The Day Our World Changed

It was an ordinary day and I was doing the ordinary task of sending Gary an encouraging e-mail at work. It was a day in December 2001 just months after 9-11, that day the song “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” played over and over in my head. I really had no ideas at the time how the destruction of the Twin Towers could directly affect our lives, but that song wouldn’t leave my mind. That phrase repeated itself as if the needle of my mental record player was stuck in a groove. I said it out loud to my mom on the phone:”It’s the end of the world as we know it.” She thought that was a little extreme. Extreme. We would hear that word a lot in the coming years – especially with the little suffix -ist attached to it. Islamic extremists – when we were allowed to call them that.


It’s funny, but I can still remember the e-mail I sent to Gary that day. It was from a devotional about how God works behind the scenes, and we don’t know what He’s doing, but someday He will open the curtains and reveal some wonderful plan that He has been working on for our lives. I wrote a personal line or two about how God was going to do something really good for us and to keep trusting Him and believing for things to change for the better.


Day after day I tried to encourage him that things would get better at his job, but his situation kept getting worse and worse until he swore that he was burnt out on technical writing and didn’t want to do it anymore.


He never read the e-mail I wrote that day. I had just pressed “Send” when I heard someone come in the door and I looked up and saw Gary walk in carrying a box. It was the middle of the day. Gary never came home in the middle of the day.


“What are YOU doing here?”, I asked incredulously.


“They laid me off.”

To Be Continued…

When the Going Gets Tough

Have you ever felt like things just couldn’t get any worse… and then they do?!!!

I have been through times and seasons like that.

Foreclosure, bankruptcy, betrayal, no compassion, nobody willing to help, well, one person willing to help, and then she changed her mind.

Yeah, we went through all of that. And we had 8 kids, two of them nursing babies.

But God –

He knew our hearts. He knew our inward parts. HE knew that we were only doing our best to follow Him wherever He led us.

And He took care of us during our crazy, ridiculous, scary Journey of Fire across the US into parts unknown (to us) and back to parts we were sorta familiar with and established us for a time in a place where I could be built up in faith and trust in God’s love and intimate knowledge of me.

He spoke to me in ways that convinced me that I’m special in His sight, and I’m not just one of a big flock of sheep that is not even noticeable or important or significant. Even though I received messages from the everyday happenings that conveyed the exact opposite, whenever the Lord met me and spoke to me prophetically, He told me that I was special and well-loved, and that my efforts and my life were noticed and impactful.

Well, Shawn (my oldest son) and I lived through the same things and experienced the events according to our own unique ways of seeing things, but we learned many of the same lessons and concepts through the sufferings and trials.

Join us as we discuss the faithfulness of God and His sovereign works in our hearts and lives as we went through a long period of suffering and loss and tough times and came out with our faith stronger and purer and galvanized in a way that nothing else could have accomplished.

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A Sign of Hope in Yellow Irises

In May of 2005, I had a dream. In the dream my family was walking through an empty house in the afternoon. I knew it was our house, but it did not look like it. I knew that we had to leave the house before these certain people came. We had already cleared all the rooms. We walked out to the garage which was at the front of the house (possibly facing north?). My mom pulled in to the driveway in a car. I wondered how we were all going to fit in the car (it didn’t seem that it would fit our family, it wasn’t a van or a big vehicle). I walked over to the car and opened the back door. Then I saw yellow Irises between the front seat and the back seat. They were growing from the floor of the car. I said, “What pretty yellow Irises!”. They were tall and in full bloom. Then I said, “I’m so glad we can grow flowers in our cars now, it looks so pretty”. I wondered how we would fit among all the flowers. But we all fit in without any trouble. It ended with us all sitting in the car.

It has been 10 years almost exactly since I had that dream.

I have been keeping my eye out for yellow irises ever since.

Most of the irises I see are purple, not yellow.

I was talking to my mom on the phone the other day. She mentioned in passing that my sister had brought her some yellow irises that were so pretty. She said there were so many that she asked her if she had any left. The stalks were just covered in blooms and they were really impressive. She said that people stop by my sister’s house to look at the irises because they are so striking.

The wheels started turning. I remembered my dream about the yellow irises. The only part I remembered was saying, “What pretty yellow irises” and that they were growing from the floor of the car. I told my mom I had a dream a long time ago about yellow irises, and I asked her to send me a picture of those yellow irises. Fortunately, I had written the dream in a notebook, so I was able to look it up and get the rest of the details.


Here is the picture she sent.


She also sent this picture of Dad with the yellow irises.

(You might remember that my Dad had a stroke 2 months ago. Well, he has recovered very well and is able to do almost everything he could do before! Praise the Lord! God has been very faithful and merciful to us.)

At the time I had that dream, we had just been foreclosed and had left our house. It was a very scary, terrible time for us. We were feeling lost and devastated and very confused.

We wanted something good to happen to change everything and reverse all of our misfortunes right then.

Since then we have experienced some more trials and troubles, but also lots of wonderful things.

We have moved 5 times. We have lived in 4 different states since we left Ohio. We left behind everything and everybody that we knew.

For the last 3 years we have experienced very difficult times just trying to survive financially.

We have been praying fervently for a home and land of our own for the last 10 years, and especially since we got here in Texas 3 years ago. I started sowing into Kim Clement’s ministry with the prayer request that we would have our own home and land while we still lived in York, PA, so it has been more like 5 years.

Well, now I believe the sign of the yellow irises has come to pass.

I’m not sure what it means exactly, but I believe that it means that we are about to have a “suddenly”.

I do know that in dreams the color yellow signifies “hope or mind”. And flowers signify “a fresh beginning, passing of the old”. We get most of our dream interpretation help from John Paul Jackson because we know he was a true Christian and only got his information from God and the Bible and not other sources.

Perhaps the dream was to give me hope that a fresh beginning is about to happen for us.

And the timing of Mom and Dad getting those yellow irises is to tell me that it is going to happen now.

Of course, I hope the timing is now. With God, we know that our timing is different from His, but I believe that He is letting me know through the dream and its fulfillment and other words and happenings that the time is very soon that we will experience a big change in circumstance and will get our own land and our own home.

In the meantime, I’m praying in hope and expectation and excitement that God is going to answer our prayers very soon.

I am trusting Him and listening for His voice, renewing my mind and drawing close to Him.

I’m believing for the hundredfold since we left behind everything that we knew.

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. Matthew 19:29

With great excitement and anticipation!

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!

Thanksgiving Seven Years Ago: A Season of Miracles

The previous post reminded me of so many miracles that God did for us just while we were in Colorado Springs in November of 2005 that I knew I needed to record them here.

We left Arizona because the Lord let us know that Arizona was not really the land of our dreams after all. We had been staying at a ritzy hotel for $50 a night, but we could feel that our time there was coming to a close. Fiona became so sick that she couldn’t breathe through her nose, so she couldn’t nurse. She was coughing. She was feverish. I didn’t know where to take her or what to do for her. I just knew we had to leave Arizona. So we called Pastor Bill Wisener and told him we were leaving Arizona and heading back to Colorado. He said that he already knew that. He told us to go to Colorado Springs and he would make some phone calls to try to get us hooked up with a ministry there. As soon as we started driving out of Arizona, Fiona started feeling better and was able to nurse, and all of the symptoms disappeared!

We picked up a guy in New Mexico whose truck was sitting by the side of the highway and took him to a gas station. We were stuffed to the gills in that van, but our attitude was “God helps us whenever we are in need, so if we see someone in need, we will do whatever we can to help them”.

His name was John, and he was quite a character. He was trying to get to New Orleans to help with the clean-up efforts after Hurricane Katrina. He didn’t have much money, or anything else, but he was always willing to go help others. He cussed like a sailor and drank, but he had a heart of gold.

We took him back to his truck, and he was so grateful for what we did for him. He kept thanking us and shaking his head about how full our van was, but we still stopped to pick him up.

Then we drove on to Colorado Springs. We stopped at a hotel when we got there, and went in to check in. Something didn’t feel right there, so we left and Shawn found a Days Inn in our coupon book that he said God was telling us to go to. The price was good, so we went there instead. Gary went in to check us in, and who do you think he found there at the desk. John! The guy we had picked up in New Mexico. He was checking in to the same hotel!

We were shocked and amazed! He came out and greeted the rest of us like we were old friends. He would have helped us pay for a hotel room, but we didn’t want anything from him.

We stayed in that hotel for a couple of weeks. We got to know the head clerk really well. She would talk with us each time we came down to get more towels or when we left to go somewhere or when we came down to eat our continental breakfast. Her name was Sharon Followill. She knew our story and why we were there.

She was amazed that we were friends with John. He was such a salty character, and she knew that we were very clean and trying to live a godly, pure life. She also knew that we were running out of money. We paid our bill, but our account was almost dry and we had no way of getting any more money. She asked us every day if we had found a place to stay or a job or if anything miraculous had happened yet. It hadn’t.

One day, we went to visit Focus on the Family. The kids loved it there. They sang and danced on the stage. They went down the big slide. They went through all of the exhibit rooms. I had always listened to Focus on the Family, and we all listened to Adventures in Odyssey, so it was a really neat place for us to visit. We went to Whit’s End and got the cheapest things on the menu just so we could say we ate there.

The kids were having fun, but Gary and I were feeling pretty down. We knew that we were not going to be able to pay for another week in the Days Inn. We didn’t know what we were supposed to do next. We had tried to ask the Red Cross and United Way and other government agencies to help us find a place to stay, but they wouldn’t help us. Somehow we didn’t qualify for their assistance. One of them had a waiting list and didn’t think they would have anything ready for another month or two. John was trying to help. He tried to go fight in a “Tough Man contest” to make some money for us, but he couldn’t find the place where it was happening.

So I was feeling down and sitting in a chair just watching the kids sing and dance on the stage in the Adventures in Odyssey play area when a young lady started talking with me. She had her little boys there, too. She lived there in Colorado Springs. Her name was Pennie, too! Spelled differently, of course. I told her a little bit of our story, and she got all excited. She called her two friends over to listen to what I was saying. They were so impressed by our faith in God and the way our children were learning how real God is because they saw God provide our every need every day. They wanted the same thing for their children. They gave me their names and phone numbers. I gave them Gary’s cell phone number. They told me to call them if we needed anything and said they wanted to help us.

Well, the day came that we had to check out of the hotel. Our money had run out. Sharon Followill was so worried about us.

She asked what we were going to do – where we were going to go. We had no idea. We got into the van and headed for a park to pray.

As we were approaching the park, about to turn in, Gary’s phone rang. A man told Gary that Shampa (a woman we met at Dutch Sheets’ church) had told him about us and he wanted to meet us. So we turned around and went to the address he told us to meet him at. It was a bank. He met us in the parking lot and talked with Gary for a while. His name was Burt. He had his wife with him. I was sitting in the back of the van, so I couldn’t hear much of what was going on.

(I rode in the back of the van with Morgan the whole trip to Arizona and back to Kansas City to keep Morgan out of everybody’s hair and to keep them all from killing him. I literally saved his life. He was only 4 years old, and he was very obnoxious.)

Burt and his wife told Gary that they knew what it was like to lose a house. They had lost two houses in the past. They knew that God sometimes lets things like that happen to people because He has some things to teach them. They didn’t judge us or deem us unworthy of their help because we were poor and seemed to be under God’s judgment or a curse or had been foolish or something, like other Christians along the way had. Burt gave Gary a check for $500 and went into the bank with us to make sure that they would cash it for us. It was his bank, so we didn’t have any trouble. Now we had money again! We went back and checked in to the same Days Inn. Sharon Followill was so happy to see us. She was amazed at how God had provided for us.

Burt had told us to go to his ministry headquarters to get some coats and stuff since the weather was getting colder. It was November by this time.

We had left Ohio on September 4, 2005. We arrived in Kansas City about 3 days later. We stayed in a house that was pretty well empty for a month. But it was for free, and we were very thankful to Connie for letting us stay there. We left there during the first week of October. We drove to Colorado, on our way to Arizona. We had met Risa Lind at IHOP in Kansas City. Before we left, she gave me the phone number of a pastor in Limon, Colorado. As we approached Colorado, I called Pastor Bill Wisener and left him a message. I asked him if we could stay in his church for the night. A little later he called me back and he said he had everything ready for us. He told us where to go. We did, and it was a hotel in town, and he had already paid for two rooms for us.

He also invited us to his church the next morning. We went there, and he had the whole church pray over our family. He talked with us and prophesied to us. He seemed to know us before we ever opened our mouths. He greatly encouraged Shawn. He told Gary that God was leading us, and we were in His will. He told me something that I just could not tell Gary. He said that Arizona was not really the land of our dreams like we were expecting. I just stared at him. I said, “I’m not telling Gary that.” He said, “You don’t need to. Just go on to Arizona and see what happens. God will take care of you. But that’s not where Gary will find what he’s looking for.” So I kept these things in my heart and pondered them.

We went on to Arizona. We were there through the month of October into November. Then the thing happened with Fiona getting sick, and we knew by this time that Arizona was not the place for us after all.

Now we’re back to the time that I started this post with – the month of November 2005.

So we had met Burt and he gave us $500 and some coats for the kids and me.

We were able to stay at the Days Inn for another week.

But then we ran out of money again.

Gary went to check out of the hotel for the last time, and Sharon was really worried now. She kept asking him what we were going to do. We didn’t know this time any more than we did the first time. We told her not to worry, that God would take care of us, and we left the hotel. As we were driving Gary saw that he had a voice mail on his phone. It was from one of the young women we had met at Focus on the Family. She wanted us to come and stay with her family at their apartment! She had 3 young boys and a husband in a 2-bedroom apartment and was inviting us to stay with them! We didn’t have any choice, so we drove to her apartment. She was so gracious to us. They made us very comfortable and treated us like honored guests. She told us that one of the other young ladies we had met at Focus on the Family wanted us to come over for a Thanksgiving dinner. So we went to Gina’s apartment the next day and ate a delicious meal of turkey with all the trimmings! We were overwhelmed with the way God was taking care of us through these people we had just met. That afternoon, Gary found another voice mail on his cell phone. Sharon Followill had been praying for us to find a place to stay, and every time she prayed, she kept seeing her own house. So she asked us to come and stay at her house! So we drove to her address, and her family welcomed us like long-lost friends and treated us like family and let us stay at their house for two weeks. It was a 4-bedroom house, and we had the house to ourselves most of the time because Sharon and her husband worked during the day and their sons went to school. Somebody gave them money to use for us, so she bought a bunch of food at the store so that we ate well the whole time we were there, and I made a big Thanksgiving dinner for all of us. But the time was closing on this leg of our journey. They had to leave to go to Texas to visit family for Thanksgiving, and we couldn’t keep staying in their house because they were renting the house. Otherwise, I think they would have let us keep staying there. But we knew it was time for us to leave. There was only one problem. Well, two actually. The van was almost out of gas, and we had no money. We prayed. The day before they were planning to leave, we got a card from Risa Lind with $25 in it. Gary called Pastor Bill in Limon, Colorado and told him we were coming. Pastor Bill said he knew we were and had already made arrangements at the same hotel we stayed in before. That night, my friend Shari called us and told us she wanted to send us money and asked for an address to send it to. I gave her Connie’s address since we knew we were headed back to Kansas City. We left the Followill’s the next morning with our van packed even fuller than before. Someone who stayed at the Days Inn had given us all kinds of brand new clothes and toys and stuff. Katie laid on top of a big pile in the very back and the rest of us scrunched into the rest of the van.

We stayed in Limon, Colorado that night, and Pastor Bill met us at the hotel (which he had paid for our rooms in again) and prophesied to us and prayed over us again and gave us all the money he could scrape up. It was enough to pay for gas and food to get us back to Kansas City.

This is just a brief summary of the many miracles God did for us just during one month of our Journey of Fire. The month of November 2005 in Colorado Springs, Colorado – exactly seven years ago.

God provided exactly what we needed at exactly the time we needed it moment by moment! At the time, it was very scary and hard to enjoy. But now I look back in amazement and gratefulness for the way He took care of us and passed us along from one of His children to another to make sure that our needs were met.

He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He never changes. He is still taking good care of us.

He has good plans for us.

He has good plans for you, too. Put Him first in your life. Put His word and His will above everything else. Only do what He tells you to do. Obey the Law of Love. And then, whether by miracles or by natural means, He will take care of you and your family.

There’s no need to worry or fret. God will take care of you. I guarantee it.