Friday, February 19, 2010

And So It Begins... Again!

Many of you know that Sarah went on a 6-week long missions trip with the Continental Singers last summer. She had an amazing time and came home a changed girl. Or maybe I should say, young woman! The maturity I've seen in Sarah, and the growth in her relationship with God since getting back last summer, has been a joy to see!  Did I miss her last summer? Oh yeah! Especially since she was gone on her 18th birthday! That was a hard day for me! Would I encourage her to do it again? YES! But I don't need to convince her, because she has already made the decision to go again. And now Hannah is following in her big sister's footprints, and going on the Young Continentals mission trip! I'm so proud and excited for them! I'm also wondering HOW in the world are we going to raise DOUBLE the support that we did last year!  But then I've got to remind myself that our God is, well, GOD! He is God, and there is no other. Nothing is too hard for Him! With Him, nothing is impossible! So if He is the one creating the desire for Sarah and Hannah to go this summer, then He can certainly provide the money for them! So I'm asking you, my friends and family to help us. The very best thing you can do to help us won't cost you anything! Because we very much covet your prayers as Sarah and Hannah prepare to go serve Him this summer. So that is the main thing we ask, to please pray for them as they prepare to go. And of course, if you feel led to, a monetary donation would be great, as well. Even if you can only donate a small amount, every little bit helps, and know that your donation is going far in helping spread the gospel of Christ.

Also, for those of you local to Phoenix, there are going to be some fun fund raising events taking place. So I'll let you know what they are as they are coming up. Also, if you love good quality candles (Gold Canyon) and/or Cookie Lee jewelry, we have an ongoing "catalog party" going on! And for every order that you place for candles or jewelry, all proceeds go toward their mission trips. Please email me for more information.

Did I say how proud I am of my daughters?! :-) And thank you! Thank you for your prayers as they go on this journey of fund raising and then their mission trip, and thank you for those of you who are able to be generous and help them with a monetary gift. Links for online giving are to the right of this page.

Thank you! :-)

Monday, February 15, 2010

This is HARD!

Let it be known that my faith in God is strong, but He sure is testing us BIG time! I keep thinking about those stress charts. You know, the ones that tell you how stressed you should be by whatever things are happening in your life. I think my stress level is so far off the chart, that I'm the fireworks up above it somewhere in the sky! At least fireworks are pretty! :-)

Anyway, it's been over a month since my brother's death. In fact, his funeral was one month from tomorrow (the 16th). Our immediate family's life is pretty much back to normal, at least as normal as it can be knowing that my brother is no longer in this world. But my parents' lives sure aren't! They have relocated from their comfortable familiar home in southern California, where they've lived for around 35 years, up to northern California so they can take on my brother's 3 teenagers. This would be a rather traumatic change for anyone, but add to that they are still grieving the death of their son, and they are 77 years old, and they are having to deal with the kids' mom fighting for custody, and well, I'm just a "wee bit" concerned for them! I pray everyday for God to sustain them and protect their health. And I also find myself wishing they weren't so far away so that I could go and just help them out with everything. We still don't have anything official from the autopsy, either. So we're still waiting for the official cause of death for my brother. Personally, I still think it was an aneurysm, but it would be nice to have that confirmed. So that is what's going with that.

Then there is our ongoing financial situation. It's been a year and a half since we've had any regular income. Our savings are gone, and with each passing day, we go deeper and deeper into debt just trying to pay bare minimum bills and keep some food in the house. We haven't been able to pay our mortgage since November, so this weekend we got hit with foreclosure papers on our home. We knew this would probably be happening, but to actually see it in black and white, kind-of makes one's stomach tie up in one big huge knot! Bob and I didn't sleep very well that night after getting the papers, well, for that matter, I haven't slept all that well since Saturday when they came! I don't think I've ever experienced anything in my life that is this HARD! And I can't figure out if God is disciplining us for something we've done wrong, or is this just the ultimate test, to see just how strong our faith is?! (Think Job in the Bible!) I'm not sure, all I know is that I'm spending lots of time crying out to God and immersing myself in His Word. It's the only thing that keeps me sane. I'm also really working on learning to praise Him in this storm, and wait on Him with expectation. But it's HARD!

So why am I sharing this? Well, mostly because we really just need prayer! Many of you are already praying, and we appreciate that SO very much! If you could just pray specifically that God grant us wisdom to know what to do next. Bob has been sending out resumes and networking pretty much everyday and working on building up his financial planner business. But we need to know if there is something else that God wants him to do. I, too, have been looking for a job, but to no avail. In this economy, as soon as prospective employers find out how long it's been since I've been in the work force, I don't usually hear from them again. So, I'm trying to build up an internet business (if you haven't already, check out the links to the right of this post to see more about my business). But I, too, covet prayer for God's wisdom and guidance as to what He wants me to do to help our family financially. And while you are at it, please also pray for Sarah. She is working at Chick-fil-A, but they give her so few hours, and have really been treating her pretty poorly. I was able to talk with one of her managers a few days ago, so I'm hoping that he will fix some things, but honestly I'm not holding my breath. And to say that I'm really frustrated with a business that says it's Christian run, yet they treat someone so poorly, well yes. I AM frustrated! I realize that even a Christian run business can have it's problems, we're all human after all, but this situation is just so beyond that! Sarah has been looking for a different job, but again with this economy and her lack of experience, she is finding it very difficult to find anything else, as well. So please just pray for us to have wisdom and also peace! I'm getting really tired of the knots in my stomach!

The one bright spot this month was Rachel's "Sweet 16 Masquerade Ball" that was a little over a week ago.
My dear and wonderful friend, Lu, was the main one responsible for decorating our house (without it costing us much, if anything!) and she really outdid herself. She did such a great job of using things we already had, then her giving heart of adding things that she bought and didn't charge us for, all went together to make it a beautiful, fun and special evening for Rachel and her sisters and friends! I'm including a few pictures here, but there are a lot more on my Facebook page if you want to see more. And for any of you local to Phoenix who is thinking they might need a party planner for an upcoming event, please let me know so that I can give you my friend, Lu's, phone number. After this party that she so creatively planned and executed, I am more convinced then ever that she needs to do this as a business! When you see the pictures, I think you'll agree! So there is my little advertisement for her. She has been looking for a job, as well, so some party planning business for her would be an answer to prayer for her!

So we continue on, taking a day at a time, and trusting that God will get us through this time. He has promised to sustain us and to provide for us, so I'm standing on those promises the best I know how! Thanks, as always, for all your prayers! I KNOW they are helping us get through this. :-)