The Invasion

A band of of high intelligence military personnel burst through the door (of the bathroom while I was cleaning it), chanting “We are the army! We are the army!”

Fortunately, I was able to snag a few pictures of them before they were on to their next assignment (the first of which had been “Alert Mother to Current Status of Offspring”.  I went back to scrubbing the tub, so I’m not sure what the next mission was.)  Its a good thing I have such great protectors around here.  And a good thing they warned me who they were, before I thought my real children had disappeared.”

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How to Successfully Kill a Blog-in 3 Easy Steps

Step 1– make a blog using iWeb and then have your computer crash.  Been there, done that-3 years ago.

Step 2-write about hard topics that offend the people you live around.  Been there, done that– 1 month ago.

Step 3-forget to renew your domain name, and have missionaries in Haiti take it, thus leaving you blogging into cyberspace with no address for people to find it. Just did it.

Having just taught you how to crucify your blogging efforts, I would now like to announce my NEW web address for my blog. hahem! (drum roll, please)…

www.lovingtheleastofthese.com

yah, I know, its practically the same as it was before, but darn it, I was rather fond of my old address and it’s a bummer I can’t have it any more…so this is the next closest thing that was available! And by the way, if you actually click on it, it will just take you right back to what you are reading right now.

So, all six of you who actually follow my blog, please take some time to bookmark the new address, or better yet, subscribe!

An Isaac experience….

I don’t know if it was just God testing my willingness, or what, but Terry and Murray STILL haven’t come to stay with us. When I wrote the Unexpected Guests post, they were schedule to move their stuff in in the next day or so, but something always came up.  Whenever they were suppose to come, they’d call and tell us they weren’t coming after all. They had a late night church function here, or Danny and I were going to be away until late a couple of evenings, and then Terry got an overnight temp job.  So they are STILL living out of their truck. Let me tell you, its 98 degrees today and 100 % humidity.  We’ve seen them several times and talked to them on the phone a bunch and they actually seem very content with life as it is.

This is the second time THIS month that we’ve been rejected by someone homeless.  Chris, a homeless guy, who came to try to re-enroll at RTS several months ago (he’s a BRILLIANT man, but seems to be too smart for his own good and has been homeless for the past seven years, walking clear across the United States hitting up every major seminary-no one will let him in because he doesn’t have any ID) was suppose to start staying with us Memorial Day weekend. But the day he was suppose to come to our house, he got upset with the couple he HAD been staying with and then left town.  We haven’t been able to find him at all.

We’ve NEVER had this happen before…Its usually us turning down the next homeless person knocking at the door, instead of having a vacant room and looking for someone to fill it.

As I was thinking about this conundrum, I realized that maybe God just wanted to test our willingness, just like he did to Abraham and then give our home back to us just like He gave Abraham’s son back to him (Gen 22).  I don’t know.  I do feel God’s grace in it, because He knows how much work raising four small children is, and He also knows how much MORE work taking two people and two large dogs in would be.  As for now, I will just continue to lay my life (and my home) out as a sacrifice and be ready for the ways God sees fit to use it.

From the mouthes of babes…

This morning I was reading Acts 13 4-12 to the kids at breakfast.  Its the story of the Jewish sorcerer opposing Paul when he was trying to share the Gospel with the proconsul.  Paul “let’s ’em have it” and when I get to those parts I tend to be a little animated when I read.

When I was done, Daniel Josiah said, “Paul was good at yelling.  He got good pratciss. (we’re still working on the pronunciation of ‘practice’) First he yelled at the people who believed in Jesus….(contemplative pause)…. and then he yelled at the people who didn’t believe in Him.’

Yes, my child, Paul was good at “yelling” I guess. And often God takes our pagan yellings and he turns our passions around and conforms them to His will and we start yelling for Jesus.  Just like the yelling Saul who became the preaching Paul.

Unexpected Guests and the Little Deaths

I just had to swing by Winn-Dixie really quick after church and then I was gonna get the kids fed and down for naps so that I could get a good “Sabbath rest” in aka, read a good book, go for a run, and have time with Danny.  As I pulled out of the parking lot, I saw it.  Cardboard  sign with sharpie marker scribbled all over it “Homeless, need food, gas, and shelter. Please help. Thank you and God bless.” I pulled over, and asked the blonde woman with a sweet face behind the sign if she want to come home with me for lunch.  Her husband was sitting in their large, old suburban in the parking lot and she said they didn’t have enough gas to get to our house just a mile away.  Instead I met them at the gas station just one parking lot over.  I asked questions as we filled their tank up, and  I quickly found out that this wasn’t your typical homeless couple.  She was enrolled as a virtual student at Liberty University.  He was a “rider” (motorcycle, that is) turned pastor.  They had only been homeless for two months and the tiny country church they were members of could do little more than offer them their parking lot to “camp out” on in their big truck.

As we sat around the lunch table we found that Murray was an evangelist at heart and although he saw a lot wrong with the modern Church (don’t we all?), his desire is to go to where the people are to bring the good news of Jesus to them.  Terry was a sweet woman with a humble spirit who had few complaints-  Despite the fact they were living out of their truck.  Despite taking showers at the local camp ground, while making pots of pork-n-beans over a campfire for dinner.  Despite parking their truck a the church parking lot, tucked away and in a “safe spot” in the 90 degree weather (with Florida’s intense humidity level thrown in as a bonus) Despite all this, the couple said that they keep trusting the Lord one day at a time.  “He keeps being faithful” they said.  They count it a blessing that their small car broke down and they ended up buying “the truck” for $400 a couple of months before they lost their now-condemned rental home. “Its perfect for us to lie down in the back, and sometimes we even hook up the portable dvd player we salvaged and watch a movie while we’re in there”  Whether it was a bag of dog food (they have two big dogs that live with them in the truck) and some sandwiches given by one of the church members, or someone who puts $10 of gas in their tank they said that God keeps providing for them and showing them He hasn’t forgotten them.

It was refreshing to be around such need again.  Not refreshing like going to a spa and getting your nails done refreshing…more like refreshing to have to face the little crucifixions that come along with serving my neighbor in need.  Like the list of things I had really wanted to do on my Sunday afternoon as a busy mom of four. Death to my to-do list. Or my nicely stocked pantry that I emptied so that they would have some food for the next several days. Death to Kimberly’s control and her meal planning. Or my home, it’s cleanliness, and my family’s rhythm of life as we’ve offered them our extra room and our back porch for the dogs. Death to my comfort, my privacy, my convenience. We were suppose to rent that room out this summer because we technically can’t afford this house without a renter. Death to my financial plan and peace of mind. Oh, the deaths.  But, oh, the joys.  The joys of making new friends out of the unlikeliest people. The joys of being stretched out of my comfort zone. The joys of being forced to cling to the promises that “He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed” (Pr.11:25)  or “He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord”(Pr.19:17)  or “My God will supply all your needs” (Phil 4:19) or “Seek first the Kingdom of God and HIS righteousness and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:33).  May Kimberly’s flesh die and may the Spirit of God live in me so that my walk is HIS Word and nothing else. To live is Christ and to DIE is gain (Phil. 1:21)

Our Little Graduate

After much study, hard work, and a couple of all-nighters. We made it. Summa Cum Laude and Valedictorian of his class. Graduate day was here.

Actually, it was just his 4 year old preschool graduation day, and no study, all-nighters, or prestigious honors were involved, but it WAS a marking of God’s faithfulness and goodness to us as a family.

You see, as the typical-overly-ambitious-homeschool-mom, last fall I had just moved, just had a baby, and was driving myself and my kids crazy with these visions of what preschool homeschool should look like. It was JUST starting to spiral downwards, and one day I indulged looking at a preschool website.  I thought, “That would be my dream preschool, if I ever sent my kids to preschool.”  And then after a few more weeks of insanity, exhaustion on my part, and bickering amongst the kids, I had a breakdown. And not just a cry-and-get-it-out-of your-system breakdown.  More like a “God-is-this-‘No-birth-control-thing’-just-a-cruel-joke?!?” breakdown.  Danny, in his profound wisdom, decided that it was time for us to utilize Florida state’s free voluntary preschool option. And mommy started looking into preschools seriously.  I quickly found that any REALLy good Christian preschool were all filled up with a mile long wait list.  The ones that had openings, were pretty pathetic programs.  Then there was one last one on the list, and it happened to be the SAME school that I had glanced at a month prior.  I KNEW that they had to be filled, but decided to pray all weekend and then call first thing Monday morning.  9:15am, with my hand shaking and my voice squeaking, I ask “You don’t by chance, possibly, maybe have a spot open for your VPK program starting this January maybe, do you?”  The voice on the other end said “You are not going to believe this but one of our students is moving this week and JUST pulled out of one of our classes.  We NEVER have openings, but if you come down and fill out the paperwork today, we can get your son in!”   Simply miraculous, if you ask me.  So, five months later, with happy little boy who had made a lot of good friends, and a now-sane mother who actually enjoyed her children again, we celebrated Daniel Josiah’s graduation from preschool.  You see, that handsome little boy donned in blue, signifies alot more than just having learned his ABC’s and how to write his name and address, it signifies that God is overwhelmingly good. And, although I had doubted, and I mean REALLy doubted, God has used this experience to showed me that he truly does “gently lead those that have young.” (Isaiah 40:11)

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