Thursday, September 25, 2008

Famine to Fairytale - Women's Bible Study

Starting Friday, Oct 3, I will be doing a Women's Bible Study entitled "Famine to Fairytale" (Gene & Elaine Getz). It is a study of Ruth and Naomi and their path to redemption. The study is from the Women of Purpose series which highlights ordinary women God used in extraordinary ways. Any ordinary women out there dreaming of extraordinary things? :-) Pick me, pick me!

Here is a paragraph from the back of the book....

Both incredible women, the intertwined stories of Ruth and Naomi teach us so much about how God can bring incredible joy out of tragic circumstances. From the opening scene in the book of Ruth, filled with famine and tragedy, to the almost fairytale ending, we see the real life struggles. Real life is messy, and these women are far from perfect. Yet, their faith and devotion through the pain and tragedy of life led each to experience unexpected joys, and the blessings that God was longing to give them. In the same way, God has unexpected joys for each of us today!

The bible study is only 6 weeks long so shouldn't be that hard to complete (even for those of us who have a hard time staying on task and FINISHING things!!). :-) If you can't attend the meetings at my house, but would like to get a book and follow along with us, let me know! Each lesson has icebreakers and/or a craft (and you know I LOVE crafts!), so hopefully we'll learn some things AND have some fun! And of course, you know I'll be posting pics. :-) It will be a great opportunity to get to know not only Ruth and Naomi, but each other and perhaps discover some things about our own selves!

So let me know if you are interested! I'll post an update before our first gathering.

Changing the subject a know those moments where you just feel soooo close to God? Like He's right there with His arms wrapped around you? Like your heart is going to explode because it's so full and you can't stop smiling? This morning while driving into town was one of those moments for me. As I was enjoying the beautiful, beautiful Fall weather, it was almost like I felt Him get in my car with me! Thank you, God, for allowing me to feel your presence today. Thank you for spending this morning with me. And help me to know beyond a shadow of a doubt, even when I can't feel your presence, that You are with me. And thank you for FALL!!! I know heaven must be like this. :-)

Have a beautiful day!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Final Hurricane Update! (hopefully!!)

I am late in posting this, but we had our electricity restored Saturday evening. So only 8 days without power! We are definitely blessed, it could've been a lot worse! The guys working on the lines worked so hard for us! But there are still people here without power and of course, all of those who lost their homes and loved ones. I'm not sure when the island will be open for the public. From what Ihave heard and the pictures I've seen, there is not a lot left in many areas there. It will take a while to rebuild, but I know they will. All we had was a big mess in our yard to clean up. Shawn finally paid a couple of his guys to come over this weekend and help finish. Here are a couple of before and after pics of our front yard:

before the storm
after the storm
before the storm
After - You can see the corner of our house in this one. So glad the tree fell away from us!!

Beginning the clean up....

I had to show this picture - this is part of my living room - notice the extension cords running through the middle of the floor? When we got home, Shawn was set up in the camper in the front yard with the generator hooked up - all he had hooked up was the refrigerator and the TV with the Directv (which explains the cords!!). I was like, you have to be kidding me!! As long as he had cold food and satelite, I guess he thought he was doing ok!

And this was our temporary home for a couple of nights! The generator was sitting on the four wheeler because we had to keep taking it from the water well to our house! We stayed in the camper just to have hot showers and also it had a propane stove to cook on.

We attemped to take a walk/ride to the river behind our house, but found the road cluttered with downed trees and fallen limbs, plus the river flooded the back half of our property so this was as far as we made it!

I also wanted to include these last 2 pictures of some of the beautiful skies we got to enjoy while at my sisters in the hill country!

After every storm, a new hope shines through. Sometimes the end of one thing can be a beautiful beginning to another. I pray for beautiful new beginnings and hope for all those who lost so much during this time.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

**Wednesday Update**

We made home with little drama late yesterday evening. We left my sisters about 1:00 pm and headed to McDonald's for lunch! We then ventured to their local WalMart to stock up on some canned items and basic necessities. My brother in law also let me take his extra large cooler to fill up with ice and cold food items (lunch meat, milk, etc). At the checkout, we were told that there was no ice! I knew my cold food would not fare well on the trip home without ice. So I desperately said a small "please God" under my breath and as we were walking out the door we saw 3 bags that had just dropped from the machine! So Taylor grabbed them and I went to pay! Coincidence? Good timing? Whatever.....God is good :-) The challenge now was fitting everything into my Tahoe! It was already filled with the ice chest, blankets, pillows, luggage, and kids! But my kids were so great, putting potatoes and cases of water under their feet and helping me to organize everything to make it fit! So we began our journey home.

To keep this long 6 hour trip (normally 3.5 hours) short, I will spare some minor details. :-) The trip did end up taking a few hours longer. There was not really a lot of traffic, but electricity was of course still out all along our route home, so none of the traffic lights were working. This meant treating them all as a 4 way stop and even when there's not a lot of traffic, things can back up quickly. So we rolled our windows down and turned up our music and enjoyed the nice, cool breeze that God sent our way to replace our air conditioners! Coincidence? Good timing? Whatever....God is good :-)

As we traveled, there were a lot of trees down, signs blown over, tin roofs lifted in spots, but nothing like we are seeing on the news for Galveston, of course. (The kids took pics of the long gas lines, etc, I'll try to post another day.) All in all, we are so blessed. When we arrived at home, some cleanup had already begun, but our yard was still such a mess. There is a huge oak tree across our driveway and lots of big limbs down. But we were told yesterday by a sheriff that we could not burn anything yet so we'll just have to pile it for now.Shawn pulled the camper next to house and hooked it up to the generator. We stayed the night in it last night because the windows are still boarded up, but tonight we will stay in the house. We'll have to take showers in the camper (if we want hot showers, and I do!), and also cook in the camper on the propane stove. Our house is all electric, and the generator won't run everything at once. So we'll just live between the 2 for now! Oh, and my sister said that she saw on the Internet yesterday that we will have power restored by October 5. What????? Yikes.

Is it true we are only 2 days away from Fall???? This is my most favorite time of the year. I can't wait to buy some colorful mums for my porch and make a new wreath for my door, but for now, I'm going to have my 2nd cup of coffee. Have a wonderful blessed day!!!(I'm not editing this since they are turning the generator off for now, so be forgiving!!)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Another Update

Today is Tuesday and we are still not home. Still no gas, no food supply, and no electricity! But we are going to head for home in the morning anyway. The kids are so homesick and ready to go! So today we will pack, go buy some food to take home, fill the ice chest, and fill up our gas tank! Hopefully we can get going about 6:00 am to avoid some traffic!

Here is a pic of our front yard that Shawn sent to my phone after the hurricane. You can see a tree down, lots of limbs and our windows all boarded up with plywood!

Off to prepare for our camping trip! :-)

Monday, September 15, 2008

**Hurricane Update**

Saturday hurricane Ike kept inching closer and closer to us so about 3:00 pm we decided to evacuate. By 3:45 we were packed and in the car! We went to my sisters house in the hill country near San Antonio. Shawn stayed behind at a friends house so that he would be able to check on our homes asap and also be available to work. We waited anxiously for news on our home as reports of damage and destruction kept flowing in from the news, text messages and phone calls. Finally, Shawn was able to reach our property to find our home in tact! We had trees and debris down in the yard, but no major damage to our home, just a lot of clean up. We are very blessed. A lot of our friends and family were not so lucky, having trees through their homes, roofs torn off, businesses destroyed, etc. I cannot imagine living in Galveston right now, they need a lot of prayer. We also have some friends in Baytown whose church received major damage. I was told last night that there is a possibility our electricity will be out for 2 weeks to a month. And with us living on the outskirts of the city limit, we are usually some of the last to have it restored. With hurricane Rita, we were without electricity for 2 weeks. Also no school of course for this week, and we find out Friday if there will be any next week. And with the outages and shortages of gas, it will be hard to continue running the generators. Hopefully we will be getting gas in the next couple of days. The kids and I are still in San Antonio. They are asking that Texas evacuees not return until Tuesday. So we plan to hang out here again today and leave early in the morning. Hopefully we can leave early enough that traffic will not be too terrible. I plan to shop for food before leaving the area, since almost all 0f our stores are closed and the ones that are open have long lines out the door and a lot of empty shelves. Please continue to pray for those who found tragedy in the midst of this big storm. Pray for hope, healing, peace, comfort, restoration, and salvation- that many would draw near to Jesus during this time. When I get home, I will give another update possibly with pictures and more details.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Preparing for Ike

Today we are preparing for hurricane Ike and watching lots of news on the TV! We should start seeing tropical storm force winds around noon tomorrow (Friday) if the storm stays on track. We are boarding up our windows and have removed everything from our porch and yard that we could. Now it's just watching and waiting! So say a prayer for us! Minimal damage, trees falling AWAY from the house, no flooding, and NO TORNADOES!!! We will be getting absolutely no sleep tomorrow night since the strongest winds are supposed to begin between midnight and 2:00 am! I'll update when I can! After the last hurricane, we were without electricity for 2 weeks!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

My little man started back to "school" today (Parent's Day Out). So I have been a little sad and lost this morning! I didn't even have my first cup of coffee until 10:30! I have also been browsing through old pics on my computer and found the file with the ones from the day he was born. I wasn't even looking for them and there they were! There were some of my sister and my mom holding him (they were in the delivery room with us) and when I saw them I just got all warm and fuzzy inside thinking about what is to come!! My sister's baby girl is due in December and I can't wait for that to be me holding her in the picture!

I've also been thinking about my friends from highschool and how much I miss them! What got me started was finding out that one of my best friends from long ago is finally getting married! I am so excited for him and his soon to be bride! I got an email from him this morning and it made my day!

One of my BFFs (more like a sister!) D sends out some encouraging emails/prayers from a book entitle It's Never Too Late to a group of us girls. The last one said..

It's never too wonder.
Look with innocence.
Drink with your eyes.
In people.
Ponder it.

So this morning I have been wondering, pondering, thinking, reminiscing, and all of the above I often do! Sometimes it just lingers longer and invites your emotions in to places you haven't visited in a while. :-) And then there's the what ifs, the whys, the could've beens, (in the words of D).... and today. Where our life is at this very moment.

She ended the email by saying exactly what I would say to you today....

Let's take some time to wonder...about the difference we can make in our life, our family's life, a friend or a stranger's life.Let's take some time to wonder...what can I do to make today more pleasant; is there something I have control to change about me that could make me more pleasant; Let's wonder...let's ponder...let's do.I pray today that you will wonder a little.I pray today that you will see the mystery and enjoy it.I pray that you relax today, breathe today, sing today and dance.

I am so behind on blogging but now that summer has come to an end, maybe I can steal a few moments to write. Hopefully I'll get some first day of school pics of all the kids up on the family blog this week (or next....).

And hopefully I can share some things on here that God has been speaking to me these last couple of months.

Have a wonderful day!