Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Coupon Crazy

I was very excited today when I also found a book of coupons with no expiration dates! On the left hand side you'll see that these coupons were given to me by Valerie. How thoughtful!

There are a few that I will be redeeming in the not so distant future. Such as this one for help with my baking... That would be so cool if she had to walk a little way down the road to come bake with me.

And this one, I won't want to waste. I'll save it for a time when I really need it. Or should I say, when Steph really needs it?

But maybe I should check with her and make sure there aren't any restrictions I'm not aware of. The ink is faded and perhaps there was some small print I missed.


So I was perusing the website for Stephanie's and Valerie's church (here) when I noted "The Conneautville Church of Christ belongs to the Deep Valley Christian Service Camp Association". That sounded so familiar. I was pretty sure that Stephanie had attended camp there in the past. And then, today, I was going through boxes as I packed and what did I find but this:

Sure enough, there she is at 11 years old at the church camp for the church where she now attends. This picture is titled "1st Intermediate Week". These days that would be Princess Camp. Makes me smile.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


So here I am, taking the torch from Val for a Bible in 90 Days blog entry. She suggested that since 4 members of our family are bloggers and all reading through the program, we should take turns sharing our thoughts.

Wow, where to begin? Where I thought I'd feel overloaded, I find myself hungrier each day for my reading. As the scriptures build on one another, I look forward to what I will read next.

And part of me hates to admit what a child I feel like. Reading such large chunks of the scripture has me noticing things for the first time or again and asking questions and really just kind of acting like a new to the faith believer. And in a Christian culture that prizes maturity, it can be humbling to feel like that child. But I secretly suspect that I am the lucky one, since it fans the spark of my first love.

Further, I am doing my reading in my Complete Jewish Bible. I waffled on the version to use. The program uses NIV. But this was a good opportunity for me to really dig into my CJB after years of reading NIV and KJV. I know that Christians are often unfamiliar with this version and Jewish peoples discredit it. Still, to me it offers a sense of balance and, frankly, creates the least confusion when I read it. Instead of two books that cannot co-exist, I see a continuous thread.

Anyway, if you haven't heard of the program before or if you have but hadn't been ready to commit too it, I would urge you to consider it. You can start it at any time. My family started on the 1st as Val, Amol and Steph's church were starting on the 1st. And in the back of my mind I find myself thinking of their church as my future church. We'll see where God lands us when we get to Pennsylvania.

Are you ready for some of my thoughts so far?

I wrote out the timeline as I read the account of Noah. They were stuck in that (reeking, I'm sure) ark for over a year. Sure, the rain fell for 40 days and nights but that wasn't the end of it. And further, Noah had a visual on the dry land but remained in the vessel until God told him it was time for them to leave. What faith! I'd have gone running as soon as it looked shallow enough to wade.

It was only after the flood that God ordained that man should eat animal flesh. And at that time God also caused the animals to fear man. Can you imagine what it was like, then, when man and animal were all vegetarians and the beasts were not fearful of us? For an animal lover, that's a fun think to thunk.

Avraham (Abraham), Yitz'chak (Isaac) and Ya'akov (Jacob), the fathers of our faith, were all liars and frequently did things that seem downright wrong. Yet God showed them grace again and again, even coming down to speak with each of them. Wow. That speaks deeply to me of God's love for us.

Sh'mot (Exodus) - God tells Moses His name, Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh, and says, "This is my name forever; this is how I am to be remembered generation after generation." But we don't, chosing instead the generic "God" or dancing around it. Why? We are created in His image and we know that a person likes to hear you call them by their name. We are commanded to remember Him by his name...

Here's one of my lifelong questions, "Do bad things happen to us because we live in a fallen world but then God can make good come of it? -OR- Does God make even the things that seem bad to us happen so that He can use it to His glory?" So when I read Exodus 4:11 "Who makes a person dumb, deaf, keensighted or blind? Isn't it I, Adonai?" I toss that in the soup of my uncertainty for future consideration.

I am actually embarrassed that, at 46, as a believer of 20+ years, as a person raised in one church or another since birth, I find my understanding of how the Exodus went down is more Heston than History. The bit part Aharon (Aaron) plays in The Ten Commandments is nothing like the reality. In fact, Aharon spoke the words and wielded the staff that initiated 3 of the 10 plagues. Moshe (Moses) initiates 4, together they bring on the sores, and Adonai Himself brings 3.

True Sabbath is very important to God. He brings it up often, gives complete details on what is expected. We sure glaze over that one and I'm convicted as I read.

I don't remember reading before that on one day 74 people saw God right before Moshe was called to receive the commandments. How have I missed the previously?

I won't go on... I have 11 pages of notes and questions so far. I'm excited for what is yet to come as I dig in and read the Bible in 90 Days! Won't you let God bless you by the reading of His Word?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

We're Gonna Party Like It's 2011!

And we did! I can't believe Kent and I stayed awake past midnight. We are par-tee animals.

There were too many snacks and lots of games...

Apples to Apples - I beat (inside joke, that was my Grandma's notations on her daily Scrabble games).

See how much fun we were having?



Dutch Blitz

And we kept score very carefully. Seems there were some competitive types playing.

Not shown, Dark Tower, a blast from the past.

I hope you had a wonderful New Year's celebration - however quiet or crazy it may have been.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

So, About That Explanation

This item is very symbolic for me of what's been going on. This is a door knocker that Val and Amol gave to Kent and I for our new house when we move. They brought it to us from India. (And isn't it just the grooviest knocker ever?!)

On the 16th, we got a contract on our house. After a little negotiating back and forth, both parties accepted it. In the ensuing 14 days, we've walked property boundaries, had the septic pumped and inspected, had the home inspection, and an appraisal. All this while trying not to lose focus on our family time and Christmas.

Let me tell you, from the moment we began making improvements to sell the house, we have regularly prayed that God would find a buyer for our house who would love it as much as we have and be blessed by it as we have been. This has been the happiest and best loved home either of us has ever enjoyed. And when it took all summer and into autumn to prepare it for market, I decided that if the house sold in the winter I would absolutely know it was God. In fact, we were so sure that it was the wrong time of year to sell a house, that Kent and I had all kinds of plans lined up for the next several months. Time to relax and pursue some of our interests after a season of hard work.

So it looks like the house has sold, in winter. The closing is scheduled for January 28th. I don't doubt that this was God's doing. And what of the folks who are buying it? They love this house. They don't want it for part-time or a second home. They aren't looking for an investment property or rental property. They can't wait to move in and love and enjoy it just like we have.

Oh yes, God does know what our hearts' desires are. And He can bring things to fruition that seem unbelievable. There are homes in our neighborhood that have been on the market for 12-24+ months. I want to make sure that when people hear our story, the praise goes to God as it should. He's just so amazing!

And thank you to all our friends who prayed with us concerning this huge step we're taking. We appreciate you so much.