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Thursday, August 27, 2009

It Is Finished (but still in the works)

I am a silly one. I maintain 3 blogs and they're all about our family! My intention was to have a separate blog for separate subjects; one blog for family updates with monthly summaries of the going ons in our home, one blog for capturing precious moments with my children, and one blog for me to just release all other thoughts running in my head pertaining to life, faith, childrearing, marriage, the home, etc...

Well, I've been trying to simplify life by sorting, purging, and organizing and it became apparent that maintaining 3 blogs is unnecessary. I have merged all 3 blogs into 1. There is an export and import option available here on Blogger. It's under the Settings tab. I exported 2 of my blogs, the one about my children and the one for my own personal thoughts, and have imported them into a new blog, In Pursuit of His Call. I am now in the process of organizing previous posts under main categories like Faith, Ministry as a Wife, Ministry as a Mom, Ministry in the Home, Recipes, Tips, and Other Home Life Ramblings.

When you enter the site, you will see the going ons of our day through pictures and some comments about our day; this is content that would have been posted on my children's blog. All other topics will be posted in their appropriate categories. The merging of the blogs is finished, but what's still in the works is the organizing of posts.

I am excited for this new blog! Come and visit me there:
In Pursuit of His Call

Friday, August 21, 2009

Home Life...Today We Celebrate 10 Years!!!

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Things to remember about today:
- When we decided not to go to the beach house vacation in North Carolina, we also decided that DearHubby would not be going to his high school's best buddy's wedding this weekend for the same reason; lack of funds. However, today, as I was looking at our wedding pictures, DearHubby's buddy was in a lot of the pictures reminding me how dear a friend he was to DearHubby. So, for his anniversary present, I wanted to tell DearHubby to go to the wedding, but I knew that our financial situation still had not changed. I prayed about it and asked another friend to pray about it. Well, DearHubby's buddy called me and asked if he had paid for his room yet. I told him no because we were still undecided if he was really going down for the wedding or not. So, his buddy said, "Well, I just called to tell him that he can crash at my house after the wedding!" DearHubby doesn't have to pay for any lodging at all! So, that made our decision easy, I told him to go, as my present to him. He left around 11pm tonight.

- Our lender that we were trying to get the refinancing from called today and after talking to the supervisor of our loan processor, he said he would take the Denial off of our record and go back to their underwriters to see how we can work together to get our loan approved. I just hope they're not going to ask for the world. We still continue to pray that the underwriters will give us some guidelines that we can actually meet.

- Renewed our driver's licenses today.

- Ate at home. Grilled steaks with steamed brocolli and rice.

- Went to my chiropractic appointment.

- Took some family pictures to remind us of this day.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Home Life...Being Stewarts of Our Money

"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." (Matthew 6:24)

While we were waiting for the results of our refinancing we were given a once in a lifetime opportunity to go on a beach house vacation in North Carolina. There are a group of people from our church who rented a beach house on the outer banks of North Carolina, but a few families will be leaving the house early. Since the house was already paid for, the rest of the group decided to extend a free room on the beach house to our family. All we needed to pay for was our transportation, food, and extra costs. Below is a letter DearHubby and I wrote to the group about our decision:

Hi Beach House Vacation Coordinators,

An opportunity to stay at a magnificent beach house for free comes only once in a lifetime and worth every penny to spend, especially when it would be with brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Unfortunately, due to our current financial situation, we do not even have that one penny to spend. We are quite torn about our decision as we so much wanted to join all the families for this once in a lifetime opportunity, but after much prayer and consideration, we will need to decline the offer. Although our lodging at this wonderful vacation spot would be free, the transportation, food, and extra costs would still be too much for our very modest budget.

One lesson we have learned from this experience is being better stewarts of our money and putting our hope and trust in God over silver or rubies. We were putting our hope on the refinancing of our home and spending money that we did not have and that was not ours. If we had been stewarts of our money, we would have still watched our spending despite our pending refinancing. We received word this week that our application was denied. Our false hope was crushed.

The beach house offer was our test. Do we take the offer because it is a once in a lifetime opportunity or do we decline it because we don't have the funds? What is the best decision? We are already in debt, something we have not been in for over 5 years now, so what's another few hundred dollars? Through much prayer and consideration, over and over again, the Lord has told us no. Both DearHubby and I are torn, sad, mad, frustrated, etc... over this, but we know we have to do God's will.

Thank you so much for extending this offer to us! Have a blessed time!

In Pursuit of His Call

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Snippet from the Day...

We just had a wonderful evening with prospect missionaries to Ethiopia! It's so encouraging spending time with other brothers and sisters so on fire for the Lord and it's such a reminder of God's steadfast love and His bountiful saving grace!!!

Snippet from the Day...

I am having a challenging day :( and I am having a difficult time trusting and rejoicing, even when I know from His Word and in my life that God is steadfast in love and He has dealt bountifully with me...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Home Life...

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Our lender received the appraisal report for our home and from it we were given 2 conditions to meet for the approval of our refinancing loan:
1. We need to tear down the buildings on the back of our property (old chicken coops).

2. We need to show proof that our addition passed the final inspection and meets all codes.

We received this notice on Thursday and I just broke down in tears. We have been trying to refinance since January and there has been one obstacle after another that has kept us from getting refinanced. It was quite frustrating as DearHubby and I think we are perfect candidates for a bank to give money to. Our credit score is higher than 750, which puts us in the Excellent category and our house is appraised much higher than what we needed for this loan. Either way one looks at it, the bank will get their money. If we keep the loan, then they can be assured that it will be paid monthly. If we can't keep the loan, for some reason, and we foreclose and the bank takes over our property, they would be able to sell our home for more than double what we're borrowing. So, it has been very disheartening to go through so many loop holes just to get this loan.

In response, we told the bank that we are able to show proof that our addition passed final inspection and meets all codes and that's what DearHubby worked on this weekend. He took Friday off to start work on all the final details of the addition (and even hallway); in other words, trim installation. We hope to get our final inspection done on Wednesday.

In response to the first condition, DearHubby told the bank that we will not be tearing down the buildings as they are valuable to us since they serve as storage areas for us now. The bank forwarded our response to their underwriters and we are now just waiting for our loan results, whether we have been approved or disapproved.

Although it's a very frustrating situation, we know that God is in control and whatever decision the underwriters make, we know it is God's will. Yet, we do pray for God's grace on our behalf and move the hearts of the underwriters to approve our loan. We were due to close on this loan on August 26th.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Notes...A Woman After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George

CHAPTER 8 (1st half of chapter)

Scriptures used in chapter:
Admonish the young women to love their husbands. (Titus 2:4, NKJV)

Ointment and perfume delight the heart, And the sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel. (Proverbs 27:9, NKJV)

The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, But the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil. (Proverbs 15:28, NKJV)

Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad. (Proverbs 12:25, NKJV)

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:5, NKJV)

But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. (Luke 6:35, NKJV)

Key points (from previous notes):
- You are to hold your husband first in your heart after God

Yes, But How?
- What can you do to show your husband affectionate, indulgent, friendship love?

...3. Prepare for Your Husband Daily - "Let the wife make her husband glad to come home." (Martin Luther)
.....- Prepare the house - communicate to your husband "I'm glad you're home."
.....- Prepare your appearance
.....- Prepare your greeting
.....- Set the table
.....- "The king is in the castle!"
.....- "The party!" - Rejoice that the best part of the day has arrived - when your husband gets home and the party is about to begin!
.....- Clear out all visitors
.....- Stay off the phone
For wives arriving after husband:
.....- Prepare all the way home
.....- Pray all the way home

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tip...Auto Soak It

Did you know that there is an Auto Soak setting on your washer? I have a 15 minute Auto Soak and a 30 minute Auto Soak. Wow, has this been a time saver for me! I have 3 little girls so I have to preserve my eldest's clothes for hand me downs. Well, I used to hand wash all the clothes that had stains on them until I discovered Oxi-Clean and Auto Soak. I spray the stained clothing with the Oxi-Clean spray, put a scoop of Oxi-Clean powder (along with regular detergent) in with the load, and set the washer to Hot and a 30 minute Auto Soak. No fail, the stains are gone at the end of the wash cycle! No more hand washing!

Tip...If It's a Valid Complaint, Make It

A few weeks ago while I was at Wal-Mart, I got into a little accident. As a pulled into the parking lot, the cart stalls were overflowing with carts, past the metal stopper on the ground. I left the girls in the car to get a cart from one of the overflowing cart stalls and as I pulled the cart out, 3 carts started rolling away towards the cars in front of it. I went after the 1st cart, retrieved it, and parked it back into the overflowing cart stall. As I pushed the cart in, about 6 or 7 carts, stuck together, started rolling away towards the car in front of it. I went to stop the carts by jumping in front of it and the carts knocked me down and ran over me. A lady, drove by, stuck her head out the window and said, "I saw carts flying and I was waiting for you to go down." I told her I did go down. So she went into Wal-Mart to complain about the carts. When I got myself together and the girls in a cart, I also went in to make a complaint. None of the associates behind the Customer Service desk asked me if I wanted to file an Incident Report, something I was not aware existed. Instead, they told me that another lady already complained and the situation was being taken care of. When I went back out, 45 minutes later, after shopping, the carts were all still there. They had not cleared the overflowing cart stalls. Unfortunately, I did not return to the store to complain again.

I was feeling uneasy about the situation because I felt like my complaint was ignored. Some one could have easily gotten injured, especially a little child, like one of my girls, if I had them with me getting a cart. So, I went to the Wal-Mart website and filled out one of the customer feedback forms. In about a day, a manager from Wal-Mart called me and asked me to go back to the store to file an Incident Report. They also gave me the number of their insurance company just in case I was injured. I did have some achiness afterwards, but it went away, so I didn't pursue going to the doctor.

Well, I am so glad I made that complaint because I have gone back to Wal-Mart at least 3 times since filing that report and the cart stalls were either empty or they had employees out in the parking lot collecting the carts. I would like to think that my complaint made a difference and I am now a firm believer that if you have a valid complaint, make it.

Home Life...

I was inspired by a Facebook friend to take pictures of my children daily. As a result, it's been precious because it has helped me cherish my girls all the more. These daily pictures are posted on their blog, Their Big World.

Last Wednesday I celebrated my 34th birthday. It was a hard day to get through because I struggled with a hardened heart all day. To make a long story short, things didn't go the way I wanted them to. I was looking forward to a quiet and low key celebration with my family, but instead it turned out to be a very stressful day. As a result of feeling so overwhelmed and stressed out, I responded many times out of impatience and anger.

As I struggled through the day and gave in to my fleshly responses of impatience and anger, I came across this verse that really struck and convicted my heart, "Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?" (Romans 6:16, ESV). Through Jesus Christ, we have been set free from the bondage of sin and with His strength, we are now able to turn from sin and go towards righteousness. Yet, when I respond according to my sinful nature, I am presenting myself as an obedient slave to it, which I am not. I am a slave to righteousness through Christ and sin does not have dominion over me, so why do I act like it?

I am so thankful that God is a God of reconciliation and restoration and that I can seek for His forgiveness and also forgiveness from the ones I sinned against. Well, in the end, I still had a nice celebration dinner with some friends and we also went out for dessert afterwards.

Other than my hardened heart on my actual birthday, my DearHubby actually made my birthday really special. He's been working hard at work and at home lately and the girls and I have barely seen him. My only birthday wish was for us to spend some time together and that's what he gave me. He gave us time when he took us to the beach to look for Cape May Diamonds the Saturday before my birthday. Then, every day afterwards, until my birthday, he had a surprise for me. At the end of my birthday, he held his arms wide open and said he had one last surprise. He gave me the biggest hug and told me what a wonderful wife and mother I am and how much more he loves me now than when we first married. It was quite romantic.

This week, we're working on getting all of our refinancing paperwork in. We pray that we can be approved for a lowered interest rate to save ourselves some money.