Tag Archives: thankful

2 Unexpected Blessings

We received 2 unexpected blessings this week. I just thought I’d share them, since I’m bursting with thankfulness and excitement this morning!

First, our daughter, who lives in Hawaii, sent us ticket vouchers to come see her. It was our Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gifts. We are blown away with surprise and appreciation. We are planning the trip now, and will go in a few months. Our aunt is going, too, and Patsy. It’s going to be so fun, and amazing!

The second thing is a little odd, but also amazing. Our local Fred Meyers store has a person who anonymously gives out money by dropping it into people’s carts when they are not looking. I had heard of this person from ladies at my exercise class. Well, last night, it happened to me! There was an unexpected $100 bill, signed “Bernie” or “Bennie” (I really can’t tell which one) in my cart–just floating around near my purse. I was so surprised and shocked! I NEVER saw anyone lurking near me, or anything. I have no idea how or who did that! When I mentioned the whole thing to the checker, she was not surprised, but was pleased for me. When I asked if she knew how to thank this person, she said they did not even know if it was a man or woman who did this, but her suggestion was to send up a prayer for them, and thank them that way. And, that is just what I did!

The New House–At Last


And, here it is!  The new house.  Rob and Patsy are going in for the first time after it became ours!


It is on .3 acres.  It has a large garden area with Marion berries on one side and raspberries on the other.  Clearly, there are a lot of weeds to remove, but it has grown the former owner a good garden for years, and the soil has been amended.


It has a shop!


And a cute little partially enclosed patio.  Behind the patio is a paved area where the camper can be parked behind a locked chain link fence.


Here is the kitchen and the laundry room behind.


The living room has a fireplace.  The carpets smelled badly of cigarette smoke.  Our first project was removing them.


After 2 days spent pulling up carpet tacking strips, pulling carpet staples as well as the carpet and pads, the lovely hardwood was revealed.  We have an appointment scheduled to get them refinished.


It’s already a huge improvement!  We have several other things planned.  We will have to wait a bit to move in, but it will be worth it in the end to have them done before we do:)

We are super excited and can’t wait to start living here!  I will admit that I have muscles I never knew existed after crawling around on the floor for 2 days.  I am very happy that I’ve leaned a new skill, though.  I’ll bet there are several new experiences ahead!

Moving Update March 6, 2016


During this past week, we were able to accomplish some major progress towards our move.

First, we met with a realtor.  We do not know her personally, but she was highly recommended by a friend.  She looked through everything, gave advice, suggested a price and we made a plan.  We were quite disappointed with the first price she suggested, it seemed so low.  We do agree that it is her job, and not ours, but after a discussion with her just today, she said she had been contemplating and studying the issue and felt we could go up $10,000 without it being a problem.

We have been spending every spare minute cleaning, sorting, packing extra things and donating van loads of things.  We have sold a few things on e-bay that had a little more value.  Right now, we are so busy that if we can sell 1-$25 dollar item on eBay vs. 50–50 cent items at a garage sale, we are calling it good and donating the rest.  We are only taking time to do appointments, necessary meetings, church, the childrens’ activities and piano lessons.  We have lined up quite a few people for this week.

Last week we and our helpers picked up all hoses from the garden and outside areas, removed some old shelves and painted part of the basement, cleaned and swept the rest of the basement, packed and sorted things from the house into bins and carried them into the basement, worked on our red car (nephew)–at HIS house, completely organized and stocked the camper, packed up my stoneware to give room for appliances to be in cupboards instead of on the counters, and took several loads of shop tools, etc. over to my brother-in-law’s house for storage.

On Monday, I work.  Rob will take the Rav4 in for the service work (re-building the engine at no cost to us–warrenty issue), donate another van load to the charity shop, finish dinner, and take the chickens to the auction for sale on Tuesday.

Tuesday:  I will hopefully get a little school done with Ja’Ana in the morning.  My mom and aunt are coming in the afternoon for a while to help.  At 5 some friends are coming over for dinner.  They are part of a very small church that goes one Sunday a month to do a service project.  We are their project this month.  Although we have never been anyone’s project before, we are touched that they though of us and are gladly accepting the help. On Tuesday, we will hammer out the details of what needs to be done and make sure they are in the loop so progress continues the entire time.

Wednesday:  I work, Rob sorts and packs, and he takes Ja’Ana to her evening youth group.

Thursday:  Keith, our son-in-law is coming to help Rob.  He will also be shown jobs that need to be done so he can boss people around during the weekend.

Friday:  4H.

Saturday:  Help lined up for me:  My sister Rosalie, dear friend, a child or two, …Help for Rob:  5 men and ….  In the afternoon: Oldest daughter, Abbie. My aunt will get Ja’Ana and take her to my other sister’s house to spend the night.  She will be happier keeping her church routine and has a meeting Sunday afternoon in Salem (an hour away from here) in regards to her upcoming mission trip.

Sunday:  Our friends and their small church (15-20 people), Son-in-law Keith, daughter Abbie, friends (several) and …..  Gail will bring J home in the evening.  Each month, this small church chooses a service project to do as a church.  This month, we are their project. We have never been anyone’s project before, but are ecstatic and grateful of the help.  So, they are coming to help spruce up the place.  We invited any other friends and family who wanted to help to come either Saturday or Sunday.

During this blitz we hope to clean up the rest of the rooms in the house getting them picture perfect.

Clean up after painting the upstairs bathroom.

Wash walls and touch up paint on the downstairs main bathroom.

Finish the girls’ rooms, packing up anything extra and making sure all else fits into the drawers and closets.

Finish packing the camper.  We will go camping soon and we might as well put some extra out there.

Clean my room to the corners.  A lot went out of here on Saturday that was piled up in anticipation of the camper’s return from the repair shop.

Get bark dust spread on the flowerbeds.  Weeds removed as much as possible in the mud.  Plant primroses.  Rob has the bark in a pile, will buy 2 flats of primroses.

Finish emptying the school room.  I will leave a few books and other items on the bookcases, but put all sewing items upstairs in the completely cleaned sewing room.  I sewed both downstairs and upstairs at times, but will arrange it all into one room upstairs now.

Clean all kitchen counters, sweep, mop, and have someone wipe the microwave and appliances.  Lemon oil the cupboards.  Clean the cluttered bay window.

Buy an orchid for the mantle.  My aunt suggested it would last longer and look elegant for the showings.

Clean all bathrooms, wipe baseboards, fingerprints, sweep, etc., etc., etc. the entire house.

We have more to do, but this is a start. It all has to be finished by next Sunday night.

Next Monday or Tuesday, they will photograph the house and it will be listed on the 17th.  We will have a weekend where there is an open house and hopefully many showings.  Then, it will be by appointment only.


It Must Be My Week For Surprises

I showed everyone the flowers Rob got for free about a week ago from Fred Meyers.  We have been enjoyed them all week.  

Then, on Monday, one of my piano students brought me all of these flowers and greenery, in a big bunch.  I was able to make 2 lovely bouquets from them, and Patsy replaced the roses that were wilting in the first free bouquet with carnations, so that bouquet is still going strong. It was very unexpected and I loved getting them.



I was shocked when he came home from picking Lovana up from work, bearing a dozen roses and some grass-type greenery.  I promptly arranged them in the vase I bought years ago from a glass blower on the Oregon Coast and put them in my room.  Apparently, there were more flowers reaching expiration when he went into Fred Meyers and they gave him some more.  This has never happened before, so to receive free flowers twice was a completely thrilling shock.  I did have to remove some wilted leaves and stems, I gave them a good trim and removed a few slightly browned petals.  He got the lettuce, cheese, milk and celery I had sent him in for as well, and I’m so glad I asked him to pick those things up.  Often, when we pick her up, we don’t go into the store.

I don’t know why I have been blessed with 4 bouquets of flower in January.  I just know that I’m very thankful and feel grateful that I can enjoy them so much.  I feel happy every time I see them.  They make me smile.


A Nice Surprise


Today, we received a nice surprise in the mail.  My aunt sent us a greenery centerpiece.  We both love it.  I watered it according to the directions, and set it in the middle of my table.  It’s going to add another fresh layer to our Christmas decorations.  I love texting.  We were both able to send her a “thank-you” right away and she was able to know right away that we got her lovely gift.

Almost Christmas


It’s almost Christmas.  Am I ready?  Are you?

We have a tree, some holly, and a poinsettia.  There are some festive placemats on the table.  Our decorations are very simple-a couple of nativity scenes are out on the side tables.  Funny thing, though–we can’t find the huts they sit in.  We know we own them and we had them last year.  But this year, Baby Jesus has to sit in a new place.  The other decorations are the same ones we use year after year.  We have plenty of presents for the kids and each other. Although there are less than there have been in the past, we know they will like them.

But this year, there is a huge difference.  Like our poor nativity scenes, we’ve lost our place.   We don’t have our church home (or Rob’s job) anymore, and it hurts.  It hurts so much that we are having trouble feeling that light-hearted excitement, the overwhelming joy, the thrill of the joyous feelings of Christmas.  We are slogging through the motions, trying to find new traditions, new places to go, new memories.  Since we had been there almost 19 years, many of our holiday traditions were connected there, and now they are not. So, no Christmas events or dinners with people we considered our family and friends, no Christmas Eve service to play music for, no Christmas choir to sing in, no worship team to play on, no baskets of candy canes to hand out to the children, no playing with the babies in the nursery as our family always did during one of the Christmas Eve services.  We have been attending another church, but it’s very different to watch, and not be involved–it’s just not home yet.

So, what are we doing to combat those feelings?  We are allowing ourselves time to grieve and work through this situation. Friends have been very kind and supportive, offering us innumerable opportunities to go to their events with them.  We haven’t gone.  We’ve been invited to church services, Bible studies, movie nights, and more.  We’ve mostly declined, except for the Sunday morning services we are attending with family.  We are still grieving.  For us, it’s like a death.  A death that needs to be grieved properly.  We cry a lot.  We mourn.  We feel anger, sadness, and more. We pray.  We pray some more.  There are good days, interspersed with the bad.  As time passes, there have been more good days.  There is a feeling of hope that was not there before.  A sense of peace, and of the goodness of God, who cares for us in the hard times along with the easy ones.  An overwhelming knowledge that He is still in charge, in control, and involved with our lives.  And, slowly, we are creeping back to life inside.  We will be ready soon,we think,  to take these friends up on some of their offers–ready to take on another big adventure, as Rob calls it.

We have spent more time with family than we have ever had time to do before.  They have been so supportive, caring, loving and kind to us.  They have listened, hugged us, had us over, fed us, prayed with us, given us gifts, helped out with the children, and much more.  The time spent has turned out to be one of the hidden blessings of this whole situation, and mere words could never express how thankful we are to them.

We have chosen to be purposefully thankful.  We are deliberately looking for things that we have to be thankful for. Our needs are being met.  We have a home, food, clothes, family, friends, and much more.  We have much to be grateful for.

We have chosen several activities that make Christmas feel like Christmas to us.  We are already very busy people.  We have chosen carefully so that we did not lose the meaning of Christmas in busy-ness.  We have attended Patsy’s 6th grade band concert.  We had our usual 4H Christmas party.  One daughter is in a homeschool choir and we will watch her Christmas concert.  We are choosing to attend a church choir concert one evening.  We are going to modify our traditions.  We will go to church on Christmas Eve, it will just be different.  I will have food ready when we get home and we will still unwrap our presents like usual and go to my sister’s on Christmas Day, like normal.  Our children do better with routine.  This has been very hard on them and we are trying to make things as normal as possible for them in a situation that is anything but. It seems like this year, we have been more focused on the true meaning of Christmas and family.  It seems that hard times truly do push us closer to the manger.  And, like our poor nativity sets, perched on 2 tables, we will adapt and survive.  Because, God is bigger than all of this.  And Christmas….Christmas is way beyond us, and our paltry troubles here on earth.  It’s a celebration of the Christ Child–God Incarnate, sent to earth, the hope of the world and all mankind.  Am I ready for Christmas?  I’m sure working hard to be.  How about you?







IMG_1696I have been taking the time to purposefully be thankful this fall.  In September, when Rob’s job ended unexpectedly, we were both cast into a daze–stunned by the news that, after almost 19 years, he was no longer wanted.  After a couple of weeks of wandering aimlessly around on auto-pilot, unable to focus, unable to do anything buy cry, I realized I was going to have to be purposeful in how I handled this.  The situation was not going to change.

Because of Rob’s job as a children and family pastor, both of our lives, plus the lives of our children, were unusually intertwined with his job.  We spent countless hours at the church, volunteering in the childrens’ department, on worship team, going to events such as retreats, youth group activities, Bible classes, small groups, etc.  So, when his job was suddenly over, we no longer had a church home as well as no income.  Both of those things were extremely significant to us.  Our children had known no other church and felt loved and nurtured by the people there.  The very people we would usually turn to for love and support were suddenly not as available to us.  We literally had no place to attend church on Sunday anymore.  It was a big blow.

The reason given for his dismissal was that, when they hired a consulting firm to analyze the church, they wanted to go in a different direction, and Rob did not fit that direction.  He had done nothing wrong.  It was “just business.”  Ouch.  There was not one chance for him to fix anything they did not like, make any changes they might want–nothing.  Just go.  So, with tears streaming down our faces, we packed his office, and went.  We were given a severance package after a week on pins and needles, wondering what we were going to get, if anything.

I decided then and there that I did not want to become a bitter old woman, spending the rest of my life in anger, bitterness, or fear of the future.  I want to live today with peace, happiness, and contentment. It was going to take work.  My plan was to count the blessings I did have, pray a lot, and try to stay upbeat about all of this.  Clearly, we needed to figure out things financially as well.  It was not the worst thing that had ever happened to me, I reminded myself, but it was right up there.  We both felt blind-sighted, betrayed by those we had considered our friends, anxious and upset.

To make things even more stressful, we are in the middle of an adoption (our 8th) and it is not final.  You are supposed to be able to support children you are adopting, and now Rob has no job. My small, part-time piano teaching business does not cover our bills.  Also, he has had back trouble for quite a few years, and is in the middle of analysis by the doctors, trying to figure out how to fix this problem.  We will find out soon if he is facing surgery.  He cannot just go get a physical job as he would have done when he was younger to fill in the gaps.

We sat down several times over the past few weeks and talked things over.  We counted our money and other resources.  We looked at our housing situation, our cars, our location, our children’s needs, everything we had and needed.  We are examining what Rob wants to do next.  We are still working out a plan.  We have many ideas, but, after much prayer, have concluded that right now we need to wait and not plunge into any big decisions.  We are making progress, though, in our decision-making.  We need some time to heal emotionally, and are taking that. We have been advised to treat this as a death, and not do anything major, like sell our home, for a while.

Thankfulness is a big key.  I’ve been trying each day to find things to be thankful for, despite our circumstances.  There are many.  I have had no trouble finding them, when I take the time to look.

  1.  I am thankful for our family.  From the first day of Rob’s job loss, they have been there for us.  Different family members have called, offered support, given us money and gift cards, cards and texts with words of encouragement, came and sat with us, helped clean out Rob’s office, let us cry and talk to them, prayed for us without ceasing, taken us on vacation, done heavy jobs since Rob’s back is so bad right now, and many other things.
  2. I am thankful for the many, many people who have given us support from the church.  We have received many phone calls, cards, texts and emails showing their love to us.  Many of the congregation did not make this decision at church, only about 3-5 people did, so many people have been shocked, upset and appalled.  Most of them continue to attend that church, we have been very verbal with them that we don’t want them to quit; it would serve no purpose to have people quit going to church because they are upset.  Hopefully, things will get better for them there.  If it doesn’t, what they do needs to be their decision, independent of what happened to Rob.
  3. I am thankful to the many friends outside of the church that have pulled through for us.  They have shown their support in many ways, both physical (everything from someone fixing our furnace to the dentist giving us an extremely reduced rate on our dental check-ups and more), and mental (prayers, cards, kind words, etc.)
  4. I am thankful that we are ok financially for a while.  Between the severance package and some logging we had done, we have a little while to think.  We have a huge stockpile of groceries because I can and freeze so much garden produce, Rob raises meat, and we buy things in bulk and on sale.  We have filled in some gaps in our storage over the last few weeks and am now going to work on using up some of the stockpile, and saving the money that would have been spent.  We have good insurance for a while, so are getting as much done as we can while still on that.
  5. I am thankful that we have each other.  Together, we can get through.
  6. I am thankful that God is not dead.  People disappoint, but He never does.

This coming up week  will be a busy one.  I am going to enjoy spending time with our nieces and nephew.  We are going to watch Patsy be a pig in a little 10-minute play at school.  Family with gather on Thursday and we will celebrate Thanksgiving.  I am going to enjoy this week and continue to count my blessings.  They are many.