Archives

‘Tis a Gift

istock_000001926891small

Here we are, the week after Thanksgiving and we’re already elbow-deep in the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season.  Fortunately for me, I have a week off.  So what does someone do with a week off when they haven’t had a week off in over a year?  Well, clean and organize of course!  In the time span since I last wrote a blog post, my parents have moved in with us, combining two households into one.  My job status has changed, not once, but twice (though I am still working at the same ministry).  And, last but certainly not least, wehave gone through a major home renovation.

Renovating the house was a grand pain to say the least!  There were days we wondered if we’d ever be able to move around the house without it being an obstacle course.  There were boxes everywhere…bathroom items in the kitchen and living room, kitchen items in the bedroom, and anything we could live without for a while was moved to the basement.  That’s where I spent my day today – the basement.  My goal for this week is to get a semblance of order back to the chaos that is our basement.

While the hubby was in the woods with our daughter this morning (it’s the first day of hunting season in Pennsylvania), I headed for the basement to tackle what we lovingly call the downstairs living room.  It has become a room that resembles the living quarters of a hoarder.  Boxes, unlabeled with items overflowing from them sit around the room in abundance.  They sit on the floor, on the furniture, on any available space there may be.  And then there’s the dust from the sanding of drywall (it all seemed to settle in the basement), wood shavings (they cut all their boards, trim, etc in the basement when it rained), and cobwebs since it’s been a neglected area for over a year.

As I walked in the room, I was overwhelmed.  Where to begin?  I realized quickly in order to lessen the clutter of the room, another area needed to be created to accept the organized boxes.  The first order of business was to move a bookcase we use to store our games, closer to the living room area.  With that moved and the games unpacked and loaded on the shelves, a space was now created where boxes could be moved.

Since Christmas is close by, I decided to organize all of our Christmas items first.  Now with two homes merging into one, there are enough decorations to decorate every room in the house (yeah, that’s not going to happen!).  I was disheartened to discover that when we put away the decorations last year, we did just that…put them away.  We didn’t take time to put them in the boxes they belonged.  Everything was just a jumbled mess.  By the end of my day, all the lights were together, ornaments together, snowmen were together, candles and garlands were in their respective containers.  I had a great sense of accomplishment!  And best of all, it was all moved out the living room and created a place to sit on the chair AND the sofa in the room!  PROGRESS!!!

I sank down on the couch, now free of clutter, dust and cobwebs and stretched out, enjoying it’s comfort and softness.  Christmas music was coming from the radio, and I believe I began to drift off to sleep.  I’m not sure if I was just day dreaming or actually dreaming, but I began to imagine the finished product that would be this room.  A room free of boxes, decorated and clean again.  A sanctuary where I could get away and just spend time in solitude.  (That’s my ultimate goal for this room!)  I thought about how different the room was starting to look without all the extra clutter.  What other clutter could I remove?

Thoughts of finances, pending bills, needed dental work and car repairs were clouding my thoughts.  Worry about whether my daughter would find the deer she shot this morning (it was a 6-8 point buck!) were floating around in my mind as well.  So many things cluttered my brain.  It was exhausting.  I closed my eyes once again and prayed a little prayer.  “Lord, remove the clutter and worry from my mind.”

It was then that God reminded me of Matthew 6:24-34 –  “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  (NIV)

I felt as though I had been given a gift.  “Yes, Lord, I know you’ll take care of me even at my weakest moments, even when life is so cluttered and I can’t see a clear path.  You are good!”

So, this first day of this week of vacation was a special one…yes, I spent the day working, but I was given a special gift and lesson today and something to remember as I go through the week.  Thanks for the gift, God!

❤ Miriam

Finding a Cure…A Terminal Case of Baby Envy, the Final Chapter

We were finally at peace with our decision not to have more children, either by our own efforts or through adoption. We were tired, hurt, depressed, and frustrated. It was time to let it go. We did take measures to insure that there would not be another pregnancy…Dave took care of that. Though it was a tough decision to make, we were glad that there were no more worries about ectopic pregnancies or miscarriages. It was time to sit back and just enjoy our lives and our daughter, Katie.

206455_1009965532004_7892_n

I learned that our “son”, Evan was still in his mother’s care and doing well. A former coworker discovered this as she used the same day care that Jenny did. She told me, “She kept his name. He’s still Evan Matthew.” I felt as though I had been given a gift. Though Jenny changed her mind, she didn’t change the name we had given him. She cared enough about us to keep his name. It took some time, but the bitterness I felt toward her began to fade. After all, any parent’s desire for their child is that they are happy, loved, and well-cared for. He had this, though not with us, and so how could I be angry?

Three years after Evan came into our lives, I had my yearly check up. My midwife recommended an ultrasound because I was (to make this as generic as possible) having “women’s issues.” To my surprise, the ultrasound came back showing a rather large ovarian cyst. I had no symptoms whatsoever. Surgery was warranted and it was decided that I would have a total abdominal hysterectomy. The cyst was too large to remove other than through an abdominal incision, and a hysterectomy would take care of those “women’s issues” once and for all.

Now it would be impossible for us to have children. That was okay. I was 40 years old by this time. However, those familiar pangs of want would surface each time I held a little one in my arms.

During this time period, my best friend, Becca became pregnant with her first child. In a way, I was jealous. But, that feeling faded quickly when I felt the excitement she was feeling as the due date came closer and closer. Finally, Annamarie was here. We were one of the first ones, other than her family, that she called. Annamarie was a such a precious bundle of joy! I was so happy that my best friend could experience the joy of motherhood!

Becca had shared with me long ago that she had a desire to adopt. Even with the arrival of Annamarie, this desire didn’t leave. So, not long after Annamarie arrived, she and Nathan began the process to adopt from overseas.

They hit many hurdles in their journey. One door would open only to have another one close in their face. In July of 2011, Becca and I met for breakfast. We were planning a couponing class at our church and wanted to finalize some of the preparations. We talked a bit about the adoption process. She was frustrated. I told her I’d pray.

By the end of July, things began to progress faster than we could keep up with things! It was almost time for our couponing class to take place and Becca and I were in contact on an almost daily basis. “We passed our home study!!!” she emailed me. This was a much-needed step to start the final adoption process. By the following Sunday, she had more news for me. She met me at the door at church with a paper in hand. “I could hardly wait till you got here this morning!” Wow, she was a little too excited about the coupon class flyer, I thought. I quickly realized that I was wrong as she turned the paper around. “Meet my son!!! We have a boy!!!”

We started jumping up and down, laughing and crying all at the same time. People thought we had lost it. But soon, everyone realized what the commotion was about and began rejoicing with us.

Just a few days later, I was sitting at my desk at work when an email came from Becca. “Please pray now!” She had an urgent request about the adoption and needed reassurance. I did what I knew I had to do. I went to the quietest place in the office (the bathroom) and prayed. I felt God was speaking to me in those moments. I felt He was telling me that everything was going to work out in a miraculous way. And somehow, I felt I was being healed. I could help Becca through her adoption, and in turn it was going to help me let go of mine.

The days went by so quickly. Email after email, phone call after phone call came, each one with a new prayer request. What was to take months to accomplish took mere days and soon Nathan and Becca were flying to Ethiopia to meet their son! Becca went knowing that they were most likely not going to come home with him on this trip unless a miracle occurred. I was still praying hard. I wanted so badly for Becca to be able to bring “Z” home this trip.

God listened! He answered!! And soon, they were on their way home! I was overjoyed and overwhelmed at how God had answered my prayers. I had never felt closer to Him and had never felt He had heard my prayers quite the way He did during this time. It was truly a humbling experience! So many things occurred during Nathan and Bec’s time in Ethiopia! It would take another blog to tell all that happened! (Actually, Becca does blog….so her story can be read!!)

I felt strongly that I had to do something special for my bestie, my sister, Becca. So, quickly, I wrote her a book that contained all those emails we had exchanged. I had even written down phone messages word for word and included them in the book. Seventy pages later, the book was finished and I had my gift for her.

They arrived home from Ethiopia and a couple of days later she called and asked us to come and meet “Z”! I quickly assembled the book I had written and placed it in a box for her. While David showered, I pulled down a box from my closet. There was something else that needed to go in with that book.

The van couldn’t go quick enough to get there! I nearly ran to Becca’s door! I wanted to see her so badly and hold this dear little child that was now her son. She met me at the door and we embraced and cried. Then she handed me her new son. I was overcome with emotion. He smiled and laughed as she said, “This is Aunt Miriam, Bid (his nickname)!” I wanted to hold him forever! He was truly an answer to prayer!

I wanted her to open my gift. I knew she was going to love it! Dave took “Z” and she and I sat down. She opened the gift and removed the book. Tears filled her eyes as she removed the other contents of the box. I had placed Evan’s little blue monkey and teddy bear in with the book. She knew instantly who’s they had been. “Oh, Mim, this means so much! You’ve given me something so precious! I was so worried about you as we went through this adoption, but I realize now that it has helped you heal, hasn’t it.”

“Yes, Bec, it has.”

She clutched the book and stuffed toys as we held each other and cried. I WAS healed. The pain was gone. It took the adoption of a little needy baby from Ethiopia to bring me out of my hurt and back into the loving arms of God.

Soon, I would be asked to share at work about pregnancy loss and how to approach these patients…sort of a do and don’t sort of approach. As I shared my struggles with my coworkers, some of which had never heard the story, there were many who cried. This was the beginning of the rest of my healing…being able to share with others so that they can learn and be encouraged.

And now, my story has been shared with all of you! Are there times when I wish we had more children? Oh, yes! But then I recall how God wants us to be content in whatever circumstances we’re in (Philippians 4:11). All I have to do is look at Katie and realize how blessed I really am.

So, I’ve been “cured” in a sense from my terminal case of baby envy. It’s only through God’s grace that He helped me through it and now helps me as I minister to others in similar circumstances. I believe He gave me this story for a reason, and I hope it has touched your heart.

♥Miriam

Happy Mother’s Day to Anyone but You

I know my title sounds a bit mean, but I’ll explain.

For many years, I looked forward to becoming a wife and mother. As a high school girl, we did silly stuff. Unfortunately, during my senior year, there was a high rate of teen pregnancy at my school. One day in business class, someone suggested we try to determine the sex of one of these girl’s babies by using the old needle on a thread method.  If you’re not familiar with this, you thread a needle and dangle it over the pregnant woman’s belly (or hand) and it will begin to move. If it goes in a circle, it’s supposed to be a girl. If it swings back and forth, a boy. I know it sounds nuts…even perhaps bordering on sorcery, but it was scarily accurate. We even decided to try it out on our teacher who was many years past child-bearing and it predicted that she had 3 children….2 girls and a boy….which strangely enough was correct! So, we in our silly teen minds decided that we would try it on everyone. We soon learned from the expert “needle reader” in our class, that if the needle changed directions at any time during the  “test” it meant twins. Imagine my surprise (and horror) to learn that I was to have 8 (yes, you read that right!), children…which included 2 sets of twins. I was thrilled! Wow! A houseful of kids! This would be a change since I was an only child….an only child that always wanted brothers and sisters. Now….I just had to find the right guy who could put up with 8 children. I began to think I should look for a Mormon, Catholic, or Mennonite guy. They all had big families!

How stupid of me to put stock in this! When we all parted from highschool, most of my friends (and I) were convinced that I would be one of the first to get married. It was one of my biggest goals and dreams. I’m not sure why we even thought this, as I wasn’t allowed to date till I was 18 and I wouldn’t turn eighteen until 3 months after graduation. Sure, I had “boyfriends” in highschool, but we never officially dated. It wouldn’t be until I was 21 that I had my first real beau, and he wasn’t about to tolerate having 8 children. I’m not sure he’d even have wanted one child, as he was so wrapped up in himself that’s all he could think about…..but that’s another story!

Years went by, and one by one my friends were all getting married and starting to have children. I was starting to lose hope that I’d ever have these 8 children that I was “supposed” to have, yet alone even get married!

Finally, David entered my life! (That’s a story I’ll have to tell later!) We soon realized that we wanted to spend our lives together. We thought 2 or 3 children would be a good thing (dare I tell him I had the potential for 8? Nah, I was 30 years old by this point and a little wiser, I might add!) We married June 23, 2001, and shortly thereafter, I celebrated my 31st birthday. It was that birthday that my biological clock started to tick very loudly!!

In January of the following year, we decided we would start trying to have a baby. Almost immediately, I became pregnant! Wow! (Surely that needle test was accurate….I was “Fertile Myrtle!”) The pregnancy was far from easy. In the first trimester alone, I had 7 ultrasounds because it seemed like every week or so, I was having what they call a “threatened miscarraige.” There was a lot of bed rest during those early weeks. I developed sciatica only 5 weeks into the pregnancy, which some thought I was faking….trust me, I wasn’t. Came to find out later, because of how my uterus tilted (I know, too much info….) was probably the cause for this dilemma.

I got to my 31st week of pregnancy and it was birthday time again. Fortunately for me, every September at Red Lobster is “shrimp month” and they offer endless shrimp….mmmmmm, my favorite. So, to celebrate my birthday, we went to RL and I ordered the shrimp. BAD CHOICE! The next day, I was swollen and looking like the Michelin Man. My blood pressure was sky high and I was sent to the hospital. We blamed it on the shrimp dinner which was full of sodium, but unfortunately, it wasn’t as easy as that. From the hospital I was sent home on blood pressure medication and strict bed rest. Ugh!

This began a series of weekly doctor’s appointments and having to be taken care of. There was so much to do yet to prepare, and there I was laying in bed! I am blessed to have such a wonderful family and church family. My church brought in meals. Dave and I never went hungry! One lady came and Fall house-cleaned my home (I’m not sure it’s been that clean since!). A group of guys from church came and helped Dave finish the baby’s room and get it all set up.

Almost 4 weeks after being put on bedrest, I went to my doctor’s appointment (which incidentally, was where I also worked) and after my appointment, the girls were going to give me a baby shower.  Dr. Brown came into the room and told me the words I knew I was going to hear. “You’re headed to the hospital. We need to induce. Your blood pressure is out of control despite what we’ve been doing. You have all the signs of pre-eclampsia.”

I had already figured this. In fact that morning, I made sure I got a bath (not a shower mind you, but a bath) and shaved my legs. That was stupid of me….being home alone, very pregnant, and stuck in a tub. I’m still amazed I ever pulled it off!

“You have 20 minutes for your baby shower and then you must go to the hospital,” said Dr. Brown.

I was wisked to the shower where I opened a stack of gifts in a whirlwind, had pictures taken with a cake I never got to eat, and was then escorted to my Mom’s car with gifts in tow and rushed to the hospital. We called Dave on the way and he immediately left work to come and be with me.

Long story short….48 hours later with a failed induction, pre-eclampsia that was turning into HELLP Syndrome, and a baby in distress, I ended up with an emergency c-section. Crying a pitiful little bird-like cry, into the world came a 5lb 6oz, Katie, fighting for her life. Less that 24 hours later, she was rushed to Hershey Medical Center and admitted to their NICU. Two weeks followed of sitting by her bassinet day and night, holding her every moment possible and pumping enough breast milk to feed a starving third-world country (because she wasn’t drinking it fast enough).

I was exhausted. This wasn’t how motherhood was to be! I was supposed to be home, holding my little plump bundle of joy while people came and oohed and aahed over her. Instead, I sat at the hospital, looking at a scrawny little infant that looked like something out of a “Feed the Children” campaign. I was depressed……very depressed, but I would admit that to no one. I didn’t want to appear weak.

Eventually, life improved and we got to all go home and start being a family. Katie made great progress, and by the time she was 2, you’d never know she had ever been a preemie.

We were ready to have more children. But, sadly that never happened. (That will be a post in itself someday….way too long to add to this!) After Katie turned 2 and I went through a few lost pregnancies and two failed adoptions, I began to hate Mother’s Day.  I felt as though everyone was mocking me. It was as though (in my mind) everyone was saying, “Happy Mother’s Day, but not to you! You aren’t good enough to be a mom. Look, you couldn’t even get the first pregnancy right.”

So, every year for a while, I’d sit at church and hear all those great things about being a mom and how children are a blessing and I’d cry. It hurt inside to think that I would be the mama to only one child….ever. What happened to the 2 or 3 we wanted to have? What happened to those 8 children I was supposed to have? I was inadequate.

Poor, Katie. What an awful mom she had! I loved her so much, but yet I couldn’t bring myself to be happy. I deeply regret that the first few years of her life, I wasn’t completely there for her. I was too busy being wrapped up in my self pity to see just how blessed I was. But I learned and I grew and now realize that God has given me such a special gift in this girl!!!

205651_1009958251822_5498_n

Katie when she was around 6. Taken at Caledonia Park.

I still identify with Hannah from the bible. In I Samuel 1:27-28b are the key verses from Hannah’s story for me…”I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord.” Sometimes, God says no. I know He had good reasons for not letting us have more children than we did. But He did give us such a blessing in Katie! I only wish it wouldn’t have taken me so long to realize that.

293125_3318042352482_1248959653_n

Katie and I last year on the day she was baptised.

Katie has given her heart to the Lord, and I am so happy about that! She has much to learn, but I hope that I can guide her on that journey. I think too of my mom, who wanted more children as well, but only got me. I wonder if she too struggled with these things as she worked her way to maturity.

207691_1009965852012_7688_n

My Mom!

Finally, I can hear those words, “Happy Mother’s Day” and be glad about it. It took a while, but it happened. I wish all the moms….even those without children who are moms in their hearts…a wonderful Mother’s Day!

♥Miriam

“How Deep the Father’s Love for Us” – Reflecting on Easter

resurrection2

Words and music by Stuart Townend

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that left Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom.

Happy Easter!

♥Miriam

How a Shopping Spree at the Bent & Dent Requires a Remodel of my Kitchen!

BB's Grocery in Newburg, PA

BB’s Grocery in Newburg, PA

I had no intention of going to BB’s Grocery in Newburg, PA today. After all, we didn’t really need much from the grocery store, just eggs and bread. But Dave thought this might be a good day to go since….1. We hadn’t been there for a few months, 2. Katie was at camp and wouldn’t complain about having to go through the freezer. 3. We could use the money we usually use for groceries to stock up on some things we use a lot and get a little ahead. -and- 4. We were babysitting for our in-laws and needed to find something to entertain a 3-year-old boy that just wants to be with “Uncle Dave.”

So, we headed to Newburg. I was sucked in the moment I walked through the door. Bell peppers were right inside the door in a huge bin marked at $0.49 each…yes, I think we could use some peppers. Next up, cauliflower $1 a head…why yes, I’ll take that. Roma tomatoes for $0.10 each…I think so! 3 lb bags of gala apples for $2.19…oh my, yes!  I was slightly disappointed that there wasn’t any zucchini, after all that has become a “staple” vegetable at our house. But, my disappointment soon turned into joy as I rounded the corner and found bottled water $2.00 for a 24 pack!

We got about a 1/3 of the way through the store and already our cart was over half full.

In the freezer at BB's Grocery

In the freezer at BB’s Grocery

It was time to head to the freezer. Aaahhh…that glorious frozen wonderland of bargains! We scored big in the freezer section today! There was Turkey Hill ice cream by the half-gallon for $1.50 each. We found Bronx Bombers Sundae (it has to be good…it has the Yankees logo on the box!) and Gertrude Hawk Box of Chocolates (which I have had before and loved!) We found Freschetta pizzas, Marie Calender’s meals, Hanover frozen veggies, Smart Ones frozen desserts (yum!), Mrs. Smith’s pies, Bob Evans breakfast sandwiches,  and Mama Lucia meatballs. We go through the freezer quickly, after all it is mighty cold in there! We end up going through about 3 times until we decide we’ve seen it all.

The refrigerator section was a palace of dairy goodness as well today! There we scored 3 bags of shredded cheese for $1.50 each, a stick of turkey ring bologna, Turkey Hill Diet Green tea in the gallon jugs for $1.89….a real steal!  We got a block of sliced American cheese, hot dogs, Hillshire Farm sliced turkey in the family sized pack, and then we saw it! (Insert the Hallelujah Chorus here!) A whole pork loin for $20!!! We brought that home and sliced it into our own pork chops. We ended up with 30 pork chops, which is the equivalent of 10 meals for us!!!

We made it through the rest of BB’s rather quickly after that, but not until our cart was overflowing! We found Delmonte canned veggies for $0.69 a can, canned mushrooms 2/$1 as well as canned sliced black olives for the same price, Campbell’s soups, enchilada sauce, bread and butter pickles (our family’s favorite) for $1 a jar, canned salmon, canned chicken, and Extra chewing gum in dessert flavors for 10 packs for $1! We usually have to pay $1 per pack for that!

The left side of the cupboard.

The left side of the cupboard.

As we went to the checkout, I began to worry what the total would be. At a regular grocery store, a cart this full would easily run around $350. (I feel pretty confident in that estimate as I monitor prices pretty closely and consider myself a bit of a coupon diva!) I watched the Amish girl who was checking us out enter in item after item. I was concerned because there was an awful lot of meat in the cart and some normally “big ticket” items like coffee and cheese. I watched, holding my breath until she hit the total button. “That will be $149.36 please.” Wow! What a savings!!!

As we traveled home, I began to formulate how I’d get all these items put away. Of course, the frozen and refrigerated items would go in….well…the freezer and the fridge…duh! I decided that this would be a good day to clean out my cupboards and get rid of some of those things we didn’t use any more (i.e. “Let’s get rid of mis-matched stuff.”)

When we arrived home, we heave-ho’d all our loot into the house, and I got to work. I started on the cupboard I thought  would give me the most room once cleaned out. I pulled out all the unwanted items and created a whopping 1 foot x 1 foot space. Oh boy….I needed way more space than that!

The right side of the cupboard.

The right side of the cupboard.

I started on my food cupboard next. I decided the best thing to do was to empty the entire cupboard and start from scratch. About a half hour later, I discovered I now had 10 cans of mushrooms! But, since we go through about 4 cans of mushrooms a week, that’s not such a bad thing! We also have enough soup to last quite a while! I have enough spaghetti sauce to have a charity spaghetti dinner and feed about 70 people! But none of it expires any time soon, so it’ll get used. It took a good half hour to get this cupboard looking good, but I realized that there was still so much more to find homes for!

We had found quite a few spices for a tiny price, so I decided to start on my spice cupboard next.Once again, all the contents were removed. Duplicate spices were combined if I was able. This cupboard also houses all my teas. Well….they needed organizing too! Another half hour later, and my spice/tea cupboard was gorgeous! But….there was still quite a few items that needed a space!

My teas and spices

My teas and spices

I called Dave to help me. The next cupboard was a bit out of my reach….(I’m vertically challenged). So, he agreed to help with this cupboard. It didn’t take nearly as long with 2 of us working at it! This cupboard now contains all of my pastas and mixes and is right above the stove. I discovered that we will soon need to return to BB’s because I have 3 canned icings and no cake mixes. (The icing wasn’t purchased today!)

My kitchen still looks like a mess, but only because I haven’t figured out what to do with those odds and ends I removed from the first cupboard I tackled. (Oh yeah, that 1 foot x 1 foot space is now full of sprinkles for icecream and cookies!)

Now, the refrigerator…..that’s another story. It looks like a disaster area! Everything is just shoved in where ever it’ll fit. Ugh! I’ve decided the best thing I could do is just remodel the kitchen! I’ve been wanting to strip the wallpaper and paint anyway. And while we’re at it, we may as well add a few cupboards and get a larger refrigerator/freezer. Perhaps an addition on the kitchen would be good….a walk-in pantry would be nice.  Hmmmm…..maybe I should go to BB’s more often. If I came home with this much stuff every week, Dave would have to agree to a remodel right? 🙂

Nah, I don’t need a remodel. (I would like to paint the kitchen though!) I do see that we are going to eat well for the next few weeks! I feel blessed that we have places like this in the community to help those of us on a tight budget to make ends meet and stock our pantries at the same time!  I doubt that I will need to go for groceries (other than milk, bread, eggs, fresh veggies and yogurt) for a few weeks!  I’m happy to know that my family will be well fed for just a little. Thank you, Lord, for giving me this day of plenty!

Mixes and pastas

Mixes and pastas

♥Miriam

It’s the Little Things

I keep mentioning that I want share about God’s provision as I go on with this blog. God’s provision is not always obvious and sometimes it screams out, “Look! Look what God did for you!” Obviously, it’s much easier to notice those times when His provision is clearly evident. But, have you ever considered His little ways of provision?

It’s in those not-so-obvious moments that God will provide some of the greatest things that we don’t even dare ask or hope for.

Consider those near-misses when you’ve been on the road and someone pulls out in front of you. You somehow get stopped just in time. Was that God’s provision? Sure it was!

Ever have one of those moments when you’re at the grocery store and the bill comes out to just the amount you have in your checkbook or wallet.  (This is something that recently happened to me! My grocery bill was climbing and I wasn’t sure I’d have enough to cover it. My eyes bugged out as I saw the total! Then the cashier hit the button that took off the bonus savings with my card, scanned the coupons, and miracle of miracles—I had just enough with $0.18 to spare!) Was that God’s provision? It sure was!

I had shared before about seeing God provide for my family since going into a full time job in Chrisitian ministry. Some of the ways He’s provided have been huge! But a lot of His provision has been in little things. One of my favorite stories of His provision comes in the form of a coat.

Katie put on her winter coat she uses for school earlier this winter and we discovered it was now too small for her. The sleeves ended just below her elbows! This was something I hadn’t anticipated. After all, just a week or so before, it fit just fine! As Dave and I discussed how, where, and when we would replace the coat, I received a message from a friend on Facebook. She asked what size clothes Katie was currently wearing. “10-12,” I replied.

“Great! I have a friend who’s getting rid of some of her daughter’s old clothes and they’re 10-12’s! Do you want them?” she asked.

“Sure!” I said. The thought of Katie needing a new coat had already left my mind.

We chatted for a while and made arrangements to meet so I could pick up the clothes. As we closed out our conversation, she added, “Oh! There’s something I forgot to tell you!”

“What’s that?” I asked.

“Well, there’s a brand new coat in this bag, never worn.”

Oh wow! Really? I quickly shared how this was an answer to prayer.

“God provided didn’t He!” she exclaimed.

“Yes, He did!” He provided in something as small as a girl’s winter coat. He takes care of even our smallest needs.

th

So then, why is it so hard to trust that He’ll provide for ALL our needs? It’s part of our sinful human nature. Often we have the mentality that if we can’t provide the need, then it’s something we just will have to do without. But when we allow God to work in our lives, He’ll provide all our needs.

Paul says this well in Philippians 4:19 – “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

Think about all the little ways God has provided for you! You’ll find they add up rather quickly!

♥Miriam