Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

... Tuesday

Thank you all for praying for Al and Sherry. Sherry went home to be with the Lord yesterday. Please continue to pray for Al and the family, as this was a very sudden loss for them. Two weeks ago, we were doing SportsCamp together ... a good reminder that life is very fragile. Below are words from our pastor's blog -

April 28, 2008
Our Children's Minister, Sherry Gill, passed away around noon today. We asked the Lord to heal her, but He must have had higher plans. God used Sherry's life and struggle with death to display His glory.
I have spent as much time with Sherry as I have with anybody. Time reveals a lot of things about a person. For Sherry, time revealed her compassion for others, her gentle spirit, her faithfulness to her calling, and a deep love for her husband Al.
Sherry's illness did not take God by surprise. He was not distracted by other things going on. He did not ignore our prayers or look beyond our needs. God took every final breath with Sherry. In His sovereign perspective, He is unfolding a plan that far outweighs even the necessity for Sherry to remain on this earth.
I am convinced that things look much different from heaven. Death, life, decisions, all are viewed from an eternal perspective. We are the Lord's, and whether we live or die, we are still the Lord's. So, we are mercifully used as vessels to accomplish Jesus' mission here on earth. Sometimes God heals us from life-ending diseases. (Sherry had already been healed of breast cancer so she had experienced what it is like to be delivered from death.) Sometimes the Lord allows physical infirmities to take their course as He views death through the lens of His love, provision, and presence.
One of Sherry's most used verses is Jer. 29:11. I have heard her teach this to children and adults. God says, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." I used to think that verse applied to this lifetime exclusively. But as God gave hope to the Israelites who were in exile, He gives hope to those of us in Christ. God's plans for us extend far beyond what we call life. Sherry is with the Lord who spoke these words.
I suppose I'll write more later. Be praying that many people come to the Lord by the softening of their hearts through Sherry's journey.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Basement started...

Current status of the shed - we have finished the staining, but still need to do the trim work. John made a nice ramp to make it easier to wheel the heavy things in and out.

A dear friend, Wally, has been helping us with his tractor. He did some more improvements on the road and is now digging out the basement. The road just doesn't want to stay nice ... the rain washes out parts of it and the parts that are soft get damaged with big equipment driving on them. I think this will be how it is until we can make some more substantial improvements. The nice thing is, we have met more neighbors that are willing to help pay for improvements.

We are still waiting on electric ...

Psalm 147:11 the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.

Friday, April 25, 2008


We have been happily busy lately - we took a whirlwind weekend trip to PA for John's brothers wedding, had 3 fun days of SportsCamp at our church when we returned and then turned around and headed further south for a staff meeting that Thursday and Friday. The kids and I went to the Birmingham Zoo on Tuesday, and have tried to squeeze school work into the cracks! Whew - it's nice to be home for a few minutes :)

1. Well is drilled! Yippee! Although they had to go deeper than we would have hoped, we have a steady supply of water. We now need to have a plumber out to "hook it all up". The septic system is being installed as I write this! We are still waiting on electric...

2. Shed is closer to being finished. I ran out of stain, so the door looks a little goofy right now (the picture is before I stained that day)! John has some trim work to finish up. We moved the shelves in and got it organized inside. Trust me, I made sure we saved room for the washer and dryer! :)

3. Savannah was doing some creative art work with the old nails - this is her rendition of our church (Harvestfield Church - HFC). This picture is also a bit of an illusion - just the way the shadows are, it sometimes looks as if the nails are embedded into the wood - can you see it?

4. Allergies - uggh! All of the beautiful wild flowers and flowering trees come at a price - my poor sinuses are about to explode! I have started taking the D version of the allergy medicine, so hopefully that will take care of it. It is amazing - there is so much pollen floating around that the vehicles have a layer of yellow dust on them! I am not complaining, though, I still love the flowers!
Have a wonderful weekend!
Psalm 24:1 The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

... Wednesday

Please pray for our friends, Al and Sherry - she is the children's ministry director at our church and they host our home group. They are very dear to us and many, many others. Sherry has been diagnosed with liver cancer. She was healed from breast cancer a few years ago and now is in the battle again. Even though the doctors can't give them much to hope for, we know we can trust in the God of hope.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I am praynig that they will feel the Lord guiding them, that He will turn this darkenss into light and make their rough places smooth. We trust and know that He will never forsake us.

Isaiah 42:16 I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.

Thank you for praying on their behalf.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

5 things...

Thanks to my new blog friend, Morning Song, I have been tagged! I just read her blog and her family has been sick, so I hope they are all feeling better by now.

OK - here goes.
What was I doing 10 years ago......
It really seems like a lifetime ago for me - I was single and living in Portland, OR. I was a volleyball fanatic and a gym rat. I spent most of my free time doing one of these activities. I was working for a company who manufactures pacemakers and defibrillators. I was in my routine - stop for my Coffee People Mocha and scone in the morning, go to work, go to the gym (or volleyball), sleep, shower, repeat :) I had started to feel a little like a move might be in the picture for me. Amazing how God works, as that fall I met my hubby, moved to PA the next year, got married and had kiddos...

5 Things on my to-do list today...
1. Pray without ceasing - as we were saying our bedtime prayers, Savannah said "wow, Mom, there are a lot of people with needs, aren't there?" Yes, dear, there are.
2. Paint the shed.
3. Fax information for septic and electric to appropriate people.
4. Create spreadsheet of our building expenses so far.
5. Go grocery shopping and do laundry :(

5 Snacks I enjoy...
1. Milky Way candy bars (or anything chocolate!)
2. Apples (really, I do!)
3. Chicken in the biskit
4. Chips and salsa
5. Wheat thins

5 Things I would do if I were a billionaire...
1. I would seek the Lord to see how He would want me to use the money.
2. As I was starting to write some of the options down, it occurred to me that whether we are billionaires or paupers, the answer should really be the same. What does the Lord want us to do with our riches and blessings?
3. We are so unbelievably blessed in this country and don't even realize it. Something I heard from a Beth Moore Bible study is that if we can read and can afford to buy a book, we are better off than a lot of the world!
4. I would try to remember these and not just squander money away on my selfish wishes...
5. I do like to travel :)

5 Bad habits...
I asked my hubby what my bad habits are and he said "none. There is no need to glorify your bad habits..." :) Do you see why I love him? I do have bad habits, but I am asking the Lord to change me and make me more like Him.

5 Places I've lived...
1. Alabama
2. Pennsylvania
3. Oregon
4. Connecticut
5. Idaho

5 Jobs I've had...
1. Mom :)
2. Software Engineer
3. Waitress
4. Airplane refueler - thanks to my super brother-in-law (Hi Carl!)
5. Salmon fish brander (don't ask :)

Since I am new to blogging, I am going to officially tag anyone who reads this - let me know when you have finished the little review, so I can read yours!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Land tour - part 4 - rocks, trees, etc.

Welcome to the "tour" - this is the last of a series of 4 posts with pictures of our land. Hope you enjoy!

This tree is not on our property, but we can enjoy it from the trail.

We bought our land from a timber company, so our property is mostly replanted pine trees. We estimate that the trees are about 8 years old. We do have a section of hardwood trees on the other side of a rock bluff, but it is difficult to get to. If you look extremely carefully, the shed is almost distinguishable at the top of the far ridge. There is a section where the trees are lower just at the ridge - that is where we have cleared.

Before buying the property, my Dad advised us to dig a hole and see how much rock was there. I told him that there was no need to dig! This is an exceptionally rocky area, but we do have a lot of rock.

These rocks are just on the border of our property - they add beauty and character to all of the pine trees.

That's all for now. Hope you have enjoyed seeing more pictures.

Land tour - part 3 - trails

Some of these could be called "Where's Lilly?" - she obviously went with me, faithfully staying in front to sniff out the snakes :)

You can barely see her towards the middle of this picture, on the trail.

There is a trail that goes along 2 borders of our property which is fun to hike. The terrain is very rugged with hills and rocks, but we all love hiking it (the dogs especially).

Land tour - part 2 - wild flowers

This is becoming a favorite spot already - I really like the way the rock and trees intermingle.

This is a closeup of one of those trees.

Tiny wildflowers cover parts of the trail.

These smell divine! Anyone know what they are? They smell like honeysuckle...

Kind of funny how the Lord works ... I was kind of disheartened that I would not have flower beds this year, as we will be busy digging in the dirt and building a house. On a walk last Wednesday morning, He showed me oodles and oodles of His flowers. I was reminded of His faithfulness, love and care - He can provide flowers ... and way better than I could plant them, at that!

Land tour - part 1 - view and shed

From the suggestion and inspiration of the house tour at Simply Stork, here are some pictures of our land ... no house yet :)

The first two are an attempt to capture the view, which looks better in real life. The third is progress on the shed. We are nearing completion and hope to have it finished this week.

We feel truly blessed to have found this little section of land in Alabama. We want the Lord to be glorified in all that we do with it.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Bugs and stuff

I am not sure I will ever get used to the size of the bugs here in AL ... some are nice to have big - butterflies, dragonflies, for example, I will enjoy. Most are not good to have big - mosquitoes, bees, gnats, ants and this centipede like creature. Hadden discovered it and asked if it was a snake!

OK - so naturally my next thought is ... if the insects are this big ... how big are the other critters like snakes?? We had the privilege of meeting some more neighbors who assured us that they had only seen one really BIG snake in the time that they have lived here. If I would have had the nerve to ask, I would have wanted to know exactly how BIG is BIG (given the above reference regarding bugs)? AND ... exactly how many non-BIG snakes they have seen? :)

On another note...
Saturday morning, John had to be at work, so the kids and I took advantage of the kids class at Home Depot - what great fun they had! Savannah chose to make a flower basket and Hadden chose a sail boat. They have little kits that just need assembled. We are hoping to have a chance to paint them this evening after we go for a hike to enjoy our beautiful weather. If your local Home Depot offers a kids class, I highly recommend it!

The shed roof survived the storm, and we were able to get the roof ends in yesterday. Today and tomorrow are supposed to be beautiful so I am planning to put some weatherproofing on the sides tomorrow (after it dries out some). Then, after work, we are hoping to get a couple of trim pieces put on and the felt on the roof ... maybe even the door finished.

Signing off to go for a hike!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Current progress

Shed/House progress:
The roof trusses and plywood are on now - exciting to make some progress. Building goes a LOT slower with just the four of us :) Today is stormy with tornado watch in effect, so hopefully the roof survives!

We are hoping to have the roof felt on, ends put in, sealer on and door finished before we go to PA next weekend for Jeff's wedding. John has to work this weekend, so we will just have evenings next week.

The power guy and septic installer crew were up this week, too, so it is getting exciting to think that we may soon be able to move our trailer to our property site! We chose a tentative house site where we will be able to enjoy the valley views and also watch the sunsets.

Life in general:
John is enjoying his job with each day having a new set of experiences and challenges. Please continue to pray for the Lord's wisdom for him as he encounters the difficult circumstances of these men.

Kids are doing great - they are learning to play with sticks, rocks and dirt and are loving it! They are eager to help and slow to complain which is a huge help to me, because as all Mom's know...somehow Mom is the one who hears the complaints!

I am still plugging away at my Daniel Bible study. I have 3 more weeks of homework to do, but it will likely take me 6 :) As you may have noticed, I have nothing else on my reading list - I currently have very little time to read anything but my Bible and my Bible study. Next on my list is "How-to ... electricity" and "How-to ... plumbing" and "How-to ... kitchen cabinets". All this building stuff is new to me, so I have a LOT to learn, but am looking forward to the adventure. Please pray that I remember that building is my secondary responsibility and that our precious kiddies are my primary responsibility.

Psalm 150
Praise the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.