Friday, March 21, 2008

Praising God causes burnt soup!!!! ;-)

Yes, it really does!! Especially if you're me!!
I had been trying really hard not to stress about the finances. Jeff's employer announced there would be no more approved overtime. Apparently, the employees had been abusing the privilege of overtime and caused the company a lot of expense. So in an effort to scale down the paychecks (betcha these people didn't work during regular hours, just after hours because the pay is pay and a half!!), no more overtime. Jeff, of course, isn't a slacker during regular hours, but he'd stay after to help the other departments get their work done (his would already be done before closing time). This gave us an additional average of $500 a month which was really nice, especially since we have TWO car payments for the first time in 11 years, spend money taking David to PT twice a week, and have to purchase a passport for Stephen, pay back a loan, etc. This was taking a toll on me, but I didn't tell anyone about it. I just repeatedly told God I didn't know what to do.
Today, I started some tomato soup. It was all that I had on a shelf in an almost-empty cupboard. I was stressing a bit over what I could possibly serve my family for meals all weekend. I prayed that somehow we'd get some food, and fast! Peanut Butter and Jelly can only last so long. While my soup was warming on the stovetop, I ran out to get the mail. I came back in with a quizzical piece of mail from our mortgage company. I thought, "Oh great! What do we owe now??" Actually, I was pretty sure it was a notice that the company was being bought out by a more stable company or something. No, inside that envelope was an answer to prayer. Like a reward for my patience (yay! I'm virtuous after all!!). Seems there was a huge overpay on our escrow so we were reaping the excess in the form of a refund. The beauty of it all is that the check is in the EXACT amount of every penny I'm short to complete the financial commitments from now until next payday! If that's not God in all His goodness, strike me with lightning!! Tears flowing freely down my face, it was all I could do to drop to my knees in extreme gratitude. So extreme, that I stayed down there for quite a while, much to the confusion of my 3 children in the room. First thing I did when I got up off my knees is text Jeff and tell him there was a huge PTL he was going to love. He asked for details so I shared. He was so happy (I knew he would be). So, immediately, I'm online to double-check the budget and figure this thing out. I decided I would go right away and deposit it. So I'm walking through the kitchen and smell something funny. SOUP! Not just soup, but BURNED TOMATO SOUP!!!!!!!!!!!! I have NEVER burned soup before!!! LOL! I had this stuff bubbling over and I'm guessing 1/3 of it was gone by the time I remembered it. I have no clue how much time had passed since I put it on the stove, but wow! Haha. So that was my lunch...burned tomato soup...and my reward afterwards is cleaning that monster of a mess that bubbling over made on my recently-shined stovetop!
But strangely enough, I don't care. If I have to eat burned soup and clean up a big mess requiring a lot of elbow grease just because I took the time to Praise my Jesus, I'll do it! I'll do it over and over, in fact.
So that's how I learned that Praising God causes burnt tomato soup! LOL
But I'm so blessed, so thankful, and so astounded that He loves me that much! Why??? I will never know here on this earth, but I'm glad He does! :)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Minnie

We got Minnie from a shelter when she was just a few weeks old. We got her sister, Daisy, first, then a week later, the lady at the shelter contacted us and asked us to take Minnie too. It was a 2 hour trip to get the dogs, but well worth it. They're chihuahua/terrier mixes. Daisy takes after her dad (white chihuahua) and Minnie takes after her mom (terrier mix). When they were really small, they stayed indoors in a crate and we took them out often. We couldn't leave them unsupervised, even in the kennel outside, because they were small enough to squeeze through the chain link fence. After they grew a little, we would put them in the kennel when we were gone and in the crate indoors overnight (time inbetween, we spent with them).
One day, we were getting ready to leave and put them in the kennel and Stephen thought it would be funny to make them pretend to climb out, so he grabs them and moves their paws as if they're climbing. Just a few incidents of this and Minnie was doing it on her own. At the time, the kennel was 6 ft high, so we didn't worry about it too much, but as she grew and got stronger, she climbed higher.
This is the result. Minnie has now been doing this for about 2 years (the dogs are 3 years old) She climbs the 4 ft yard fence to come out and "guard" our front porch or to interact with people (us or my parents who live next door). When she feels threatened or gets hungry, she climbs back into the backyard. We have seen a huge dog go after her and her speed and ability to get into that yard quick is shocking. She has caused one dog that I know of to smash head-first into the fence because she got up it before the dog could stop running. LOL
Anyway, I love this video. I took it recently. Daisy is the one jumping. Daisy will try to grab Minnie's hind legs and pull her back into the yard. Sometimes she succeeds, most times, she doesn't! LOL
For this particular shot, we actually had to coax her out with a treat, thus you'll see the 2 younger kids (or rather, body parts of them! LOL).


video

Packing the Days

So, it's been well over a month since my last post. Why? Well, here's a "short" list:

1. "Grease" Musical at the high school (Stephen involved)
2. Orthodontist Appointments (David)
3. Dance 5 days a week, every week and still going on (Jennifer)
4. T-Ball practices (Matthew)
5. Talent Show (Jennifer)
6. Valentine's Party (Jennifer)
7. Surgeon follow-ups (David)
8. Physical Therapy appointments (David)
9. Social Security appointment (Pam)
10. Dr. Appointment (Jennifer)
11. Church-wide Garage Sale (Stephen & David)
12. Baseball opening day & BBQ (Matthew)
13. Home Depot Grand Opening (Stephen)
14. Spring Break (All kids)
15. Mommy's get-away alone!!! (Pam, of course!)
16. Sewing props for dance (Pam, for Jennifer)
17. "Normal" stuff (cleaning house, laundry, yard work, board games, etc.)

Ok, so the list doesn't seem exactly "short"....believe me, compared to my complete calendar, that is super-short!!!! :)

I have learned a LOT in the past month since last posting...

1. God is good.
2. I am blessed.
3. My family is awesome.
4. I am thankful.

So, I already knew that. Still, it's nice to put it in written form and dwell on it. God IS good....ALL the time! Even when I'm $257 short in the bank and the bill is due yesterday. Even when I finish what I think is the last chair cover for the dance group and go to put it on the chair only to realize I sewed the wrong pieces together and it's twice the width it should be. Even when I'm curled up on the sofa with a homemade heating pack on my abdomen, covers over my feet, 82 degrees outside, and I want to die from cramping pain. See, God doesn't cause those "bad" things. People do. Namely ourselves. God gives us everything we need to accomplish tasks, but it's up to us to use the supplies, time, energy, etc. wisely.
If I'm short in the bank account, I probably misspent money. Really, how many Happy meals does one 4 year old need in a month?? How many joyrides does a 17 year old really need in a month when gas prices just about surpass the cost of buying the car?? Yeah, we all make stupid mistakes like that. But that's ok. God still loves us. He's still good....ALL the time! :)
They say patience is a virtue. Well, if I were virtuous when I sewed that last chair cover together, I'd have realized I picked up the wrong piece of fabric and I would have taken the time to get the correct piece before I attempted to sew away. I made a mistake. But God still loves me, and He's still good....ALL the time! :) So, I'm laying on the sofa complaining how much my stomach and back hurt from cramping and it never occured to me until much later that I had previously (translation: 3 days before) prayed for the time to just sit and do nothing. If I hadn't been so wrapped up in "poor me" at the moment, I probably would have remembered that God was right there waiting for me to ask for comfort. He presented the opportunity for me to have a valid excuse to lay around for a day and rest, and what did I do? I don't think He caused the pain....Eve did (grin)....but He did allow the opportunity. So, I made the mistake of shutting Him out and prolonged the pain, but He's still good....ALL the time.
We get so wrapped up and busy in this world these days, we forget where we came from and we forget what's really important. It isn't going to matter in 30 years that I didn't have a lot of cash in the bank one month. It isn't going to matter in 25 years that I sewed those covers for the company dance props. It doesn't matter right now that yesterday I stayed on the sofa all day. Nobody cares about that stuff in the long run, and when we go to Heaven, I doubt we're going to be sitting around discussing that day on earth when.... Nah...we'll be sooo busy hanging around that Glorious Throne singing those neverending "Hallelujah"'s.
So why do we get wrapped up in "busy-ness"??? Simply this: Because we're human and we have these teeny-tiny capsules called "minds" that are barely a fraction of the big picture. We don't understand it until much later. Just like children.
I'm sooooo glad that I have a Father who is good ALL the time. He doesn't give up on me, He doesn't lose patience with me (something I will NEVER understand!!!), He doesn't stop loving me, and He constantly places things in my path that serve to better me, painful or not.
It's been a month of craziness, but it's been good craziness. I've had my kids and husband around me, and I've gotten to watch my children involved in their activities. They're all so talented. They make me smile.
And my get-away....yeah...that's another post!!! :)