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Feb 28, 2016

20 Years ago today

Sunday, February 28, 2016 21 Comments
20 years ago today my Daddy went home to be with Jesus. He was born Billy Ray in 1956 to a very poor family. Daddy grew up living in tents in national parks around the US. His father was a sever alcoholic and the entire family reaped his abuse.

Dad's very first pair of shoes were given to him by his teacher. After several weeks of coming to school bare foot the teacher felt moved to buy Dad a pair of shoes. Dad often told me about that teacher.

Dad grew and had many challenges and burdens in his life. He was born a juvenile diabetic and dealt with sickness his whole life.

Dad met my Mom when he was just 18 and she was 25 and already the mother of 2. I was 18 months old when Dad and Mom got together. Dad never had a proper example of how a father should act so he did his best. He made mistakes but he sincerely tried to be a good father.

Dad had developed some very bad habits and had an addiction to drugs. He used drugs as one would cigarettes but I never thought anything about it, this was normal for our family.

When Dad was 32 he developed sores on one of his feet, the end result being amputation. After 5 hard years Dad had lost both feet and was now diagnosed with a systemic bone disease brought on by the diabetes and drug use.

Dad lived a very hard and painful life and through it all he had no one to lean on or turn to. Dad didn't know Jesus and didn't know how wonderful His comfort could be.

At 17 I moved out of our troubled home and into the home of my husband's family. The laws were laid out in the beginning; what was allowed and what wasn't. For the first time in my life I realized that my family wasn't normal. Families actually ate together, went to church together and talked sweetly to one another. Life was totally different in his family.

Just after I turned 18 Johnny and I were married. A month before the wedding Dad had a stroke and was paralyzed on his right side. He was very worried about walking me down the isle, and pleaded that he didn't have to. Despite the wheel chair, Dad did walk me down the isle. It was wonderful holding Dad's hand as Mom pushed his wheel chair down the isle.

A few years later Johnny was preaching and I had begged Dad to come. He had been in church once in his life and that was for our wedding. He said a few choice words and then informed me that he wouldn't be coming to the church, not today, or ever. Imagine my surprise and elation when the back door opened just after the congregation began singing it's first hymn.
My Dad, my Dad had come. I had been praying for years for his salvation and here he was. I sat in the pew the entire time praying and begging God to save my Daddy. As Johnny concluded his sermon and began the invitation my heart yearned for Daddy, I begged God and then it happened; Dad got up on his prostheses and hobbled down the isle. I almost stood on my pew and clapped when Dad bowed his head and asked King Jesus to save him. Dad was never the same.

When I was pregnant with our second son Dad began to develop sores on his fingers. As the months passed he lost one finger after the other. Dad was now a man with no legs and the possibility of loosing his ability to use hands.

Within the next several months we spent many a night at the hospital with Dad. He wasn't every going to get better and there was nothing anyone could do. I began praying that God would take him, he was already living the worst nightmare possible. I asked Dad often if he was sure he would go to heaven if he died and his answer was always the same, " Yes Sister, I would." My worry was eased and I begged God to take him home and end this misery.

Sitting in my mother-in-law's living room the call came and I knew this was it. Dad had been taken to the hospital and was not expected to live. We rushed to the hospital and I knew Dad wouldn't be going home. I sat on the side of Dad's bed and held his hand. Near the end he lost his eye sight and eventually fell into a deep sleep. I held his hand until his heart beat for the last time. He had such a serene look on his face and I knew he was with Jesus.

My Dad wasn't the best father and he didn't instill the wisest insight but he was Daddy and I think my Heavenly Father for every moment he let me spend with my Daddy.
Today, 20 years later, I still miss him. 

Feb 16, 2016

To Do Tuesday

Tuesday, February 16, 2016 9 Comments
Hey guys, welcome back to To Do Tuesday! I was glancing back over last weeks list and realized that most of my list got done. Whoohoo, but before we celebrate some of it didn't.

Okay so let's take a look-see.

1. Start seeds indoors.
I still havn't started the seeds and I really need to. Winter for the most part is over here and except for the ran and clouds it would feel like Spring already. So I'm adding this back to my To Do Tuesday list for this week.

2. Start, just start on this amazing quilt!
Yes, I did start the Texas quilt. I'm excited about it but I really underestimated how much time it would take. I'm officially finished with central Texas and now onto the Panhandle.

3. Clean my kitchen cabinets!
Geesh! This is the one I really should have gotten done but really if I consider; cleaning the cabinets or sewing, well, sewing wins out every time.

4. Buy a sweet Valentines gift for a missionary wife in Budapest.
I decided to make something for my friend instead of buying something. So, I quilted her a throw pillow cover for Valentines Day. It's really the first one I ever made so there are some oopsies here and there but altogether it turned out pretty nice. 

 I did make a mistake and I had to add an extra row in the middle which made the heart to elongated. I'm remember next time that if it grows tall it must grow fat too. All in all I really enjoyed it and loved the outcome. Almost kept it for myself.

5. Find a special gift for my best friend who recently lost her mother.
I still need to do this or at least send a sweet card so I'm adding this one back on the list too.

6. Order our middle son's wedding invitations, that's my job.
Knocked this one out and I loved the invite. The photos they took were so cute. 

Can I just stop and brag a little? I can't tell you how much I love Serina. She's absolutely perfect for Josh and she loves him so much. I couldn't be happier with her. Also they've been so godly in their courtship and have honored God completely. Okay, end of brag.

So that's over and onto this weeks To Do Tuesday list

1. Start seeds indoors. Hey if you need some helpful info about starting seeds indoors check out my post from last week

2. Find a special gift for my best friend who recently lost her mother.

3. Crochet some more of these dishcloths to send to friends. 

I used a really scratchy yarn from Red Heart for the scrubby line. You can get it at Walmart in multiple colors and it's pretty reasonable too. I like making these dishcloths with cotton yard and the scrubby instead of just the scrubby because you then the cloth is all purpose instead of just a scrubber. 
Here's a great tutorial for the Bobble Stitch. It's not the one I use because I didn't actually use a pattern but it's as close to my pattern as possible only I started out with 30 foundation chains instead of 15. 

Make sure you stop by Hopeful Honey and visit Olivia. She has an amazing site. 
Okay enough of that.

4. Clean out that kitchen cabinet!

5. Start planning the rehearsal dinner for Josh's wedding. I think there's a lot I can get done here and take with me when we fly there in July. It'd be nice to have it all done beforehand. 

6. Make Scripture memory bookmarks for the Croatian church and the Gypsy church and laminate. 

Okay so there's my To Do Tuesday list for this week. I'm gonna try to work on them in the order I listed them. At least that way starting seeds doesn't stay on my list till Fall. 

So, what's on your list this week?

Feb 14, 2016

The Best Valentines Day Gift Ever!

Sunday, February 14, 2016 2 Comments

The most beautiful Valentine gift ever was given to all people 2000 years ago on Calvary. Jesus sacrificed His life to provide forgiveness of sin to all who would receive it. What a gift!
giving me more than I deserve while
giving me less than I deserve

Wow, we'd be a fool not to accept so great a gift. If you've never accepted that beautiful gift of love from Jesus, today would be a great day to do that.
Please take some time to read this. What a beautiful gift you'd receive this Valentines Day.

Feb 11, 2016

...If you faint not

Thursday, February 11, 2016 20 Comments
I was always a kid who made due with whatever life threw my way. Growing up in poverty in a drug-dealer's home made circumstances sometimes unpredictable. While my Daddy made many mistakes he loved me and did his best to protect me. There were many days without electricity or water and getting ready for school was impossible a real feat. I learned to do much with very little. I learned to endure. To take whatever the day brought and deal with it, struggle through, and move on. While many people would pity my childhood, I don't.

I'm the sorta gal that realizes what has to be done and if I don't like it I make myself like it, if that makes any sense at all. Growing up I always wanted to have one child and I was going to spoil that child. When I married Johnny he informed me that he wanted 7 children, WHAT?. I was in shock but I soon decided that if this was what had to happen I was going to make it my desire also. Before long I dreamed of having a home full of little children calling me Mama Mother Dearest.

Not in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would one day be a preacher's wife much less a missionary to a foreign land. When I stop and think about where He brought me from and where He took me to I stand amazed. Here I am, a little dirty girl from the wrong side of the tracks, literally and my life amazes me.
I have no complaints about life at all. I don't feel as if I have missed out on something or that there is something I deserve which I don't have. I have no complaints! God has been so good, giving me more than I deserve while giving me less than I deserve. He amazes me.

In 2000 when we arrived in Croatia with our 3 little children in tow we had no idea what to expect. There were no American friends waiting on us, no one to explain life to us, it was just us and the dear Croatian people God sent us to. That first year was an experience of grace. I felt loneliness like I had never felt before. I watched the children cry for their grandparents and just as I had been trained so many years before I sucked it up, dealt with it and moved on. This was God's will for our life, and I knew that so I was going to make the best of it. I decided to make myself love this place.

Here I sit in my living room thinking to myself, I love this place. I love the house God has given us, I love the church I go to, I love the people I work with, I love the Croatian people as if they were my people, I love the little Gypsy children who run to me at the children's meetings and give me hugs, I love the weather here, I love the food and especially the desserts, I love being needed and loved, I love the joy I get from living for someone else, I love my dog, I love having coffee with friends in the square, I love the will of God for me.

Hey it's a long road. I know if I had given up, I would have never reached this place in my life. If I hadn't purposed in my heart to love the will of God I would be unsatisfied, unfulfilled and who knows where we would be now. I had to consciously decided to love the will of God for my life. I remember fighting negative feelings and having to tell myself that I wouldn't allow it. I didn't allow my self to ask, "what if?" I refused to even entertain the idea that there was something else. I knew His will for me and I decided to accept it and make the best of it. Now...after all all these years His will is truly my delight. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. I wouldn't want to leave these people or this place. I wouldn't want to be anyone else, my life is a picture of God's foreknowledge and a little stick-to-it-tive-ness, as my Preacher would say. If we had decided it was too hard, or entertained ideas about what it would be like somewhere else we would have never made it to this place. This place of contentment.

God is so good to have a will for each of us, the problem is that we faint long before we arrive at that perfect will. It's not too difficult to be in the geographic will of God but it takes time to love being there. I see so many missionaries and young people these days who make decisions for God and never carry through. Or they arrive at His will and don't have the endurance or character to stick it out. Anything worth having takes work and sacrifice. If you will ever make it to that place of rest within His will you have to struggle through the tough times and there will be many. Life is hard, it throws stuff at us that we could never prepare for. It is hard, it will be hard. STICK IT OUT!! We will reap if we faint not but we have to endure. It makes me sad and ashamed that so many missionaries and pastors fall by the wayside daily. It's an epidemic. We have become soft and we faint too easily. The statistics for IFB missionaries as as follows:

1,000 American Missionaries return home each year

75% of missionaries return home within the first three years and never go back to a foreign field

43% of missionaries never complete deputation

These statistics are staggering! Are you kidding? Missionaries start deputation, travel and accept money for years sometimes and then just decide it's too difficult. For real? That's dishonest! Some go to the field stay 2 years, come home knowing they will never return and then travel for a year accepting money from churches knowing they'll never return. It's a shame and it's dishonest! 

What ever the missionaries and workers of the past had, we need it! We need to figure out how to find the strength to stay, to endure if we will ever make it to His perfect will for our lives. How many thousands have gone unsaved because a Christian quit and didn't endure? 

Over the last 15 years we have seen more missionaries go then we have seen come. We are a shrinking population and as Christians we need to wake up, buck up, stand up or grow up, which ever is needed. 

This has been on my heart for so long. I don't like heavy blog posts but maybe just maybe someone is struggling to hang on. Contemplating quitting. Imagining brighter pastures. DON'T! 
Decide that His will is going to become your delight and put the time into it that it'll take and one'll find that perfect will and delight in it.

And let us not be weary in well doing: for indue season we shall reap, if we faint not. Gal 6:9

Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Psalm 37:4

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Heb 13:5