Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Our Weekend ...

This past weekend OG, EJ and I drove out west to Great Falls, which is nestled in the foot hills of the Rocky Mountains.  OG participated in our church denomination's Fine Arts Festival.  The F.A.F. is an annual event that allows students to be discipled in various artistic venues such as music, art, writing, drama, sermons, etc.  The program was implemented for the purpose of helping students discover and grow in their talents so they can be used for service within the body of Christ as students mature into adulthood.

Our weekend did not go quite as planned.  I had budgeted $500.00 for our travel expenses (fuel, hotel, meals) but because of auto repairs we ended up spending twice that amount.  Yes, you read that right.  Our vehicle broke.  So, auto repairs, car rental, an extra night in a hotel and additional meals cost us an extra $498.00.  As awful as the trip was (so awful that the stress has made me physically ill), I still have reason to thank and praise the Lord.

20 years ago we would not have been able to even consider making this trip.  20 years ago we didn't own a car and since OG was the ONLY student from the eastern side of the state present, car pooling wasn't an option.  If we had owned a vehicle back then and it broke down, we'd have found ourselves literally stranded 400 miles from home.  20 years ago we lived below the poverty line thus, there wouldn't have been any money for auto repairs, car rentals, extra hotel and food expenses.  20 years ago not only were we financially impoverished but we were also resource impoverished.  Because of my own foolishness and sinful decisions 28 years ago I had been shunned from my family and I didn't have any real friends, only co-workers with whom was acquainted.  Thus, we wouldn't have even been able to borrow money to get home. 20 years ago, our auto breaking down in a city 400 miles away from home would have been more than devastating to our family.

I thank the Lord that our circumstances have improved significantly.  I thank the Lord that He brought about the opportunities that have ushered in a more comfortable lifestyle and the resources that help us to deal with unexpected situations.  I thank the Lord that He had mercy upon me where no man or woman would.  I thank the Lord that He continues to shower me with mercy and grace, even on the days when I fail Him.

I always enjoy driving out west because I enjoy seeing the change in landscape.  The rolling prairie where we live holds it's own beauty, but a drive into the foot hills and mountains is striking.

 Yes, we live where the deer and antelope still play.

 Yes, we live where small country schools still dot the landscape.

 Yes, we live where there are still hundreds of miles of un-populated areas.

Yes, we live where there are still majestic views.

I am thankful this past weekend presented us with multiple opportunities to see and experience God's GREATNESS.  What did God do for you this past weekend?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


This morning EJ walked up to me, opened his hand and said, 
"This is my eraser.  It doesn't taste as good as my other one."

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What If ...

Earlier today I spoke via telephone with Mrs. A, my dearest and closest friend and sister in Christ.  We've known each other for about 10 years and our sons grew up together attending the same church.  We both have sons actively serving our nation's armed forces.

Her son, GM, has received word that he may again be deployed later this year.  Our JP has also received news that he may be deployed to the same region during the same time period.  I always experience a catch in my breath whenever I am told either of them will be deployed - it is the life of a family whose children serve our nation.  Today, Mrs. A shared with me that she told JP that having him & GM deployed to the same region at the same time might be too much for her.  JP tried to reassure her that part of his job was to ensure that GM's department was protected.  Unfortunately, this did not ease her mind as she then recalled that JP's department is most vulnerable to friendly fire. With a crack in her voice that is caused only by tears in her eyes, Mrs. A asked me, "What if GM's department was responsible for friendly fire ...?

Hmmm, what if ... I tried to reassure her by reminding her that our sons voluntarily chose to serve our nation.  With full disclosure they voluntarily chose the departments and jobs they perform.  I also told her that we MUST trust the Lord regarding our sons and whatever the future brings.  Unfortunately I am not very witty nor quick minded when placed on the spot regarding emotional situations.  Instead of my silly rambling, I wish I had shared ...

Proverbs 3:5-6:  "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thy own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths."

Psalms 46:1-3:  "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be moved, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof."

1 Peter 5:7:  "Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you."

John 16:33:  "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.  In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."

Psalm 37:24:  "Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholdeth him with His hand."

Psalms 138:7:  "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me."

Psalms 18:2:  "The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high power."

I don't know what the future holds for our families.  But I do know that we can live with confidence that when the times of sorrow, pain, tribulations or trials do come, God has promised to bring us through them.

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Date ...

We all know it is important for husbands to take their wives on an occasional date.  However, when you live 40 miles from the nearest palatable restaurant and 60 miles from the nearest movie theater or bowling ally or any other entertainment venue, where do you go?  It has been many months since Mr.B took me out, but this past Saturday, he came through.  Last week our weather was BEAUTIFUL.  Our high temperatures were in the low 50's and high 60's.  With the snow melted and the warm sunshine feeling divine, Mr.B decided to take me on a walk.  Yes, that's right, when you live REALLY, REALLY far out in the country a leisurely walk with your sweetheart is considered date.  Here's what we saw:

Cat tails growing in the bar ditches.  They will look real nice come spring when everything begins turning green.

The view as we walked down our road.

Our closest people neighbors.  They are only 1 1/2 miles away.

The ice that covered our creek is now melting.  

Friday, March 9, 2012

Water in the Basement

Our move to the rolling prairie has introduced us to scenarios we've never before encountered.  For instance, water in one's basement.  The water table in S.E.Texas is so high that one would never fathom building a home with a basement - simply put it would contain at lest 6 feet of water year round.

When we purchased our home we knew that the basement had taken on about 8" of water last spring.  This area received 5x's the average annual snowfall and rain last year.  As a matter of fact this region was so wet that over 2 million acres of farm land were not planted.  (Coupled with the droughts in this south we can be assured that high fuel prices aren't the only factor in driving up the costs of food.)  Anyway, after everything dried up and the basement was cleaned out, the seller installed a sump-pump.  We were hoping that would remedy any future water issues in the basement, however, we were also aware that one of Mr. B's co-workers has FIVE sump-pumps in his basement.  Thus, the possibility of needing to install one or more additional sump pumps in our own basement was something we knew we might have to do.

Well, sure enough, one sump pump will not be enough.  Fortunately our winter has been, not only unusually warm, but also, unusually dry.  Our property sits down in a small valley, thus we receive run-off from the surrounding properties.  Although our location is a prime contributor to the water in our basement, we know that for long-term sustainability the creek and pond that are on our property as a result of the run-off will provide a needed water source for livestock and wildlife during dry periods and droughts.

Fortunately, our water issue is not serious.  Our basement is unfinished - only concrete flooring and walls.  We are able to remove the water 2-3 times per day with a wet/dry shop vac.  This scenario has also allowed us to determine exactly where we should install two additional sump pumps to avert future water issues. Once the ground drys up, Mr. B, EJ and Grandpa have a nice weekend project planned for the basement.  Ensuring they don't "forget" or get distracted by another project they find more fun or interesting, I have added the sump pump project to their "nag" list.

P.S.  A "nag" list is an actual list of "honey-do's" that includes a written deadline.  I've learned through trial and error that simply asking or telling my guys to do a project is pointless unless I give them a written deadline.