Saturday, April 28, 2007

A (New) Roof Over Our Heads

Last Saturday we had our 23-year-old roof replaced. Some shingles had gotten slap-happy up there, others were ready to fly the coop, but most were just beaten down by the cares of life.

I can't say how relieved I was that Paul agreed to let professionals handle this job. Words can't describe the terror that grips me whenever he has been up there to clean out the gutters every fall. I mean autumn. I hate to use the word "fall" in this context. (Not to be dramatic, but my hands are shaking even as I type this.)

My typical response to his being on the roof is indescribable panic, manifested by a bossy but shaky voice, sweaty hands, a racing heart, and an irrational belief that if he really loved me, he would not get on the roof. I don't care what it costs, I don't care if other neighbors clean out their gutters themselves, you don't have anything to prove, I'd say. I will love you even if you break your neck, but I will never let you forget I told you so, and do you really want to live with that the rest of your life?

Since 1999 (when we moved here) Paul has been blocking his ears to my desperate pleas. But Mr, Rational, Mr. DIY, Mr. Get a Grip, finally relented this year.

We found an excellent roofing company, Lemus Roofing, recommended by Brian Y, whose advice we highly respect in the home improvement department. Jose Lemus and his team of about 7 or 8 guys showed up promptly at 8 and were completely finished and cleaned up by 4:30. I was so impressed. Twice I took chilled water out to them and asked, "Agua?" and they said, "Gracias." That's the extent of my Spanish, I'm afraid. Imagine if I were bilingual, I'd probably have been telling them to be careful, stay away from the edge, watch yourself on that ladder, yada-o-,yada-o.

They didn't use scaffolding, which scared me and surprised me. But I must give God the glory for calming my fears. When the hammering started, I said, "Paul, I'm outta here. I can't take this. My nerves are gonna be shot by 10. Give me a long to-do list, and everywhere you want me to go, I'll go." He told me there was plenty to do around here, he'd prefer I stick by. (Not what I wanted to hear, so I had to go to God and say, "Okay, I need to stay here. Help me. Help me not be afraid."

And I was amazed. I really didn't have any more panic. I closed the shades so there'd be no peeping Pablos. (Then I decided just to use the kids' bathroom which has no windows at all.)

Here are some shots during and after this not-so-harrowing-after-all project. We are rehabbing the whole exterior this year because it's in such bad shape. Siding has green growth on it, lots of dents, and the aluminum has faded to a dull beige. Downspouts are more like "down and outs"! Only half the windows work, so we get few cross-breezes. And before the new siding goes up, we're restaining the deck. Paul and the boys took turns pressure-washing/stripping it today. It's a 2-day, 3-man job that's now half-finished. We also hired real arborists, Manor Tree Service, owned and operated by Mike Connell and his son Alan, one of Ben's good buddies. Pictures below show Mike and Allan in action. That's why there's a woodpile on the lawn. They took down 4 trees that had outgrown their space and just become green shrouds for the house. If you click on any picture, you'll enlarge it. So the new roof color does show up, but so does the scariness of those amigos gettin' mighty close to the brink of ....well, at least an ER visit. More home improvement pictures coming!)

Friday, April 27, 2007

Good Ole Home Remedy

Yesterday I got home from picking up Sarah from math class at 10:30. I was so tired and sleepy I couldn't keep my eyes open. Running a fever yet freezing all over, I curled up under a heating blanket.

Joel said, "What's wrong, Mom?"

"I'm sick," I said. "I have a headache, my nose is running, I have a cough, I'm shivering, and I can't stay awake."

"You need some chicken noodle soup," he said, matter-of-factly. "Do you want me to make you some?"

Mind you, this is my five-year-old prescribing treatment for me. The one I always prescribe for my family when they've got these symptoms. But how sweet of him to offer to make soup for me! I'm sure if he could, he would. Sometimes just a kind offer, albeit unrealistic, is all it takes to make ya feel a lot better.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Want to Sew Gifties for Russians?

We are supposed to take plenty of little inexpensive,lightweight gifts to Russia with us. Some for children, some for adults. There will be interpreters, drivers,
teachers, caregivers, and other people we meet that it would be nice to give a gift to.

So I got to wondering...those of you who would like to send your love tangibly in my suitcase....I have a few ideas.

: these would use up your scraps. I'm thinking 3x3 inches, stuffed with new dryer sheets, leaving about 1/2inch (fingerwidth) opening along one seam for a person to pull a dryer sheet out if someone wants the practical use of the sheets. If not, it makes a great scent for the closet or dresser drawer. I suggest putting a ribbon loop on one corner, to hook over a hanger. My mantra is "no two alike."

Little toys
. I do mean LITTLE, as in palm-sized. We only get to take one suitcase of our own for the 2 weeks, and will have to take a GAIN suitcase with us that contains whatever requested aid they've given us (books, care packs, clothing, school supplies). So gifts have to be small and easy to pack, nonbreakable, nonliquid, nonwarlike.

Baseball or football caps. I hear anything about AMerican sports is well-loved over there. Baseball or football caps would be easy to tote. Let me know if this is something you'd like to send from your city.

Scented soaps, small votive candles, small cosmetics. These are on the list of things the ladies like but seldom get treated to. Again, let me know. I have a feeling the generosity of my friends could fill an entire suitcase or two (mine and Sarah's) and leave us no room for the luxuries (like our clothes).

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

It's a Have-to

Bipolar disorder is such an ugly thing. I think I have it. From the research I've done, it certainly points to such a diagnosis. From my life experiences, ditto. In the doctor's office yesterday, while I was waiting for her to see me, I was reading a poster that lists the differences between depression and bipolar. The main difference is that depression only has "one pole," so to speak. South. Low.Down. Bipolar has the 2 opposite extremes, North and South, mania and depression, high and low.

The doctor came in and gave all good reports, as I said in my last post. Then she asked me how the medicine is.

"It's been a real grace from God," I said. "Sometimes I try to go off of it when I'm feeling good and stable, but Day one I am headachey and lethargic, Day 2 I am irritable and short-tempered, and my Day 3 I am in the dark."

"Don't try to go off it," she advised gently but firmly, with her beautiful deep blue eyes listening along with her eyes. "Stay on it. It's not a want-to, it's a have-to."

I went on medicine for depression 2 years ago, and my life has been amazingly more bearable.
Spring used to bottom me out emotionally. I hated Mother's Day. Didn't like the daughter I was or the mother I was. I still don't like the day because it smacks of all the things I'm doing wrong, but I have to quickly catch that Satan loves Mother's Day. He loves to taunt, accuse, lie, badger, and condemn us. Very little comfort from the pulpit penetrates my breaking heart. Nothing kind my kids can say on that day makes up for the times I've failed them. The appreciation I expect is just that: expected, so if I don't get it, I fall into self-pity . I start rehashing my laundry list of what they should thank me for, which absolutely includes the laundry!!!

So I am in that pre-Mother's Day cycle where bipolar takes an ugly turn. I have the hardest time forgiving others in the spring. Hard time handling stress. Feeling alone. You'd think it'd be Christmas, but no, it's not. It's April. It's May. It's when everything is blooming but my heart . When the ground outside is opening up, but the ground of my feelings gets crustier.

The doctor asked how the medicine is working. It's a very low dose daily that I take. I'm seldom high, but seldom low either .Except today. I am low today. Not as low as I used to be pre-med ,but like I just want to curl up into fetal position in a dark room and shut out the world and all its ugliness. The trouble is I can't bury my heart of darkness. Can't shut out the feelings of guilt, shame, can't make myself do better, try harder. When I'm in the manic phase, I am very talkative (personality on overload) ,hospitable, party girl, initiator of lots of stuff, coordinator/take charge gal, social butterfly, creative in the kitchen, decorator, everything strikes me funny, and I need maybe 4 hours sleep but then I'm ready to roll with all the ideas that have buzzed in my awake time.

However, when I'm going south, I need all the prayers of the saints and Jesus combined. Not only do I not concentrate well or make decisions well, my mind is a mine field. I either feel helpless, hopeless, and ashamed, or volatile, hyperactive, and out of control. Nothing's funny.

Well, my passport just came. That brings me up a little. Someone's praying.

There. I have opened myself up. You may judge me, you may thank me, but one thing's for sure: you can't say I don't realize what a nut case I am! So don't go praising me for all the initiative and hospitality or whatever you like and wish you might have more of, without realizing that God is gracing me with mania sometimes! He also is sustaining me when I just want to return from whence I came.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Memory of an Elephant?

I've decided I'm too chicken to take a "before" picture of my bedroom. I am cleaning it today.

There are 3 boxes of junk (some good junk,some junk junk) sitting in the northeast corner of the room. I thought it'd be fun to play a little game with you bloggers.
I will list 20 items that are there. You read over the list for one solid minute, no longer. Then jot down on paper as many as you can remember. When you can't remember anymore, then go to the comment box and type in your list. (If you go there first, someone may be helping you cheat).

This little exercise has absolutely no eternal value that I can see. But maybe it'll make you smile that your "elephants" have a quite the random diet, too!

BTW, you could consider this a tag!

Here's my list:

  1. Little Visits with God book
  2. Teddy bear
  3. broken wedding album
  4. baby doll
  5. electric guitar
  6. screwdriver
  7. trick flashlight
  8. Girl with a Watering Can (Renoir print, wrinkled)
  9. Map skills book
  10. yellow nail polish
  11. Ritz camera catalog
  12. Spiderman coloring book
  13. Birthday card
  14. chemistry lab kit
  15. Sara Groves CD
  16. old teaching CDs
  17. 2 photo frames
  18. metal spatula
  19. glue stick
  20. Aldi's box

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Eating Elephants This Week

I'm motivated now, I must admit. Reading about others' projects to get one or more areas of their home "spring cleaned" has given me the lift I've needed. Sunny days in the 80s this weekend also helped a lot.

On the Girl Talk blog, I read about how to just dig in and do it, no matter how daunting the task. How do you eat an elephant? they asked. One bite at a time. Maybe the linen closet is your elephant. Or the garage. Or the kitchen.

Elephants roam in herds, don't they? And they give birth to baby elephants, too, right? So, I have a herd to deal with, and their babies. The granddaddy of all elephants is my bedroom. While it once was a haven, a sanctuary for body, soul, and spirit, it is now --to stick with the elephantine metaphor--the Great African Pacchyderm with huge tusks and mud crusted on its legs. I'm talking three boxes in the corner that boast (?) an assortment of clutter from scrapbook memorabilia to Lego fugitives to church notes intended to be studied. This elephant has two dressers that need to be streamlined. Paul's and Joel's. I don't own a dresser. The walk-in closet is plenty enough space for me (and then some). Laundry tends to breed in my room, but socks never bear twins, if you know what I mean.

The Mama Elephant (which, for a change, is not a reference to myself) would be our home office. The computer room. I actually began eating this elephant tonight and feel much better about it.
There is a baby elephant in my dining room, but thanks to a free buffet table from Bonnie--who gave me the hutch that matches--I can now put behind doors what has been piling up in boxes in the corner . Joel's art stuff, mostly. And seldom-used kitchen items.

Baby elephants include the laundry room, the living room, and my craft/Ebay areas. A little more thinking through organization will help a lot. I'm very interested in any tips from you real people that have found helpful organizing "zoos" for everyday elephants.

These elephants have to be eaten like snacks this week, in between a beekeeper's field trip, a doctor's appointment, postal runs, and preparing for Sarah's birthday celebration. (She's 18 today. We had to postpone a fine dinner out until her grandmother returns from New Mexico.)

What are your Big and Little Elephants? How can I pray for you? You can pray for me by asking God to remind me "for whose glory?"

Friday, April 20, 2007

My lIttle Girl Will Be 18

World's Best Daughter,
Sarah Grace.
God gave us more than
all the riches of Solomon's kingdom
the day you were born.
From the time I found out I was carrying
you, I wanted to see your face and be close
to you all the time. Still today, I feel the
same way. I am so happy, so blessed, so
privileged, to have you in my life. You
are sweet, gentle, compassionate, tender-
hearted, forgiving, bright, diligent, a true
servant, amazing with children, abounding
in love. A young Ruby of a Woman. Full of
grace, devoted to God. In a word: beautiful.

Happy 18th Birthday two days early, precious girl!

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Pick a Visa Picture!

Today is the last day our passports can come that'll still give me time to Express Mail our visa application before they charge $100 per person late fees.

We can either go to Walgreens and get pics taken for $7.98 for 2, or do it ourselves. Pictures have to be 2x2 color, plain background, with head filling at least an inch. (I thought that was funny.)

So, bein' in a goofy mood, I thought I'd offer a contest to my faithful few bloggin' buds.

It's a .............

"Pick My Visa Picture" Contest.

Here are the choices:

Cheeky Weeky

Poodle in PJs

Hey, Visa Boy. Try 'n Find Me.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Envelope, Please!

Okay, here I am. Paul asked me to go drop off his car with him, then we rode together to pick Sarah off from work who didn't get out of there till 9:25. Just before we left Dana came by to pick up her grandbaby items from our yard sale and she handed us more money.

So, are you ready? Thanks for your edge-of-the-seat push for the total.

The grand total from the yard sale alone is..........


If you consider the sale went officially from 8-2, we made about $137 an hour. Not too shabby! I am VERY pleased. I was hoping to hit a thousand in cash alone, but I tend to dream big.Actually, I see have more non-cash donations that came in Friday night as we were pricing, donations in the way of clothing, a train set, some Creative Memories stuff, and maybe a thing or two else to put on eBay. Sarah got an unexpected birthday present from out-of-town friends (her 18th is this coming Sunday) but we didn't include that.

I deposited $962 in checks today Tomorrow I'll shove this cash in the account, add it to the 871 that's in the savings and to the 1600 we've sent to GAin for our deposit. That brings the in-hand total to about $4057.

I have over 500 more coming from eBay this week, though it probably won't arrive in time to send in. Then again, the passports haven't come either. I imagine some folks are still going to contribute, and I will continue to sell on eBay and through the Pennysaver until we've reached our goal,
In order to make the official April 23rd deadline, we may have to put a small amount on our credit card, but I am determined not to carry a balance. Of course we need more than 6000 because the visas are 200 each (not a part of the original 6000-dollar quote) plus domestic airfare, gifts to take to the interpreters and hostesses, orphanage workers, children, drivers, etc.

I am happy. You can breathe now. Breathe a prayer of thanks out to the Lord for His ongoing and generous provision!

Yard Sale Cash Total Contest!

My daughter and missions partner, Sarah, had a brilliant idea, considering that so many of you are antsy to find out how much we raked in at the yard sale.

Her idea? Let you GUESS.

When: From now till 9 pm EST today when I post the total.

Prize for the person who guesses closest (and it's OKAY to go OVER!): You get to make a donation that matches your guess! :)

Let the guessing begin!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Yay! Yard Sale is Over & Was it Ever Good!

Thank you to so many of you for your enthusiastic support! I didn't realize how many people cared about this yard sale. Prayers were being offered near and far, from all reports! I don't know what to say!

Let me try to recap the answered prayers.

1) The location was ideal. Better than at our church. Let's just say the zip code helped,for starters. Mitzy (our cg leader's wife) grew up in the home that her parents restored the 1905 farmhouse on a large acre to a show-stopping, head-turning grand estate. I'm sure passersby and frequent gawkers just wanted to set foot in the back yard . The home is on a well-traveled road with safe and plentiful parking on a side street.

2) The weather was perfect. Sandwiched between windy overcast skies that moved out Friday, and torrential rain that came in this morning (Sunday) was Saturday's storybook weather .Cool enough for people to reach for long-sleeved clothing for sale, yet warm enough to make them pick up summer clothes also. Cool enough for people to want to eat to keep warm on homebaked goods but warm enough for kids to want drinks. We didn't separate baked good sales from other sales, but if I had to guess, we probably made at least 1/3 on food alone! And such variety! Brownies, cookies, Rice Krispies treats, shortbread, pumpkin loaf, sprinkled cupcakes, chocolate-covered apples, banana-pecan tea loaf, Jewish apple cake (which, the Lord knew--but the baker did not-- is Mitzy's dad's all time favorite. We gave it to him as a thank-you for letting us use their place.

3) Shoppers came early, while we were still setting up, and still came while we were packing up. The only lull coincided when we really needed it to--about 11:00, I think, when we had been on our feet since 6 a.m.

4) Remember I posted that God had burdened me to pray for a woman who would come shopping but what the Lord wanted to give her were the words of eternal life? And remember that someone (me) doing pricing in the garage a couple nights before, nearly vetoed putting out the Bible on cassette because it was on cassette? (I had asked the group, "Does anyone listen to tapes anymore?") Well, this lady came around 10:10-15 I think, and was just sort of roaming, picking stuff up, putting it down. Moving about aimlessly.
This is the story as Brian told us after she left (he had served her, and I missed it! I was helping elsewhere, but this is way cool). After finding nothing to satisfy her, she picked up an item and exclaimed, "This is it! I KNEW there was a reason I was still milling around!" She held up the Bible on Cassette to Brian. "I need more Bible in me. I can listen to this in my car and I don't have to spend 75 bucks to get it on CD!"

By far, that was the HIGHLIGHT of my day!!!! She had come looking for something, and left with the words of Eternal Life!!!!

5) We had help. In addition to Jim and Mitzy, Paul, Sarah, Stephen, and me, two others came to help. Brian showed up before 6:30 a.m and stayed till almost 6 pm. What a heart he has. A joyful, helpful, evangelistic, great-with-kids guy, a grad student in something like biocellularnuclearphysics kind of thing that impresses me. He even laughs at my jokes! I told Paul he is son-in-law material. He said, "Zo, he's 28 years old." I reiterated, "He's son-in-law material. I didn't say WHOSE son-in-law." Also Karen L helped a good deal with her usual cheery attitude.

6) I didn't lose my cool, even when once offended and once irritated. The offense came about 1:30. We had marked everything half price at noon (except baked items, which simply got negotiated). EVerything including my beloved Apple dishes which Paul had given me as a gift a few years ago, I had treasured them, but God graced me to pack up for the sale.
A 43-piece set, mind you, including platter, large serving bowl, sugar bowl, creamer, spoon rest. This woman about 55-60 years old sees the price had come down from $30 to $20 to $10. It was kiiling me.
She says, "Are any of the dishes chipped?"
Just one, I showed her.
"Will you take 5 for it?"
I wanted to cry .Five dollars? "I'll meet you halfway at 7.50," I said, regretting the words as they spilled out of my mouth.
"Seven fifty? Hmm. I'll have to think about that." She walked away.
The thought crossed my mind, "Good! Walk away! I'd rather just GIVE something to a grateful person than sell it cheap to a greedy one!" But I didn't say it. I just thought, "Bet that's how God feels." Not that He sells anything, but the idea of His giving an abundance and we sometimes have this attitude,"I'll have to think about that"--and walk away from Him.

7) Some shoppers gave generously. While we were counting our money inside the house (Sarah and I), which Mitzy told us to do despite my reluctance to take a sit-down break while others worked, a man bought 4 baked goods. When he found out it was for a missions trip, he forked over 20 bucks. A couple with a stroller bought 13 dollars worth of stuff, handed me 40 and said "keep the change."

8) We got lots of laughs. The mannequin in the picture has been a conversation piece in Mitzy's parents' home for years and years. We dressed her the night before in some outrageous combo of donated clothes, wig, and cowboy hat, put a different neon green Thought Bubble near her and changed it from time to time throughout the day. Stationed at the "entrance" she got 7 offers to buy her and who knows how many strange looks.

9) Mitzy's girls (esp Natalie) played happily with Joel all day long. Rode bikes, played school, found toys on the tarps, ate donuts in the carriage-house-turned-garage, took a couple video breaks. Only two "incidents" required disciplinary action in the course of a very full day.

10) We are exhausted to the bone. but rejoicing that our efforts were not in vain. Back hurts, feet are tender, brain won't work fast (if at all). I was "sorely" tempted to stay home from church and rest. Take a sabbath on the couch with Bible and journal. But the conviction came strong: Paul got up and went early to play on the worship team even though he was sick with a fever and ached all over, AND when I heard Sarah upstairs taking a shower for church, because not only did she did do massive amounts of work to get us ready for the sale, she worked the sale all day, helped clean up till 3:30, she then went and worked her regular job for over five hours last night! She is daughter-in-law material for some other blessed family. IF her daddy and I can ever part with her. Which I doubt. We might share her if she promises to live next door and not cart off grandkids to Russia or somewhere!

Thanks again .I'm including some pictures we took. Wish I had taken more but I didn't want to be too conspicuous, and besides, business was booming! The baby I'm holding is the cutest blue-eyed bunny in the whole world. His name is Noah and he belongs to Kelly who baked oodles of goodies for our bake sale, enough that we could share the leftovers among the help and take some home for breakfast!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Fun, Fatigue & "Four-letter Words"

Just a quick update here. The yard sale is gonna be HUGE and I do mean ENORMOUS. Like 1/2 acre big. So much has been donated--good stuff, and some REALLY good stuff!

Four gals from our care group did a book study/prayer/pricing party last night. We were all punchy by about 9:30 and started taking guesses at what was coming out of the boxes. You know, the not-so-good stuff that makes you ask, "What the heck?"

Here's what you would've heard in her garage.

1) "Is this an evening gown or a shower curtain?"
2) "Does anyone actually listen to cassette tapes anymore?"
3) " Leave the battery out of the keyboard and it'll sell. It's so annoying!"
4) "How much do dry-rotted toilet rugs go for?"
5) "If Casey the Kinderbot doesn't sell, I want him back."
6) "Garden Canopy set $75. Complete except for canopy."
7) "Run me a tab, Zo. These clothes are from Talbot's!"

Stephanie Smith was asking me about directional arrows on the signs she's making. "So you want 4 signs with arrows going left and 4 with arrows going right. right, right, Miss Zoanna?"

"Yup. You are such a good ArrowSmith."

Thus went our fun till 11 o'clock when all was said and done.

But boy are we feeling it today. My back is achey. All my muscles hurt. Something feels really wrong in my abdomen. It's a localized sharp pain on the left side when I bend forward or right after I eat. Mitzy, Sarah, three kids and I went out to her parents' home (where the yard sale will be. It will probably resemble an odd twist on a family reunion). There we unloaded my van, priced her parents' contributions, and let the kids play. AT one point we did get their help. I said, "Ethan, will you please carry this garment bag?"

He looked at me very sternly and asked. "Why did you say a bad wuhd?"
"A bad word? I said will you carry this garment bag? What did you think I said?"
"A bad wuhd," and he wouldn't repeat it. (I figured out he probably thought I said "a dammit bag.") Kids!_

More answers to prayer: the skies really brightened up today!! In fact, it was warm enough for T-shirts with windows rolled down on the van. The weekend is shaping up so well. This morning was a downpour, but by 10 all was sweetly warm and sunny!

Got $250 more in the mail. Yesterday I sold the baby gates and umbrella stroller to a new grandma friend named Dana.

People are donating delicious homebaked goodies. We've got 10 mini pumpkin loaves from Krista, chocolate covered apples from Missy, chocolate peanut butter cookies from Bev, brownies from Miss Wilma and Michelle B, carrot cake from Barb C, and a whole lot more I haven't seen yet.

It's 10:09. I must go help Sarah price some more stuff. Tomorrow a girl is coming at 9 to look at a rocker I put in the Pennysaver. Then it's another loooooong day of hauling. My van is packed to the gills. Mitzy's, too. Jim is coming by for lots of big stuff and, bless his heart, more than one trip to the site which is 20 minutes from here. I am so blessed. I can't thank God enough for all these wonderful siblings in Christ!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Almost Forgot

The Lord is sweet to remind you of Mary-like things when you're busy being Martha.

A little while ago I got a small package in the mail that I had requested from GAiN. I asked for as many brochures as they could fit into a priority flat rate envelope. (It's a lot.) These are to be put on tables at our sale.

It didn't hit me for a little while, and then like a storm surge--WHOOSH!-the Lord prompted me to pray for people coming to the sale. I asked Him to please "let me see it in her eyes" a person who needs the Word, Jesus Himself. I picture someone coming who has been searching for things money can buy, but isn't satisfied. Maybe she's getting a shopping "fix" at the yard sale, but what she really needs money cannot buy. The words of eternal life. Immediately I cried out to God to make me sEnsitIve to needs of people, not just be "dealing" with the crowd. But like Jesus to look on the multitude w/ compassion.

This is my prayer today. Please intercede that I spot the woman
(or women) I think God is gonna bring my way.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Another Answer to Prayer!

Kim from the Health Dept called a half hour ago. It was worth being awakened from my nap to take her call.

She said, "Just wanted to get back to you and let you know that we do not regulate bake sales. If you were retail, you would need a license, but since you are raising money for a nonprofit organization, and since we don't regulate yard sales from private residences, then you can do whatever you want foodwise. I would just advise not having anything potentially hazardous like we talked about--cream based items, meringues, cheesecake--or anything like that would need to be refrigerated."

I thanked her very much for calling me back. I didn't really expect she'd get back to me till tomorrow like she had anticipated, so this is not only a good answer, it came sooner than I'd thought!

Now just keep praying for sunny skies. So sunny that people will get thirsty and want to buy our soda, and so happy they want to celebrate with food, or so hungry, or so compelled by the delectables on our bake table, or so nagged by children wanting a get the idea.

Another cool thing just happened, too. I advertised an anthology on the Tapestry of Grace forum. This thing, as I stated, is old, has bent edges, lots of highlighting. I bought it that way dirt cheap a while back. A lady in Missouri asked about it today and wanted to know how much money I wanted for it. I told her all the facts, that monetarily it's probably worth $3, but that whatever amount she paid would go directly to our missions fund. I sent her the info, then took a nap.

When I awoke, I checked the status of my ebay account. So much activity there! The Lord is really blessing that little venture. Well, I saw a username in my Paypal overview that I didn't recognize. This woman had given 10 times more than I had asked for the book!

Between people we ran into today and what came in the mail today, we got $133 between noon and 3 today!

We are up to $3628. We need $6000.

Please keep praying our passports come in time for us to get our visa apps in on time. Late fees are hefty.

Pray, as I said, for sunny, but not scorching, skies on Saturday. Picnic weather. Yard sale weather.

Praise God for His favor on us. Thanks!!!!!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Prayer Rquests for This Week

Those of you who are intereceding for us and our trip.... please ask the Lord these things:

1) to get our passports here in time (like April 20th) for GAiN to process our visas
2) sun, not the forecasted rain, for our yard sale Saturday
3) for the Health Dept to say yes , we can sell baked goods at the yard sale. It's too long to go into detail why this is iffy because the state doesn't regulate yard sale food, but this may be a little different. Pray I get my answer by Weds a.m.
4) if the HD says no, pray our pastors say yes we can have a bake sale Sunday. Homeschoolers have never had a reason to hold one yet, but if the HD says no, that's a HUGE chunk o' change lost. 5) that no one in this family gets any of the illnesses that are going around. Joel has a cold, and Paul had a touch of a stomach thing, but nothing put us out of commission.

That's it for now.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Morning Dawns

This exquisite view came custom painted to me by
God yesterday morning. Perhaps I can share His gift
with you.

Good News and Other News

Another very good day. First I woke up with a book on my mind. It's called The Peace Child, by Don Richardson. I haven't read it all--in fact, very little of it, but I want to. In a nutshell, it's the true story of how another culture discovers the story of divine redemption. What made me think of it was a fellow homeschool mom who wants to buy it from me. I told her yes yesterday but this morning was hesitant. AGH! I love missionary stories so much I like to hang onto them.

Then the Lord supercharged me with the idea of continuing a club for girls similar to Operation Gummi Worms, but expanded. It would be a monthly club for girls who want to reach out to the needy practically and spiritually. I was thinking of calling it the Young Rubies. Have two age groups, 6-11 and 12-17. I would brainstorm first to see what they'd come up with for service projects--visiting nursing homes, sending military care packages, baking to support the next missions trip that a homeschooler takes, sewing and filling Katrina Kits for the next natural disaster, and so on. I got really into the idea, all the way to wanting to have someone design a Young Rubies logo for T-shirts!

In the mail came a MOST unexpected amount of money from someone I don't know but who is a fellow believer. You know who you are and you will be thanked abundantly by both Sarah and me. I cried when I opened it. A relative also sent us money, and frankly, surprised me. So, I took all my checks from the past 3 days except one I'm holding till Tuesday, but when I do that'll be another 931 in our account. We are almost halfway there! That's the good news. We still need half. That's the Other News. But how grateful and optimistic I am!

Then, while at the Thrift Store looking for more eBayable clothing and a suit for Joel (found a really cute one $4.98), I struck up a conversation with a total stranger, new grandmother, former eBay seller, and sister in Christ who has been on a few missions trip with her husband and second son. Her first son was killed in a motorcylce accident in 2005 and she talked about him with tears in her eyes. One topic led to another and I gave her the address of our upcoming yard sale and she wrote it down, saying she LOVES yard sales and hopes we do well for our fundraising. We must've talked over 1/2 an hour before all was said and done. That was a pleasant interlude. I also found several items half price to sell for probably 5-10x what I paid!

At Aldi's my friend Michelle B said God answered her prayer when she spotted me in line. She had prayed, 'God, please let there be someone who will let me in front of them." (She only had a couple of things which I would never go into Aldi's on a Saturday for. Crazy!) So I told her, "Sure, you can get in front of me, but the catch is you have to pay for my groceries. Deal?" She said she didn't have an extra $120 but could do a song and dance. She also introduced me to her dad, who seems like a real easy-going fella with a sweet smile.

All my errands went smoothly and I remembered all but one. A very important one--pantyhose to go with my dress tomorrow, plus lint traps for the laundry tub. So, guess I'd better quit clickin' and get a move-on.

Every now and then you just have a day when everything seems rosy, ya know? Today was one of those. Thanks, Lord.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Rain and Shine

God opened heaven and poured out some money today, folks. Today's been all good news on the fundraising front.

Two checks came in the mail, one from a church member, one from someone in our old homeschool group in Balto County. They totaled $250 !!!

A homeschooler online has agreed to pay $67 for some Tapestry books of mine, which is above the cost of what she could get them from on or Amazon Marketplace. She just wants to help! I must admit, it's pretty hard for me to sell books I have loved. But God made it easier last year when I asked Him for wisdom on how to let go of books I was hoarding. He said, "Tithe on them." So last year I went through a bookcase and pulled out 10 at a time and decided on 1 to give away or sell. After that hurdle emotionally (because homeschoolers love to build libraries)
it's been a little easier to let go of more than 10%.

Last year I did photos for the lacrosse team and apparently never cashed the $70 check I earned for prints. This year's secretary is putting it in the mail.

Ebay stuff in the past 24 hours has come to $120. Some my own possessions, some from others.

And I just got an emails from two Christians--one local, one distant who doesn't even KNOW me but she blogs in "our group" . They are putting checks in the mail to me.

IN mid-afternoon I got a call from a lady who wants to give me a really nice piece of furniture to sell.

At Taco Bell, the lady gave me back 5 bucks too much.

Another blogger sent me a very encouraging email saying the Lord woke her up today at 5 am and she prayed 45 minutes for me, for the trip, for my future in missions, and WOW! It was jampacked with spirit-lifting words!

At lunchtime I just bent over a chair and started crying tears of joy of gratitude .The Lord is hearing our prayers.

PS I gave the Taco Bell lady back the 5 bucks. (Just checking to see if you were still with me.....!)
I have never been tempted to keep too much money. I have other vices, but that's not one of them.

Anyway, I knew you would like an update. My totals in the past two days, including those pending, is probably around $550 !!!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

My Hutch & My Faith Walk

Remember the hutch story of last summer? Well, I finally got the hutch a few months ago. Absolutely free and I really ,really like it.
Not only does it store my china and display my small collection of white ceramic pitchers, it is a constant reminder to me of God's faithfulness to provide. I waited 20 years for a nice hutch and it is perfect for my likes and my space! To trust God in the wait bears sweet rewards.

We are still waiting for big bucks to come thru for our Russia missions trip. We have applied to GAiN, we are waiting for passports, we are prepping for a big, big yard sale. We've sold wreaths, soup, and personal possessions. We've written letters (over 75) and petitioned God in earnest. As of today, we are still short $4100. All the money must be in my hands April 15th so I can get it to GAiN five days after that.

So, am I worried? No. Have I had doubts? No. But what I have had are moments of heart racing over how to do our part and how to let God show Himself strong. I don't believe in just writing letters without doing some hard labor, but I can say it's been hard work! Listing stuff on ebay, cleaning & sorting & arranging myriad details for our huge yard sale in Fallston on April 14th --yeh, it's doing the WORK of an evangelist, for sure. But it's good and meaningful work.

Please pray. I am in faith that God will remind all His people to follow thru w/ their check writing in the midst of their busyness.