Monday, September 30, 2013

Mondays ...

morning comes later than before as the sun shifts
over to its fall schedule ...
night comes earlier as a result and the
days become so much shorter.
as the weeks progress into winter, my
yawn tells me that I am a child of
summer, and it is time to hibernate.

Friday, September 27, 2013

5 minutes: true

GO:

True love never makes itself known in the beginning.  It creeps in on those nights when you want to give up, when you want to walk away.  It creeps in when you are most afraid, most angry, most hurt ... and it is what makes you stay and work it out to make it a love that lasts.  True love is in the giving more, in the taking less, in the tears, and in the sacrifices.  True love is when you look at that person and realize that no matter what has been said, or what has happened, you have found love.  True love ... as we were first loved.

True courage never comes with a cape or an arm band.  It never shows in a face at first glance.  It creeps in on those nights when you want to give up, when you want to walk away.  It creeps in when you are most afraid, most angry, most hurt ... and it is what makes you stay and work it out with a courage that comes from a place inside you that you never knew existed.  Like your inner Amazon breaks free from the closet that you've kept her locked in your whole life.  True courage comes with the faith that it takes to step out on the water when you can't see the beach.  True courage is in the giving more, in the taking less, in the tears, and in the sacrifices.  True courage is when you look at a situation and realize that no matter what has been said, or what has happened, you will find the courage and faith to withstand it within you.

True forgiveness never comes with an expectation to be forgiven in return.  It never expects ... it only accepts.  It creeps in on those nights when you want to give up, when you want to walk away.  It creeps in when you are most afraid, most angry, most hurt ... and it is what makes you stay and work it out with a forgiveness that comes from above, from a place where we realize that we too have been forgiven.  True forgiveness is in the giving more, in the taking less, in the tears, and in the sacrifices.  True forgiveness is when you look at your hurt and your pain and you realize that no matter what has been said, or what has happened, you will find the forgiveness to give within you.

True ... my truth is [here]

STOP
Five Minute Friday

Thursday, September 26, 2013

doors ...

I love when you walk through one door ...
sometimes another one opens.

Life is good like that.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

this was my sign ...

Hand of God
I used to look for signs everywhere
words, images, songs
something
anything
that would tell me what to do
where to go
who to be with
or be like.

I was lost
confused
wandering
frightened
and alone.

Then one day I realized
that what I was looking for,
that sign with all the answers,
had been here all along.
Just waiting for me to open my eyes,
and the pages.

Here I am,
found,
answered,
grounded,
confident,
and loved.

What an amazing sign.

Monday, September 23, 2013

recap ...

[note to self:  do not watch "World War Z" at bedtime again]

at 10:30p Sunday night
in the middle of hordes of zombies rushing on my television screen
Trooper insisted we must go out into the dark
for a potty break.

I tiptoed around
whispering to him to hurry and be quiet
the woods could be filled with zombies

sleep came and went
never long enough to leave me feeling rested
before the Monday morning alarm went off
chasing away the zombies

work

a day filled with zombies of another kind
boredom zombies
as we were transitioning between
being students
to becoming workers
a rush of newbies ~ the latest hires ~ started 
those of us who had completed our "training"
were left hanging with nothing to do
but study study study
all we had studied for the past two weeks
eyes glazed over
heads bobbling

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Saturday sillies ...

Annie likes to sleep upside down.
She makes me laugh every time.

when wishes become horses ...

... that beggars can ride.

I was wandering through my blog yesterday.

Like that hindsight 20/20 thing
sometimes we don't realize how far we've come
until we turn around and look.

Reading where I was
through my blog posts,
I can see that road I've travelled so much clearer.

Yesterday I read [this post] that was written on 21 August 2013.

And I know from the scribbled happy faces on my calendar
that [this post] was written on the day that I just showed up
and followed through with doing something I had dreaded doing ...
lead to [this post] and [this post].

In September 2012, I was [here], 
pledging money ~ in faith ~ that I didn't have to a Christian radio station.
[This] is what happens when you have faith.

It was still another four months before I found a job.
But in those four months after stepping out in faith to support the radio station,
every month there was a way.

I have heard some define faith as not necessarily being something we can see,
but being something we can trust.
That faith is knowing that if you step off the cliff,
someone will either be there to catch you,
or you will learn to fly.

In looking at this past year, I think I have had both.
I was caught in the palm of His hand,
and I learned to fly.

Friday, September 20, 2013

5 minutes: she-

GO:

She wrapped her arms around herself, in spite of the heat in the house without air conditioning, and rocked back and forth, tears spilling down her face.

She cried in the darkness, alone and afraid, not knowing how she would get the power or water turned back on, not wanting to go on, not wanting to live.

She reached a hand over her head and cried one last time before despair and depression carried her off to sleep ... "God, help me!"

She woke in the morning, hot and sweaty, tears still damp on the pillow, and dressed, knowing that the woman coming to take her cherished pug away would arrive that day.

She held him close as he snuffled her tears.  She had made her mind up during the night and knew that this would be a forever goodbye, not just a temporary solution to a temporary problem.  She cried into his fur as he panted from the heat, not wanting to give him up, not wanting to face her choice.  She whispered into his ear ... "God, help me!"

She heard the knock at the door and knew it was time.  She turned over the leash to the woman and explained about the power and water being off, and wanting her precious fur child to have a better life.  She closed the door and sat on the floor and cried after the woman left.  She cried and sobbed ... "God, help me!"

She sat for what seemed like hours and oceans of tears, and eventually she heard the knocking on the door again.  She opened it, looking terrifyingly like Medusa, and saw the woman who had taken her pug standing there with a hand extended.  She took it and listened as the woman shared news about how God had heard her cries, and a church was willing to pay to have the power and water turned on again.
~~~
She wrapped her arms around herself a year later, in spite of the heat in the house without air conditioning, and rocked back and forth, tears spilling down her face.

She cried in the darkness of the night, no longer alone and afraid, no longer without power or water, but this time with gratitude, wanting to go on, wanting to live.

She reached a hand over her head and cried one last time before exhaustion from the work day carried her off to sleep ... "Thank you, God, for hearing my cry!"

STOP
Five Minute Friday

Thursday, September 19, 2013

wind riders ...

white caps top the waves
in the distance I
notice a kite surfer
dancing in the wind

roaring overhead
icy contrails
disappear behind an F-22
echoing calls catch my attention
raptors in the sky, osprey
soaring on the thermal updrafts


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

changing the world ...

Linking with Jamie Ridler Studios this morning ...

I read a blog post this morning from Holley Gerth on (in)Courage
about our God sized dreams
and how we have the ability to change the world
even if something has been said or done before.

Because there has never been a you before.
Or a me before.
Yes, someone might have already been to the moon,
or climbed Mount Everest,
or written War & Peace.

But I haven't.
Maybe you haven't either.

Jamie asks as her Wednesday prompt:
"What do you wish to change?"
and the thing that came to my mind
was that I want to change the world.
Maybe just for one person
or one small community
or for my inner circle of friends and family
or that outer circle of people who read my blog or my books.

It doesn't matter if my name is remembered in the end;
or a statue is made of me, sitting in front of a computer, blogging away, 
with a dog nudging my elbow asking for a treat;
or my name on a brass plate is mounted to a park bench in a dog park, or in a national park.

But I want to be part of a change in the world,
even if just a small part.
They are changing the world for those women and children.

I want to change the world
for one person
with my words.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

for Kate ...

Over the last several months that I've been following Chronicles of a Country Girl,
Kate has shown a graceful peace and acceptance
for what has been a very difficult time in her and her family's life.


roses are for beauty.
The deep pink rose speaks of appreciation and gratitude.
It says "Thank you for being in my life."

Sending you hugs and prayers, Kate.

Monday, September 16, 2013

in mercy ...

This past year I have been blessed.
Coming from unexpected places, I have found
grace
love
in the words and actions of others
~ mostly from people I don't know at all, or people whom I have met through my blog and facebook,
and from people whom I've known from other lives here and there. ~

I've been blessed
saved
restored
redeemed
all because of their mercy.

We think of mercy as something we give or do for someone we know.
But what if we were to give mercy to someone we didn't know?
What if we gave mercy without any expectations for it being returned to us?

The theory of "pay it forward" comes with a hope that one day when you need it most, 
it will return to you.
But what if we thought of it instead as simply giving love and mercy for the world?

When we help another person up,
when we reach out a hand of help,
and give them the tools to stand on their own two feet,
to contribute back to their society
...
isn't that the truest definition of mercy

Sunday, September 15, 2013

in dog years ...

 This guy is my bestest friend ... forever.
He's been moving a little slow the last few weeks.
I'm not sure if it is the heat,
doggy dementia starting,
or some early arthritis,
[the vet has told me he is healthy, although he has lost a little weight].

Or if he is just on strike 
because I won't let him run off leash now that Annie has taught him the bad habit of chasing cars.
8 weeks old and deceptively innocent looking ...
he was already practicing his poker face.
I've figured out that at nine years old this past June ...
he's more like 61 in a dog/human years comparison.
Ugh.
I dread the thought of the inevitable.
Seriously.
Hopefully it will not come for another ten years.
I'll need a sage colored padded room with a matching monogrammed wrap-around jacket.
I cannot even imagine life without him without crying.
Seriously.
Yeah, he's a Florida State Seminoles fan.
Really.
See the tip of his tail in the picture above ... it's now white.
[sad face]
I'm making sure that he gets regular vet checkups, good food, and exercise.
The heat this summer has been brutal on all of us, especially without air conditioning.
But I hose him down with cool water two or three times a day 
and make sure he's not getting overheated or over-exerted when we walk.
We walk at his pace, stop when he wants to stop, and go where he wants to go.
Short-cuts lately are his favorite.
Patiently watching a yahtzee game while hogging Henry's bed.
First time seeing snow.
The house we had in Texas had the most incredible back yard.
We miss it.  A lot.
Trooper is all about the environment.
He is my best friend, and the best dog I have ever been blessed with.  
Do you think you can have a dog soulmate?  
If so, he is mine.

Update:  he was partially on strike ~ I trusted him enough this morning to let him off leash and he ran like the wind.  But only for a short while.  Later while massaging his shoulders and legs after he slowed to a walk, I found an ugly black mole that will be monitored by me and close attention from the vet.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

pelican ...

pterodactyl silhouette from
earlier times
lands hard
in the water.
casting its bill
as it slowly floats along the shore, it
nets small fish and shrimp ... breakfast.

Friday, September 13, 2013

3 John 1:13

13-14  I have much more to say to you, but I don’t want to write it with pen and ink.  For I hope to see you soon, and then we will talk face to face.

This last letter from John is written to another pastor, Gaius, in a distant church about another church leader who is spreading lies and rumors about John and other believers.

9-10 I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will not welcome us. So when I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, spreading malicious nonsense about us. Not satisfied with that, he even refuses to welcome other believers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.

Scholars have speculated that one of the reasons for the dispute between the two men
may have been about financial responsibility.
Something I can relate to as I have recently experienced family conflicts over the same issue ...
complete with hateful words, lies and rumors.

John offers this advice to Gaius for how to deal with Diotrephes without stooping to the same level...

11 Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good.

In essence, John tells him to turn the other cheek and ignore what has been said, as well as the person.

Follow only what is good.
Advice I have come to agree with, and words to live by.

5 minutes: mercy

GO:

Mercy.

We all want it at times, not realizing that it is there for the taking.

We struggle trying to do things our own way, until we stop struggling and fall to our knees.

That is where we find it.

Mercy on our knees.  Mercy within our reach.  Mercy for the asking.

The women at Mercy House Kenya have found mercy.  Not just in the doors that have opened to welcome, but in the hearts and hands of those who reach out to help them.

With mercy.

STOP.
Five Minute Friday

Thursday, September 12, 2013

baby steps in Kenya ...

  I'm linking this morning with a group of incredibly compassionate bloggers and woman who are (in)couraging women in Kenya.

  I've never considered going to Kenya.  Mostly because I already live in a hot, humid place and so when I dream of vacations, I dream of cool breezes, green mountains, and snow.  But I've always been fascinated by people, places, and animals ... and the more I read and learn about different parts of the world, the more I wish I could be a traveler who simply wanders and enjoys all the beauty that this gracious planet we live on has to offer.

  I've also never had a child ... but that has never stopped me from wanting one, or wanting to be a significant person in the life of a child.  These women that (in)courage and Mercy House Kenya are working with to help them raise their children ... they are mothers ... daughters ... sisters ... aunts ... and they are beautiful, just like the country they live in.

  Won't you consider helping them take baby steps for a better life?
"Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."
~ 2 Corinthians 9:7 NIV ~

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

9/11

2 September 2001
View of the NYC skyline as seen from the Statue of Liberty
Praying for comfort for all who were lost,
and for all who were left behind.

Praying for wisdom for all who lead our country,
and all who defend it.

Praying for peace for all who live here,
and for all who do not. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

on life after death ...

  I'll be the first to admit that once upon a time the thought of death terrified me.  I didn't want to die.  Didn't want anyone I knew to die.  My first exposure to death was going to the viewing of my best friend's father when I was just 16.  It freaked me out.

  Because of geographical distance, even though I lost most of my grandparents and an aunt by the time I was 30, the first real memorial service I went to was for a co-worker who passed from cancer.  I sat in the back where I could make noisy sobs without bothering anyone else in the church.  I didn't know him well, but as the Human Resource Generalist for the company at the time, I had spoken to him often, before and after he left on medical leave.  In fact, I had spoken to him the day before he died when he called excitedly to share the news that his tumor was shrinking.

  I think that was what grieved me the most.  The unexpectedness of it all.  The joy, then suddenly ... the death.

  After that, through losses of other family members and friends ... I managed to skip around the facing death issue.  The uncertainty of "what next" terrified me.  The suddenness of death arriving terrified me.

  It wasn't until my father's death in 2007 that I really got slapped in the face with facing my fears.  But there were several things that happened after that moment that brought me comfort.  The first was what I've always considered to be a visit by my father a year after his death, while I was talking to my uncle (his twin) on the phone.  It brought me so much peace to feel that he was there and letting us know that he was well.  The second occurred at the memorial service for his little sister, who passed the year after he did.  While we were singing one of her favorite hymns in the church, I had a vision ~ as clear as if it were truly right in front of me ~ of my father greeting her and taking her hand to walk along a road under beautiful fall colored trees.

  In the years since then, I have grown in my faith and become less afraid of the "what next."  I have come to realize that what scared me most was the thought that this was all there was.  That there was nothing more.  That there was ... nothing.  Knowing that there is more ... that there is something ... that there is a peace and a home and a healing ... and love that surpasses all this world has to offer ... wow.  I am brought to my knees in grateful tears.

  Yesterday I lost someone I loved ... and while there are tears for that today ... some of them are tears of joy because I know that he has gone home at last, and has found that peace and love.  I know that he was welcomed and greeted and embraced and healed.  And I know that I will see him again one day when I go home.




Friday, September 6, 2013

women living well ...

  I've signed up to do a book review in October [with a giveaway!] for a first book by Christian author and blogger, Courtney Joseph, titled "Women Living Well."   She blogs [here] and has quite an amazing ministry.

  To be honest [which I like to be] when I first started following Courtney with her Proverbs 31 Bible Study, I was a little intimidated.  I felt like being the kind of wife and woman Courtney was ... was out of my reach.  But the more I studied the Bible, and the more I read Courtney's blog, and with the help of another book that brought the Proverbs 31 woman into the 21st century ... I realized that it really wasn't out of my reach at all.  Becoming a woman who lives well is God's desire for all of us!

  "Women Living Well" is a guide, an honest guide that questions all that we have been taught by society, for women who want to live well.  Not just as wives and mothers, but as daughters, sisters, aunts, cousins ... as women.
  Right now if you pre-order her book, you will get a bonus of ten extra books by Courtney and other incredible Christian authors.

5 minutes: Red

GO:

I start a new job on Monday (Thank you, God!) and so colored my hair last night to the lightest shade of red that is close to what mine once was (honestly).  I had colored it almost two months ago for the first time since January, and the darker shade of red I chose then was rather frightening.  Students that I worked with told me flat out that I looked scary and creepy with that color.

I love the honesty that comes out of the mouths of children at times.

Recently, one of the awesome 2nd grade students who help me with the younger students said something so wise and amazing for such a young man.  "J" was helping to pass out milk left over from snack time to students as we watched the late afternoon movie while waiting for parents to arrive.  Everyone wanted chocolate milk, which we didn't have much of, and finally it was gone so the only option was white milk.  As students turned their noses up to the offer of white milk and said they only wanted chocolate milk, "J" commented to me:

"They're not grateful for what they got."

Being grateful for what we have sometimes opens the door for so much more.  This is a lesson I've learned the hard way in this past year.

I'm grateful for this day ... and yesterday.  I'm grateful for the red dawn ... and the red sunset.  I'm grateful for this job ... and that job.  I'm grateful for this car ... and that truck which will come in time.  I'm grateful for my husband, for our marriage, and for the life we will have together.  I'm grateful for a lighter shade of red ... and even for the scary, creepy red.  I'm grateful for the small things ... and the big things.

I'm grateful.
Five Minute Friday

Thursday, September 5, 2013

speaking of faith ...

  I don't remember when or how I came to know God.  I just knew that there was a presence in my life that was more powerful than I was, and I wanted to live up to His expectations.

  We didn't grow up in a church family, or with a defined faith or denomination.  My parents went infrequently, and I really only have one memory of all four of us sitting in a church at the same time ... the only reason I remember it was because my brother lied about not getting a piece of Dentyne gum and I remember inching away from him so that the lightning wouldn't hit me too.  Lying in church!  I thought for sure he was going to get a smack down from God.

  Growing up I bounced around churches and denominations depending on friends and family I was around.  It was during those years that I began to feel that "organized churches" and denominations weren't what I was seeking.  There was too much judgment inside those walls by people who were not qualified to cast the first stone.  Too much hypocrisy in who they were on Sunday mornings and who they were the rest of the week.

  So I sought God on my own terms.  Walking on the beach and pouring out my heart to Him.  Driving across town or across the state or country, pouring out my heart to Him.  I would occasionally visit a church with a friend or family member and enjoy the worship, music, and message.  I learned, I grew, I thirsted for His word.

  But I rarely spoke about my faith to others.  I didn't want to offend, or seem pushy as I had seen so many others be.  I didn't want to carry my Bible and thump it for emphasis.  I didn't want someone to feel I was judging them for their choices ... because I wasn't.  Faith is a very personal thing.  It is just between you and your God / Higher Power / Universe / whomever you reach for when you find yourself in the darkest dark and the deepest depths ... even if it is just a teddy bear to clutch close.  I wanted to set an example by how I lived because I wanted my walk to match my talk.  I was doing it backwards.

  Lately, however, God has been moving so powerfully in my life that I cannot help but shout out His name in grateful praise for how He has worked in my life.  I know, without a doubt in my mind or heart, that I would not be here today if not for His grace, His mercies, and His miracles.  I have to share my faith because I want my talk to match my walk, and I want my talk to encourage others to share my walk.

  Oh, I'm still not going to thump, or judge, or become pushy and offensive.  Faith is still a very personal walk for each of us.  But I cannot be silent any longer because of how much I have been blessed ... and saved.

"By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.
There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!"
~ Romans 5:1-5 MSG ~

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

on the calendar ...


  I have signed up to be part of an (in)courage team of bloggers in November who will be promoting projects for Mercy House Kenya.  If you read through their website, you will be amazed and blessed by how everything came together for this "home" for pregnant young girls.

  The five (in)courage projects actually start on September 12th with bloggers who will be writing about Mercy House Kenya's need for a van.  Phase 2 will begin on October 7th with bloggers writing about funds needed for a new classroom, and Phase 3 will be done via Twitter on October 24th to raise funds for a new generator.  I'm jumping into the action on November 11th along with 14 other bloggers to raise funds for a computer lab.  The last and biggest push for Mercy House Kenya will begin on December 2nd where all of us will blog for a second home for Mercy House Kenya to enable them to help more young girls.

  Look for another post from me on September 12th with more details about how you can help.


remembering our history ...

Linking with Jamie this morning ...

So much has happened in my 51 years that I'd like to forget.
After my father died, I found a folder in his house with every letter I had written to him.
From 1977 to 2005.
Those were a turbulent 28 years, 
spanning the anguish of a fifteen year old girl coping with her parent's divorce, 
a volatile stepfather and a stepmother just six years older than I was ...
to a woman dealing with her own divorces, lost dreams for children, and other struggles.
It was painful to re-read those words, 
written with a teenage anger at times, then with grief, depression and despair.
It made my grief at the loss of my father so much more painful.
He had saved my letters ... 
but never responded as I reached out to him for help or guidance.
History that was filled with painful lessons.

I burned them all.

There is so much more of my history that I am grateful to remember.
Travels to exciting and interesting countries and states.
Meeting new friends and treasuring old ones.
Laughter and dancing.
Successes.
Love.

The history that I want to remember most are the good times in my life.
Lessons learned, yes, but with the tests that came with those lessons long forgotten.
Remembering with gratitude all the joy in my history.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

looks can be deceiving ...

This girl
Annie
who looks all sweet and cute and innocent as she
hogs Trooper's bed
and drools on his pillow
(see the disgust on his face?)
she has a funny wicked streak in her
she loves to chase cars that trespass in "her" field
as they drive to the fishing spots,
so the dogs are no longer allowed off leash
(can you see the disgust on Trooper's face?  
he's not happy about being "grounded" because of her)
she loves to get up on the bed and root around
getting under the sheets and drooling on my pillow
(can you see the disgust on MY face?)
so I've had to resort to my own funny wicked streak
and put a "Scat Mat" on the bed to keep her off
which also keeps Trooper off
(can you see the disgust on Trooper's face?)
But you see this girl
Annie
as she sleeps and dreams of chasing cars
and stomping in mud puddles
and giving sweet hugs
and saying hello to the neighboring children
this sweet girl
Annie
...
she is loved.

Monday, September 2, 2013

laboring ...

 I've been working for more than 35 years now.  Just not at the same place, or doing the same thing.  Which is good ... and bad.  If I'd been at the same company, I could have retired by now and been doing what most people do when they retire ... which lately is going back to work.

  My first job was as a reader for two blind classmates.  I was 15.  Their braille textbooks and textbooks on tape hadn't arrived so for the first three months of school, I would go every afternoon to read homework assignments to them.

  I did the fast food circuit after that, walking three miles to get to work after school let out.  Volunteered as a Candy Striper at the hospital, working in the physical therapy department, and eventually worked as a physical therapy aide in a clinic.  I also worked as a salesperson / cashier for several different retail stores before finally graduating to a real office job.  I've written radio ad copy, and newsletters for doctors.  I've helped coordinate community events where 10,000 people showed up, and I've stood up to teach a classroom of 20 adults wanting to learn more.  I've worked at big companies, and I worked at small companies.  I was a leader for some ... and a follower for many.

  Even those times when I wasn't getting paid for my work ... I was volunteering or working at finding a job or working at finishing college.  Last year ... I was working at surviving.

  Working in so many different fields ... and looking for work ... has given me a greater appreciation for those who work.  From the person who picks up the trash once a week, to the person who governs the country ... work is hard ... and appreciated.

Thank you.

"The Lord will not let the godly go hungry,
but he refuses to satisfy the craving of the wicked.
Lazy people are soon poor;
hard workers get rich.
A wise youth harvests in the summer,
but one who sleeps during harvest is a disgrace."
~ Proverbs 10:3-5 NLT ~

Sunday, September 1, 2013

faster & more powerful than Superman

  Some of you there on the other side of the monitor know bits and pieces of my story ... the parts I've chosen to share here or there.  What you may not know yet is just how God has been working in my life the last few weeks.  So much has happened ... and so fast ... that I'm still trying to grab onto the tail end of it to pinch myself.

  Last week I finally got a full-time job and start in another few weeks.  Thank You, God!  I'm still working out the budget issues because they will hold back the first two weeks of pay and I won't get paid for a month, but I'm trusting that things happen so that I can squeeze by until then.  I still have a few more things I can list on eBay or CraigsList.

  But here is where things become Amazing.  Today I had a conversation with my husband about how God has worked in our lives ... not just to save our marriage, but to save our lives.  But before I get to all of that, let me back up ... my husband has an incredible gift of music.  He can pick up a guitar or mandolin or sit at a piano and play by ear.  He's not had formal training on any of them, and he can hear a song a few times and then play it perfectly.  It is Amazing   Throughout his life, he has also written songs, mostly bluegrass style gospel songs.  Unfortunately, we had to sell his guitars for food in the past few years.

  Fast forward to now ... today we talked about something that happened earlier this week when he was playing with the church band, and how he felt that rather than become a preacher in one home church, he felt that his calling was to share his testimony ... our testimony ... in many churches with his music and story.  So tonight I was posting on a website asking for help in getting some guitars to replace the ones we had to sell.  As I was waiting for part of the registration process to complete, I stumbled upon a free ad for a pressure washer.

  Now, this is where God became really Amazing   We know that sharing our story won't pay the bills, so we talked about my husband starting his own business doing landscaping or ... [drum roll] ... pressure washing.

  [insert your own little happy dance here if you can see where this is going]

  So now we are the proud owners of a pressure washer ... and [also free] a weed eater which is one of the things we wanted to get when we could afford it to help get the landscaping business off the ground!!!

"Let the whole earth sing to the Lord!
Each day proclaim the good news that he saves.
Publish his glorious deeds among the nations.
Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.
Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise!
He is to be feared above all gods."
~ 1 Chronicles 16:23-25 ~
NLT