muggy, humid day for September. Steve and I had to run to Leola to sign paperwork yet in the morning, so all the hard workers got a big chunk of the house hauled out before we could even help. The brave guys sweated buckets as they arranged and rearranged everything.

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The children had lots of fun playing together cooling off at the pump

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and listening to the empty house echo when they sang.

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We got the last pieces loaded around lunch time, then relaxed while we ate subs and ice cream. After that, came the goodbyes and the waving and torrential down pour of rain that brought flashfloods but broke the heat. Jason’s truck needed a new starter put in before they could go home. Thankfully they found a store that was open and had one on a Saturday afternoon.

Joe and Mona stayed for the weekend. Since our whole house was boxed up, Merv and Linda so kindly made room for us and Joe and Mona both at their house fro the night. We all had one more good time together.

Goodbyes are never easy, but with no goodbye, there is no new beginning. Goodbye is not forever for God’s Family. I’m so glad we can be part of that everlasting family of His sons and daughters!

I really don’t have words for all the emotions of that last Sunday. While part of it was familiar and comfortable and funny, other parts seemed so final and tear jerking and sad. I sat in church, unable to sing most of the time, memories of the last 2 1/2 years overwhelming me. Wishing we could sit on the back bench with Kierra in  her chair beside us one more time. Remembering the kindness of all the folks that would help lift her chair up and down the church steps or just stop and stoop down beside her to say Goodmorning  and that they were so glad she could come today. Sitting in the nursery with her when it got too loud in the auditorium, or turning the lights off during Sunday School so they wouldn’t shine in her eyes and drive her crazy.

After church, we went out to the grave for one last Goodbye. I had stopped by myself earlier in the week and had my little heart broken cry fest. As I turned from her grave that day to leave, the sun broke out behind the overcast clouds and literally spilled all over me in warmth. I think it was straight from heaven.  I was so glad, because I felt so much more calm and hopeful since I had let out the pain and farewell to this little spot and our beautiful daughter’s life. Her memories will go with us anywhere we go. She is so safe now.

One of her little friends from Montana had asked me to buy flowers especially from her for the grave, so I found a nice bright bouquet that I thought Kierra would have enjoyed. Kobe quickly claimed possession of them.

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They looked beautiful. Vibrant and so Kierraish.

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The happy faces of Kobe and her cousins were a tiny reflection of the joy she is exuburating right now.

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We miss her. So very much.

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But our goodbyes are not forever!

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Because we have this promise.

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(*thanks to it all began with paint  for this lovely hand painted sign. I have it hanging in my kitchen to remind me…goodbye is truly NOT forever, because the Love of my Saviour will welcome us into His everlasting joy some wonderful day!)

Thoughts On Life

God’s Got This

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It’s all part of the Journey. Life can be so difficult to understand. Circumstances so unchangeable. Emotions so beautifully tangled. But when we hold onto the fact that God is working for our GOOD, then we have hope, and often hope is the best thing to hang onto in this life.

We packed our car, shut up our house, and picked up our road map several weeks ago. We headed out for the sunny south. Destination. Florida.

This morning, we woke up in Montana.

What a journey it has been! Giving up our dream to live in Florida, for our dream of coming back home and living in Montana. We loved being in Florida, but something didn’t seem quite right. When my friend, Priscilla, got married in Trout Creek, MT, it seemed like God was choreographing everything together to allow us to return west and nudge us in a different direction.

We drove from Florida to Montana in around 40 long hours of cross country highways and interstates. The closer we got to Montana the more excited we got. We were coming home. Believe me when I say I was THANKFUL for that feeling! Soon after Kierra died, the last place I felt like going to was Montana. It felt like we had been wrung out and hung up and forsaken by that land. That is a prime example of how emotions work. Because Montana was actually wonderful to us. People cared about us. Doctors did their BEST to help us. We had wonderful , kind, friends. We had family close by. I think part of my heart died along with my dreams for my daughter in Montana a few years ago. It hurt too much to go back and face that dream again.

I could write a long epistle about coming here, and how things fell out of and into place for us. How discouraged we were at times,like yesterday, our last day here, with no house nailed down for us to move into. Like questioning if this is even where God WANTS us. Like wondering if He even CARES what we do or where we live. I mean, we hadn’t had a burning bush or  voice from heaven blossoming in our faces. It seemed the right thing to do right now in life, but could we trust ourselves? And most importantly,could we trust God?

To make a long story short, we got a text from a friend who had contacted a friend who might have a house available for rent. Since we aren’t financially set to cash off a place, 🙂  we were looking for a rental at least until we can get settled if not longer.

Then things started happening. I couldn’t believe it. At 6:00 PM, a few hours after I wanted to cry in discouragement, we had a cute, affordable,newly remodeled house that had our name on the rental agreement.The funny thing is, we didn’t even sign the agreement yet.It’s a Rancher’s word for it and our own honest word that closes the deal until we come out and sign ‘ some kind of papers that he’ll write up’.:) He of course wants us in it a year, which is OK with us since it is very reasonable and the best thing we have found yet 🙂 It’s a small two bedroom house just a block or two down the street in Fairfield where we lived a bit over 2 years ago.

Maybe that’s what you call God coming through in the 11th hour. I like to think of it as God coming through on time. Although it looked pretty sparse and discouraging yesterday afternoon, I had these moments of feeling like the great wheels of God’s workings were turning and He was going to come through with SOMETHING.

I wouldn’t even care if He had written “I told you so.” all over the sky 🙂

So here”s a big Thanks to our Father who cares about us, and a BIG THANKS to our family and  friends. Each of you who prayed for us, or gave us a meal, or  a bed, or encouragement, or laughter, or kindness, or assured us that God would work things out….THANK YOU!!!! Did you know you were the breath of God in our lives?

Today we head out on a new adventure with this rig.

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Steve’s uncle and family are moving from MT to IN this weekend. (another God plan the way this works). Since we didn’t want to drive our car all the way back to PA and all the way out here again, it made sense that we haul a load of their stuff back and leave our car parked here. The best thing is that since it is outrageously expensive to move west with a UHaul. (over twice as much as moving east) this is an answer to another unprayed prayer! 🙂 Isn’t it amazing how God looks out for us! Johns and us are renting this truck and trailer from kind folks out here, and loading it with John’s stuff to haul to IN. Then we unload, and head the rest of the way to PA. You can guess the rest 🙂 I think it will PLENTY big enough for our things. Steve even claims he could fit the van into the back of it yet too. LOL!! (the van is for sale, actually, if anyone is interested:) We hope to be back home by Monday sometime, so I’m not sure how long it will take to pack and say Goodbye to the East. I dread that part 😦 But I guess it is also part of the journey. I’m going to miss you guys in PA so much!

Prayers for safety and Praise for a God who ALWAYS comes through!

 

Thoughts On Life

Embracing Montana

We did it!!! We saw Montana again!Montana 2013 002 Montana 2013 007We breathed in the great big fresh air. Reveled in the open spaces and could scarcely sleep for the sheer beauty and joy of God’s wonderful creation! I didn’t know I missed it THAT much until we drove into South Dakota. We had been through parts of Wyoming,Iowa, Indiana, Illinois,Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, all the way back to Pennsylvannia. The closer we got to Montana, the more excited I got. And when that blue Big Sky country sign marked the actual official beginning of Montana air, I just had jump out of our van and do a happy dance. Kobe totally didn’t get it, sitting in the van while his mommy and daddy acted like fools. He caught on pretty quickly though, cuz he became a Montana lover in no time and learned the meaning of new words like ‘antelope’ and ‘drive and drive and drive’ and ‘mountains’

The first views that confirmed we were actually west and promised the Rockies were close by…Montana 2013 008  And then the beautiful mountains themselves…Montana 2013 024 Majestic enormous creation of our Creator. He flung so much beauty into this world!

We arrived in Gold Creek on Sunday and spent the next few days with family.We took a drive back into our old favorite haunts. And spent a few hours in our favorite town of Missoula.

This is the county side of our first young love 🙂

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This the fateful hill where i could easily have died in that dreadful moonlit sledding accident. It was the best and worst ride of my life. Barbed wire and toboggans do not mix well. The strong arms that held up at the bottom are still holding me today, though.

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We had a great time with family also. Good food. New babies, Reconnecting. Steve’s parents had been in Honduras for 4 yr. as missionaries. They just returned a few weeks ago. It was wonderful to all be together again!

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Kierra did amazingly well. I’m sure it was all the prayers offered up on her behalf. She needed more oxygen because of the high altitude, and her heart rate was considerably lower. It was such a gift to be able to be all be together and enjoy each other!

We   traveled to Fairfield on Friday, saw a few friends and packed our remaining things.

It seems like a dream that we lived in this house. I still miss it 🙂 It had a newly remodeled kitchen and antique fixtures throughout. Then there is all that emotionally ‘stuff’ that went on in there. Kierra’s sicknesses and Kobe’s first homecoming. Good times with friends and warm crackling fires. Montana 2013 124

We had short sweet time with friends in the 24 hours we were there. Coffee and conversation, a night of rest…and we were headed out.Loaded packed jammed full!

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We even got to stop for a cattle crossing just outside of Great Falls .Montana 2013 141 Montana 2013 142

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Thoughts On Life

Tupperware Beyond My Dreams

Literally. I never in my lie dreamed I would have so much Tupperware or that my pantry be more organized the any other spot in my house. When Rachel posted that she was having a Tupperware book party for me, I was excited 🙂 I figured I would get a few nice pieces. Like maybe MAYBE ten things. 

I have never been to Tupperware Party before although I knew they had wonderfully life time quality products. Maybe it had something to do with living in Montana where any money you make is spent on keeping food on the table, elk in the freezer, and the heater running in your car. Yeah… I know. That makes Montana sound a bit hickish when it’s actually one of the most wonderful beautiful places God created on this planet!

When Rachel told me to make a list of things I could use or wanted, I didn’t know where to start since I only had a few pieces and a canister set my sister got me for my last birthday. I decided to dream big and literally made a wish/need/would be nice to have / list. I had just found mice in our big huge old pantry. I’m guessing this was never intended for a pantry but more for a closet since there are no closets in our house. It dates back to the 1700s. Did they even have hangers back then?

So here is a before shot of my pantry. It suffered over the summer since it was rather neglected while we kept the hospital rooms from getting lonely.

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i was totally amazed. There are no words to describe the feelings when Rachel brought in 4 BIG HUGE boxes of Tupperware! This was the result…..

 

 

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I can actually walk to my cabinet, and pick up exactly what I need without emptying half of it to find the bag in the far rear and discover it’s been the mouses’s favorite new crush. Then, I got all these fun gadgets…like little containers and a salad spinner and just SO MANY WONDERFUL things!! I have knives that ACTUALLY CUT now!!!

 

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I think the most beautiful thing of all is the love and generosity that overwhelms me whenever I use my things. I did NOTHING to receive all these wonderful pieces. The kindness of friends reaches out and overwhelms me and wraps me in a hug when I roll out dough on the pastry mat or decorate a cake or toss salad . All I can say is THANKYOU!!!!! I hope I can pass on the kindness and love poured out on our lives to others! God bless each of you….And God bless each of you that prays for us. I now how it is not to have the funds available to give ‘expensive’ things to people. Then I try to remember that the POWER of prayer is even stronger and better then any thing money can buy or express. 

 

 

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Now hopefully there won’t be anymore of these to throw out 🙂 and no more chewed open chocolate chip bags 🙂

 

 

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One more thing 🙂 Don’t you LOVE the old, green pantry doors!!? Rachel had a brilliant idea. 

Paint inside of doors with chalkboard paint.

Chalk up your grocery list as you run low on things.

Shoot a pic with your phone.

Go shopping 🙂  (and you won’t forget your list if you don’t forget your phone 🙂

 

 

Thoughts On Life

A Splash Of Color For Your Day

 

 

 

 

I’m a far cry from a great photographer, but I love color and beauty so although these photos lack quality, I hope you can enjoy a quick scroll through another culture and country.honduras trip 074 honduras trip 018

There’s something about the brightness of the market that always reaches out and delights the eyes.honduras trip 078 honduras trip 086

spice rack….savory!honduras trip 087 honduras trip 091 honduras trip 093

 

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a rainy afternoon on the streets. plastic bags work great for rain gear 🙂honduras trip 097 honduras trip 098

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And then the not so great part of town where they hauled huge slabs of beef on their dirty shirted shoulders and threw them onto the back of dirty little pickup trucks…and chopped meat on the open market. And the cereal? I’m assuming they weighed your amount out for you.

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catching some zzzshonduras trip 125 maybe next time i should try a comfy sidewalk for a nap:)

happiness to you today!

Thoughts On Life

This Could Have Been Me.

Our 7 day trip to visit Steve’s folks in Honduras gave me so many new thoughts to process.

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One evening, my mother -in -law invited the new 28 yr old neighbor boy to stay for supper. We all gathered round the brightly lit kitchen table and thanked God for the food. Then we chatted and laughed as the bowls passed from hand to hand, and everyone helped themselves.

The Boy sat at the end of the table, hands clasped politely, securely in his lap. He did not reach for the serving bowl when it came to him. We all continued spooning our food out and pretended not to notice as Tim, sitting just around the corner from him,asked him if he would like some vegetables. He sat silently, nodding or shaking his head as each dish passed him. When the food had all been around, he gently raised his hands, took up his fork, and began to eat. Later, when the fruit and cake were passed around, I dared to glance fleetingly his way. Once again, he sat with his hands tucked securely under the table. But his face lit up like a child in a candy shop when Tim reached a piece of cake onto his place. I hope I never forget that smile. And that sheepish delight over a piece of cake.

We went to visit him in his quarters. Then I understood. His mother had abandoned him years ago. He had no home but a neighbor had allowed him to use one of their shacks for a shelter.

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Termites were eating away at the wood, and the roof leaked awfully. It was just barely better then nothing.

When he first came into the area, looking for work, he was not a Christian. One night, during the cold rains that soak Honduras in rainy season, he found his way to the mission house and asked if they have an extra board. He needed it for his bed, since the water was flooding his board “bed” he had in his ‘house’.

Imagine! Not a blanket or mattress. Simply an extra board for the night.

They gave him a board and took a thick foam and sheet along for him as well.

Now this is his bed. And his home.

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The rain still leaks through the roof onto his bed.

But that cannot dim the love of God he accepted into his heart. His whole countenance changed! He works at the mission now, and has bought himself a few new clothing articles.

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He learned to cook rice from my mother in law. He took us behind his house to see his kitchen.

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He is working toward a new life. And the hope he has in God burns in him and he’s learning to read.

And this is only one of the hundreds and thousands in the world that have so little. And I think of Almighty God , high above the Earth, looking down, and placing me in America. And him in a field in Honduras.

I have so much! Summer and winter clothing. ‘Every day’ and ‘company’ dishes. Hot showers and pairs of shoes. Boots and flip flops and a soft bed and piles of blankets and a washer and dryer. Fans and umbrellas and a van to travel in.

It doesn’t seem fair at all. Then I remember- it’s all about God and eternity! And His Love and Mercy reach down and embrace all types of hearts and saves souls from gutters to palaces!

And in Heaven-we will all praise Him together and we will all be more blessed then the billioniest billionaire!! And it all started at the Cross.

And just a few more pictures to make you so thankful for our simple American pleasures.

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A junk yard in the middle of town.

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Laundry drying brightly on the topmost level of apartment complexes.

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These people live just outside the garbage dump. They make their homes from other folks trash.

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Children grow up here.

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In the corner of the busy city in mid morning.

This could be me.

Thoughts On Life

Wet and Rainy Dayyeeoo

Raindrops. A million of them pinging into the wide creek across the green.  And inside, the brightness of spring flowers

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…and LOVE flowers…from the Love of my life…

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24 lovely, pure, heady scented roses! I think turning 28 is going to be OK after all.

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp in the mail from a very dear friend that knew I was longing for the book 🙂 if you haven’t read it yet, it is totally worth your while!!!

And a package of biscotti from another thoughtful friend! How could March get better?

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Then there’s this hyper little guy that is amazed every day at the littlest things…

like fresh bread

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new shoots…

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spring sunshine…

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the Big Creek close by…

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and walking with Daddy…

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and there’s this sweet Big Sister that likes to color…

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and sit tall on Daddy’s lap

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and snuggle with Aunt Karen…

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Jason and Karen come to PA once a month on a jam delivery. It’s the highlight of the month for me! Getting to spend time with my sister is like an energy booster. Especially with her cute little Lauren that keeps Kobe entertained.

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We taught them how to play Ring Around The Rosy 🙂

And did their hair all kooky

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And made doughnuts and just had fun together.

Kierra is getting better slowly but surely. Her last Dr. visit wasn’t as encouraging as I had hoped. She had pneumonia again. She still needs oxygen, and he said it is very likely she will always need a small amount ,especially when she sleeps. We are still hoping she will be able to be come off of it this summer. On the other hand, we need to face it realistically ….Real life is clumsy oxygen tanks and tape on sweet cheeks and nasal canulas that rub her nose and drive her crazy at intervals. It’s always ‘pulling a hose’ along with her and tape that catches hair and keeping the filters clean on her oxygen machine.

BUT!  Her fever is gone, and I keep reminding myself that spring is just around the corner and surely then, she will feel better.

Life is like these doves.

They have these warm fuzzy moments…

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and these not so warm, time out moments…

 

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only to return the next day to do some more necking outside my kitchen window…

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Happy March to you!