Another Christmas in Jeopardy

Did I hear him right? Did this really just happen? Again?

We were just getting caught up from the 9 months of unemployment before he landed this job. We finally got to the place where I felt free to buy a few things besides absolute essentials. And maybe a few Christmas gifts for the kids.

Now he calls and tells me that the company let him go. Two weeks before Christmas.

I can’t believe this is happening.

But it’s not a joke. He wouldn’t joke about something like this.

Now instead of proceeding with plans of buying gifts for Christmas and health supplements that I’ve been putting off buying until our bills were paid off, I have a finite amount of money that I will have to be very careful with until we know where our next money will come from. And I was going to buy new clothes for the daughter who wears the same tattered skirt every day. I wanted her to look nice in the family picture I wanted to have taken. Oh well, who am I to make plans.

discouraged woman

But I’m not depressed. I’m not discouraged. I’m a little thrown off, but I’m not worried. I’m actually happy and at peace. Why? Because I know that God has something better planned for us. And my husband is taking this well. He is not depressed or discouraged, either. He is not angry. He knows that God will take care of us. He knows that God has something really good in store for us – something better than the job he just lost.

This time is different. When he lost his first Texas job last November, he took to the computer and stayed on it for 9 months trying to make something happen. He got his second Texas job at the end of that 9 month period because of a contact that our son’s boss made for him. It didn’t come from any of the work he did on the computer.

So now he’s convinced that it’s all in God’s hands, and he can’t force anything to happen.

Twelve years ago, we gave our lives completely to God and made the commitment that we wouldn’t do anything unless He told us to.

And I prayed a dangerous prayer. I prayed for a Baptism of Fire. Neither of us wanted to live a mediocre life. Gary didn’t want to just go to a job every day and come home, eat, sleep and do the same thing the next day. We read in the Bible that signs and wonders are to follow those who believe.

We wanted to be able to move in the power and leading of the Holy Spirit. I just knew that the only way we could be made fit for such a life was to experience a Baptism of Fire. So I asked for that.

Twelve years later, I can tell you that I believe in the supernatural power of God in a way now that I only thought I believed back then. I have seen God do miracles for us that I would never have believed He would do for little ole me. He has revealed His great love for me personally in a way that has changed the way I see myself, Him and others.

He sustained us in our own house in Ohio for 4 years with no income. Then He allowed us to lose our house so that we had to move to an even higher level of faith and trust Him in a faraway place – Arizona – where we were strangers with little money and no income. Then He led us to a place of great spiritual warfare, IHOP-KC, and allowed us to camp there for a while (3 years) with a minimum of stability and supply.

Through all of this He gave us encouraging words, gifts of money and necessities through His people who heard His voice. At one point, as we were transitioning from abject poverty to a fairly comfortable lifestyle, He blessed us with $20,000 from a totally unexpected source – a couple at IHOP who seemed to be worse off financially than we were!

They were sowing for us to have our own home. But they said that they knew that things come up so they told us to feel at liberty to use it for whatever we needed it for. My kids needed dental work, so a good portion of that money went to that. Then we ended up moving from one house to another and then one state to another, and now that nest egg is all gone.

But we know that God has bigger things than that in store for us. He has given us big dreams.

So we are not downcast.

When Gary first called and told me he lost his job, I wrote the first entry in my new planner – “Gary lost his job today. It’s a new day”. So far that is all that’s written in my planner.

We’ve been through worse before. And God has been more than faithful. He has refined and purified our faith.

Why should we be downcast?

Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.

Arise, shine;
For your light has come!
And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.
2 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
And deep darkness the people;
But the Lord will arise over you,
And His glory will be seen upon you.

I have HOPE this Christmas. And JOY!

He is answering our prayers.

And I’ve prayed some doozies!

Have You Ever Seen Polish Pottery?

My friends have a business called Dove’s Nest. They have many, many fine gifts and home decor in their Ebay store.

They have many pieces of Polish Pottery. They are so pretty. Lots of blue in them!

Here are just a few of them.

Here is what they say about the Polish Pottery on their website:

“BOLESLAWIEC Zaklady Polish Pottery: Ceramic. Most of this pottery is made from a potters wheel and hand painted. The workmanship that goes into this pottery is remarkable. Each piece is individually cared for by expert craftsman. This pottery is microwave safe, oven safe, and dishwasher safe. It is cadmium and lead free. We buy first quality.”

I know the pottery is authentic because they took a trip to Poland to get it! They went to Poland to visit Shari’s sister and brother-in-law who were missionaries there.

In their store, John and Shari also carry many items that would make perfect Christmas presents.

From their website:

“Welcome to Doves Nest Gifts & Home Accessories. A place where you can find that unique item for a birthday, wedding, anniversary, graduation or simply a special gift. We carry glassware, figurines, plaques, frames, pictures, Polish pottery, and many other items. We can also dress your house in style!”

John and Shari are friends of mine from college. We met at Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, and Shari and I became roommates the semester before she and John got married. We have stayed close all these years and have been through a lot together.

They are very dependable and trustworthy, and I know they would treat you right if you ordered anything from them.

They have 100% positive feedback on Ebay.

They are a homeschooling family with 3 children.

I know it would bless them immensely if some of you would shop their store and see if there are some gifts for that hard-to-buy-for person on your Christmas list.

They carry so many different items, you just have to go to their store page on Ebay and look around. I’m sure you will find something that you just have to have!

These are all high quality, fine products that you would be proud to give to anyone.

They also have fine ornaments for the Christmas tree and other Christmas decorations.

So, please, go check out Dove’s Nest on Ebay. And tell them Penney sent you!

A Day in the Life

This is the life!

I’m just sitting here at my laptop soaking up information and knowledge, and I hear out of the corner of my ear, “Oh, I’m all tangled up in these beads. A little help here?!!!”

I look over and this is what I see.

100_1820

100_1823

Then later this evening, Abby and Emma find rubber gloves in the kitchen. They are instantly transformed into scientists doing experiments. I was making popcorn for them, so their first experiment (which they called experience) was to see what happens when you pop popcorn.

They were so surprised to see this.

100_1837

100_1826

100_1825

We actually did have a little bit of learning happen. Abby learned how to put gloves on. She was preoccupied the whole time with trying to get her gloves to stay on her hands. I was getting impatient with her for paying so much attention to her floppy gloves while I was trying to take cute pictures of them. When I stopped to examine her gloves, I found that she had them on the wrong hands! We put them on the right hands, and then I instructed her how to put one finger in each hole. She was much happier after that.

Then she made an observation about how solid the butter looked before I put it in the microwave to melt it for their popcorn. So I capitalized on that and said that it wouldn’t look solid for long. Then I showed it to her after it melted and asked her what it looked like now, and she said it looked melted. I gave her the term “liquid”, and she said, “yes, it looks like a liquid”. So we talked about how butter is a solid when it is cold and a liquid when it is hot. Not bad for a totally unplanned Science lesson! And it all started with making popcorn and finding rubber gloves!

Christmas Surprises – Good and Bad

100B1240

100_1590

100_1764

100_1800

List of Christmas surprises in the last couple of days:

I got some inspiration from friends on Facebook for hanging the snowflakes.

Kelsey did a lot of decorating on her own.

We got a real Christmas tree for the first time in 10 years.

We put lights outside for Christmas for the first time ever!

Gary lost his job today.

BUT we know that God has a plan, and we are still walking in His blessing, no matter how it looks. So we are asking for prayer for direction and open doors again.

Thank you for praying with us.

Please pray in faith, not in fear, because we know that whatever comes out of fear is not of faith. And we know that God honors faith-filled prayers. We show Him that we trust Him when we pray with expectancy that He will answer us.

I will let you know so you can rejoice with us in the wonders that God is going to perform for us in the coming weeks.

Merry Christmas!

Gary said that all of the decorations have lifted his heart and given him hope. He is doing very well in spite of the news he got today. Praise the Lord!

I Want to Be So Far Gone in You

I heard this on the radio on the way home from taking Patrick to work this morning. Driving in Houston and its environs can be stressful, and it used to be really hard on me. I’ve been taking Patrick to work for 3 months now, and I’m finally becoming a little less tense in the crazy traffic. Today on the way home, I was able to listen to Air 1 and just enjoy the music.

When this song came on, I just started to worship the Lord. I didn’t care who was around or what was going on around me. It was a beautiful experience.

So I wanted to share it with you. When I looked it up based on the words I could remember, I couldn’t believe it was by Thousand Foot Krutch! I didn’t know they did any songs that sounded like this. I lean to the softer side of Christian Rock. And their album covers have looked kind of scary to me. But this song is a wonderful worship song. And I listened to a few more of their songs that I liked, too. You learn something new every day.

Speaking of Patrick…

Patrick is doing so well at his job at Family Dollar that the district managers were talking about how great he is with customers and how he always shows up on time and works really hard, and his managers told him about the conference call and what the higher-ups were saying about him. It was so encouraging and heartwarming to hear about his success and that he is thought of so highly by the management. They know his name, and they are expecting big things from him. His managers were proud of him, too. I was bursting with pride and thanksgiving to God for giving Patrick such favor with God and man. I pray for him every time I drop him off at work. He felt like he had a rough start, but things are going great now. And he is showing good character and a strong work ethic. He went in to apply as soon as he turned 18. He actually went in on his birthday and told them he was ready to get his job! And he got it! When they talk about how great he is doing, I tell him to make sure they know that he was homeschooled. He said that he always does. He is representing homeschoolers very well. And I’m so pleased.

He has been working there for 3 months now. He is saving up for a car of his own. He has goals and plans and is being very responsible with the money he is making. I am very proud of the way he is making the transition into adulthood and taking care of his own affairs.

On the way home from work today (he only worked until 1:00 today) he felt the sun and the breeze and decided he wanted to do something outside, so he and I got stuff for a picnic and swept everyone off who was well enough to go to the park for a picnic. Several of us got sick the week of Thanksgiving. Some are still recovering. Everybody went on the picnic today except for Gary, Katie and Kelsey.

It is Dec. 3, but it was about 80 degrees this afternoon. We had some problems with bees and mosquitoes, but we still had a good time. The highlight for some of the kids was feeding the ducks. They mainly did it to lead the ducks away from our table so we could eat in peace, but they ended up having fun feeding the ducks.

078

081

082

So in spite of some sickness, we are blessed and increasing and rejoicing in the Lord.