Tuesday, June 13, 2017

An eleven month catch up...picture style!

I think it goes without saying, but life has been quite busy for our little family over the past eleven months.  Then again, what family hasn't had a busy past eleven months.

Let me catch you up a little bit on some key things that have happened in our lives since we last posted.

We signed a lease on a town home (you can read more details about how awesome our God is in providing this home here), and have been living there since.  We cannot say enough positive about this place.  We love it, and are excited to say that we have renewed our lease for another year here.

There is a guest room (with an en-suite bathroom), so be sure to come visit us!

Before we knew it, it was time to go to Vermont for my little sister's wedding.  It was such a sweet time with family, and the wedding was a beautiful rustic Vermont wedding out in a field.  My sister did a phenomenal job planning her special day.

 Here are two pictures, used with permission, from my mom.  My sister was a beautiful bride, and now she and her husband, Caleb, live in Florida and are expecting their first child in September.  

All three of my siblings are now married to wonderful people.  "Adulting" has been tough in that my siblings are three of my best friends, and they all live a long ways away.  I miss them terribly, but treasure the moments together all the more.

My parents came down to North Carolina with us after the wedding, and we had a great time together.  They helped get my classroom ready, we went to the Panthers' stadium, and then took a quick trip up to Washington, DC.

It was then time for a new school year to begin.  I had twenty fifth and sixth graders.  This year brought some of my lowest points as a teacher, in learning how to better meet the needs of not just my students, but the families of my students.  It was a growing process to be sure, and I was able to learn a lot.  This year made me especially thankful for the support and love from both my mister, and coworkers.  I worked alongside some of the finest teachers, and was thankful to learn and grow alongside them.

In August, we celebrated the mister's birthday.  Instead of a traditional gift, we decided to instead save that money to go on a short weekend camping trip together.  A few weeks after his birthday, we drove to Damascus, VA and arrived after dark...in the rain.  It was a very memorable camping trip for the both of us, but would go back in a heartbeat, if the situation prevented itself.  While in Damascus, we adventured out to bike the 17 mile Virginia Creeper Trail (disclaimer: it is basically all downhill).  It was snowing when we arrived at the top of the mountain (via shuttle), and we enjoyed a leisurely ride down.  We came home cold and tired, but had an outstanding time together.

For Thanksgiving, we celebrated once at home just us, and then again in Virginia with the mister's side of the family.  After Thanksgiving, we went to the the mister's parents home for some additional time together as family.

Christmas was busy, as usual, but lent itself to some sweet time with loved one.  We made it to both sides of the family!

It was also at Christmas, when we announced to family that we are growing our little family of two, to a little family of three.

The key word for February was FAMILY.  We had the mister's entire immediate family together, as well as his maternal grandparents from Texas.  My parents then came down for a visit from Vermont.  We enjoyed the time together, and revealing the gender of our child!

You can never spend too much time with the sweet nieces and nephews.

We did a small gender reveal brunch before the mister's grandparents flew back to Texas.  We ordered Krispy Kreme donuts that were filled with BLUE frosting! (Some of the above [and below] pictures are to the credit of my dear mother...used with permission)

March and April were busy at school with end-of-the-year field trips, competitions, programs, and parties.  Before school ended, Rebekah's students (and their parents) planned a surprise baby shower for the little man.

School ended on May 17th, with high school graduation on the 19th.  Rebekah is officially a stay-at-home wife and mom and does not plan to return to teaching in the fall.

The Saturday after graduation, we flew up to Vermont as a last long trip before Baby Boy arrives.  It was a relaxing time with loved ones.  They too showered us with love and gifts.  My mom shared a sweet devotional, and gifted us with a true treasure- The Child Training Bible.

June has been a month with no rest for the weary.  We have been going steady with different events, appointments, and classes.  We are eagerly anticipating the change in month, with *hopefully* some much needed rest and recuperation before the little man arrives.

Our church family here in Charlotte generously hosted a beautiful baby shower.  As with the other showers, we are overwhelmed by the love shown to our little family of three.

(Photo credit: Amy T.)

And this brings us to the present.  We are currently 35 weeks pregnant, and rejoicing in the sweet gift of our son that the Lord has given us.  We had an appointment yesterday and everything seems to be looking great.  He is an active little man with a strong heartbeat.  We do not take this for granted.  Please pray for us as we continue to prepare for his arrival, and the new adventure called "parenthood".  We recognize that, like everything else, we can not do it in our own strength. We need His daily strength and wisdom.

Our other bit of exciting news that we give all glory to God for is that all of Daniel's school loans are paid off.  As many of you know, the goal for our little family is overseas missions.  The one thing standing in our way right now are some loans that both the mister and I accrued during college for our school payments.  Being able to pay off all of his loans was a big testimony of God's goodness in our family, and a great mile markers in our journey towards the oversea mission field.  We still owe about 40% of Rebekah's loans.  We ask that you praise the Lord with us, and covet your prayers as we work diligently at finishing to pay off Rebekah's loans.

To God be the glory, GREAT things HE has done!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

We Moved!

This past weekend several men, and a few ladies, came over to our place and helped us move our things to our new home. As the crow flies, we moved about a tenth of a mile from our apartment. As the car drives, we now live about two miles away from our first home.

We are in awe of God's abundant provisions. Early last year, we got notice from our apartment complex that at the end of our lease (in February) we would need to move out of our current apartment to allow for the complex wide renovations they were making. They made the *generous* offer (sense sarcasm) for us to move to a different apartment on complex, at a 50% rent increase. While the renovations were beautiful, that was a large price jump that we were not prepared to make.

Long story short, we began doing a lot of researching, only to learn that our rent was well below the average rental rate in our area. We chose to look at that as a blessing--we had three years of below average rent, allowing us to put more towards our student loans during that time. Our sinful human side struggled a bit with the "How are we going to make this work? Not only financially, but February is a busy time for a teacher."

The Lord knew and provided for us to sign a 5-month lease at our current rental rate. This extended our lease to July, which is a much calmer time for a teacher. We signed the 5-month lease and continued our searches.

We looked at several places, trying to weigh several different factors. It seemed as though we were finding a common trend--renting in the greater Charlotte area is expensive, especially compared to our income. I will admit that we even considered a few long distance moves (including Africa). We had found a few places in our budget that seemed to be good places, only to find out someone else would get them.

It was Wednesday, June 15th when I set up an appointment with a local apartment complex to see one of their apartments the following week. Soon after getting off the phone with them, I found a town house for rent that had been listed for 16 hours (might I add it was even cheaper than the one we had just set up an appointment to see). The mister and I decided to give them a call and we set up an appointment to see the town house on Thursday. In talking with my mom, I asked that she pray my heart be guarded. The home looked beautiful online, but I wanted to be prepared that (a) someone could get it before us, and (b) it may not be as it seems.

Before walking into the town house on Thursday afternoon with the property manager, she told us that they had already gotten over 75 calls for this property. When we walked into the townhouse it was dreamy. We both walked out agreeing that it was even better than it seemed online. There were several added bonuses that had not been pictured or mentioned.

We heard back from the property manager on Friday, June 17th that we would be getting the town house, and could move in on July 1st--two weeks! To say we were excited would be an understatement. This home is far better than we were looking for, or that we need. There is no explanation other than to say that God has provided above and beyond what we have asked. We give Him the glory and pray that we be able to use this home to further His kingdom.


Since I last posted though, bigger than our move was my brother's wedding. We could not be more excited for he and his new bride! Their ceremony was be a vineyard, overlooking Lake Champlain. The weather was warm, windy, and cloudy. The whole afternoon was very God honoring as this new family began.

We flew back to Charlotte on Sunday, and the mister then flew on to Ohio for some further training. In the past year, he has completed several classes. We are thankful for the opportunities that have been provided for him to further his training.

On Wednesday, all fifteen of my 6th graders graduated. It was a bittersweet time, as these children I have grown to love dearly are moving on. A mother of a fifth grader decorated and hosted the graduation reception.

I have been enjoying my summer immensely. I recognize it as a gift and am very thankful. With the "extra" time, I have been able to invest more into relationships. One is through a study through 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John with a dear college friend, Kari. She and I do the study on our own throughout the week, listen to the podcast, and then meet over Skype to discuss it. Another way is with reading through a book study on When Sinners Say I Do with my sister. Both the study and time with these sweet woman has proven to be very rewarding. This very well may be one of me highlights from the summer.

When I am not reading, studying, packing, or unpacking, I have enjoying baking. It was my goal to bake all of our bread this summer. The mister's mom is the queen of bread baking, and I have been using her recipe. Daniel keeps telling me "you need more practice" (his way of saying he liked it and wants me to make it again). I have also enjoyed trying a few other recipes. We have tried to spend our time intentionally this summer.

A month from today, my sister walks down the aisle and says "I do" to her sweetheart. As sister, I get the honor of standing beside her as she makes this lifelong commitment to Caleb. Part of my matron-of-honor privilege (and I do truly consider it just that) was to host a bridal shower. I flew to Vermont and along with my mom and sisters-in-law, we put together a fun celebration of my sister's upcoming marriage. Together with several sweet friends and family, we showered Sarah with gifts and love.

We are now settling into our new home and marveling at the fact that God would provide such a beautiful new home. We are thankful. Temperatures down here are hot, and make it a little more challenging for the mister as he works outside on the planes. Please pray for his safety.

We are very excited when we look back at God's provisions towards our student loans.  He continues to show Himself true.

  • We have had a faithful monthly supporter for over a year.
  • We recently received a generous monetary gift with a note that said "God blessed us with this, and it is our joy to now bless you with it."
  • We had three years of below-average rental payments.
If there is a way that we can pray for you, please send us an email and let us know. We would love to join alongside you in lifting your requests before the throne. Thank you for how you join alongside us through prayer. We see God working!

Monday, May 9, 2016

3 year Wedding Anniversary

This week, we will celebrate our 3-year anniversary.  In a lot of ways, it feels like just yesterday we were preparing for our wedding.  On the other hand, I look at how far we have come since our beginning days, and am thankful for how we have grown.  More so than that, I am thankful that we are still young and have time to continually grow.  We celebrated our anniversary this past weekend with a gift card because we will be leaving for Vermont on our anniversary.  My brother and his sweet fiancee are getting married this Saturday!

Used with permission.

These past few weeks have been crazy busy, and I find myself very eager for summer.  The current plan is that I will be taking the summer off from teaching.  We are looking forward to two weddings this summer (see the end of this post), a wedding shower in Vermont, and a local move.  The mister and I were talking just last night about how we are oddly looking forward to our move.  We enjoy de-cluttering, and look forward to the time, and necessity, of going through our things to see what can be thrown/given away.

School has been crazy busy between final projects, extra activities, and general spring-time craziness.  In case you were not already aware, the Christian School I work at is a K3-12 grade school.  In the elementary grades 1-6th grade, we only have three teachers- the 1st/2nd grade teacher, the 3rd/4th grade teacher, and myself. The 3rd/4th grade teacher and myself collaborate a lot, and try to find ways to join forces to do fun activities for our classes.  She and I have been working together a lot to break up the spring-time craziness with some fun activities.  Here are a few of the things we have already done.

(Top Left: Friday was an all day "Bike Day!", Bottom Left: After the students put in a 12-hour day of competition, we had a pancake and movie morning on Friday, and Bottom Right: The students who read 1,000+ minutes throughout the month of May were invited to an ice cream party during lunch)

As for us personally, we went to an air show last weekend.  Everyone knows my mister loves planes, but my love of planes continues to grow.  I am fascinated by them.  It helps that I have a wonderful teacher who loves to answer my many questions.  It was a cold and overcast day, but we had a great time, and were able to see the Blue Angels!

All this to say, life has been very busy, but very good.  We thank you for supporting us through prayer.  We continue to look ahead to the foreign mission field, while trying to make the most of the mission field He has us on now. We continue to pursue our goal of being debt free by the end of 2016.  Here are a few specific prayer requests.

  • Health and stamina for Rebekah as she finishes the school year
  • Debt free by the end of 2016
  • Wisdom in choosing a new home
  • Wisdom in selecting a mission board to serve with
  • A student in Rebekah's class accepted Christ last month
  • Daniel's continued advancement at work allowing him to hold a first shift position
  • 3 years of serving God together as a married couple
  • His provisions in how far we have come on our school loans in the past 3 years

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Happy Spring!

I am not doing too well at this blogging thing.  Life has hit reality for the two of us and is too crazy.  Every quiet moment we get, we find ourselves savoring it with each other.

A crazy life has its ups and downs.  We are thankful for the many opportunities we have been given to do things and be involved in peoples' lives, but at the same time, I think there is such a thing as "too busy".  We feel we may be walking the line.  Therefore, we are trying to be mindful of this.  That being said, blogging has taken a "back burner" seat.

The mister carefully prepared a wonderful weekend of relaxation for me.  The thoughtful and aware husband that he is sensed that I was verging the point of breakdown and thought out some practical ways to help me take a few days to rest.  It started with my coming home on Friday to our home being meticulously cleaned.  He knows me well and knows a clean home is a big thing for me (I know, it won't always be like that).  His words were "You can sleep in tomorrow without having to think of cleaning the house."  I did just that.  I woke up way later than I care to admit.  He then suggested we go for a picnic.  We had a great time grilling hot dogs, laying in the hammock, and walking around the lake.  I am thankful for my mister, and his sweet ways of saying "I love and care about you."

For Christmas, we didn't exchange gifts with each other.  Instead we set the money aside to do an event together.  We chose to go to the circus, since it was in our area, and supposedly this is their last year of doing it with elephants.  We made a date out of the evening, and had a great time together.

Then in February, we were able to celebrate Valentines Day together.  I made shrimp alfredo!  We enjoyed an evening in together.  How thankful I am for my sweetheart and the gift he is from God.

That about sums up the exciting stuff from the last two months.  We continue to watch God help us work away at school loans, and recognize His hand in our lives.  It is exciting to know that He is continuing to work in and through our lives.

Until next time, enjoy spring (with my track record, I should probably tell you to enjoy summer as well)!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Happy 2016!

And just like that, a quarter of a year goes by.  Needless to say, the last three months have been a bit busy, hectic, and wonderful all at the same time.  Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year to you.

Let me give you an update via pictures, because we all know those are more interesting (plus I have seen the sweet kiddos twice in the last three months, so better pictures) than too many words.

For Thanksgiving, we went to the mister's grandfather's house where we enjoyed the day with extended family.  Most everyone was able to make it this year and it was a joy to spend the day together.  Straight from there, we drove to the mister's sister's home for a weekend with his immediate family.  We enjoyed the few days together, and while we had everyone, celebrated Christmas.

From there, we came home for a couple of weeks of "normal life" where work continues to go well for both of us.  I have added four new students in the last month.  It has added some extra challenges in having bigger numbers, but I continue to rejoice that the Lord placed them in my class.  It is not by accident.  I need them, and they need our class.  Please continue to pray that I have wisdom as I approach each and every moment.  This year has opened my eyes to how very needy I am for His wisdom.

The mister's work is also going well.  When we look back on this year, we are in awe of what the Lord has, and is doing.  He has had a few glimpses of hearts being softened towards spiritual topics.  We continue to pray for additional open doors to share the gospel and to be His hands and feet in the secular work field.  Work has been busy with several planes needing the mister's attention.

We had a low key Christmas between the two of us this year, and tried to soak in the sweet times we had together.  For Christmas, the mister's sisters gave us a date to the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens to see their Christmas lights.  I have been wanting to go since we moved to the area, and so we had fun making a date night out of it.

On the Wednesday before Christmas, we drove to Vermont.  It rained the entire time, making the final destination even more wonderful.  We enjoyed the time with my side of the family.  We first celebrated with my immediate family on Christmas morning, and then a bunch of extended family traveled in on Saturday.

We drove home from Vermont and then a few days later drove to the mister's parents for New Years.  Yes, we did a lot of traveling--over forty-three hours in fact.  The few days spent with his parents was quiet and refreshing.  The mister was able to get a few projects done with his dad, and I was able to do some crafting and visiting with his mom.

While we were there, both my older brother, and younger sister got engaged.  We are so excited for both of these couples, and how the Lord will use them for His ministry as couples.

After a busy break of visiting extended family, and enjoying our little family of two, we find ourselves extra thankful for the gift of family.  We trust you had a sweet holiday (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years) season and were able to think on the many ways you have seen God work in the past year.  Happy 2016 to you!  Hopefully I will do better this year in getting a monthly update out to you all.

If you are interested in receiving our Christmas newsletter, please email me to be added to our email mailing list.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Happy Fall!

Fall is my favorite time of the year--cooler temperatures, hot drinks, colorful leaves, rain, all things pumpkin, sweatshirts, apple picking, crunchy leaves, and the list could. go. on. forever.

School is off to a great start!  While it is not without its challenges, I love my job.  I cannot describe the difference this new position has been.  I must confess, while I had some hesitation to teaching this age, and a combo class at that, God has been working in my heart. I am loving my job! Lesson preparations take a lot more work, grading takes much longer, and I sense a more seriousness in having to prepare them for middle school.  Despite these added challenges, I can't see myself doing anything else.  God is so good!

One of my favorite things about being an adult is being able to take a situation and determine if the "consequences" are worth it.  For the mister and I, the question usually goes something like this, "Is it worth how exhausted we will be afterwards?"  And the answer usually goes like this, "Eh, we are young and will bounce back afterwards.  We only live once and don't want to regret saying "no" to this because we didn't want to sacrifice our energy."  Most of the time, we are thankful we "went for it", despite how exhausted we may be afterwards.

The first day of school, we chose to go visit the mister's sister who lives an hour and a half away, because she was getting her new German Shepherd puppy.

The following Monday, the mister left for a two week training on Eddy Current Inspection.  It was good timing though because I had a lot of extra work to be done at school with it just having started.  He has been able to get several extra training this year.  While I miss him terribly, we see this as an opportunity to prepare for the mission field.  We don't know what he will need on the field, and so we are thankful for these times when he is able to be trained further in his career.

While the mister was on training, he had a birthday!  I was able to fly out Friday night and spend the weekend with him.  While we were out there, we went to the National Museum United States Air Force.  It was huge, and it was amazing.  Since marrying the mister, my interest in avionics has increased exponentially.  I learned a lot at the museum, but enjoyed the time with my man most.

The mister got home on Friday, did a load of laundry, and then we went to his parents for the weekend with his sister and puppy.  It was a relaxing weekend together.

A few weekends later we were able to catch up on some much needed time together.  We had a day on the road, which ended with apple picking and time with family. The time together was refreshing.  With the apples I was able to can four pints of apple sauce.  Four pints are embarrassing compared to the twenty quarts I used to help my mom with, but it was a fun project.

All of this to say...our little family is loving this season!  We are loving this season of our marriage.  We are loving this season of weather, We are loving this season of life that the Lord has us in.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Classroom Reveal

This school year, I will be residing at the end of the very long hallway.  The opposite end from the restroom, and the opposite side of the building from the copy machine.  Hello exercise!

Welcome to my classroom!  I have 19 students total- 5 fifth graders, and 14 sixth graders. Having the "big kids", I needed a mature theme, so I decided to go with the timeless chalkboard theme.  There are so many helpful decorating ideas and resources on this theme.

As soon as you step in, this is what you see!  this is what you would have seen Thursday afternoon, before any students stepped foot in my classroom!  Papers are missing, books are no longer perfectly in their baskets, s'mores have been consumed, and things are no longer quite as crisp!  That is okay with me though.  As much as I love organization, I want my classroom to be used and have signs of 5th/6th graders living in it {and we all know that does not equate to organization}.

Most parents at our school have multiple children, and that means they have multiple classrooms to go to, and teachers to meet.  My goal was to simplify things for parents in having two categories: colored papers to fill out immediately, and white papers to go home.  The s'mores were a success with the students!  I got the great idea over at Ginger Snaps, and she even provided a free printable.

Another thing you may have noticed is that I chose to put the name tags on the back of the chairs, instead of the top of the desk.  We shall see how this works out.

May I say how thankful I am for the quality supplies and facilities my school provides for the teachers.  I am not just talking about this amazingly huge desk, but the technology, cubbies, storage closets, and overall general quality of most everything.  This year, I added a lamp to my desk and am already loving the warmth it adds to the atmosphere.

While I was so nervous about Back to School Night! last night, it went so well.  Some of the situations I was most nervous about went smoothly and in the end I was very thankful for the evening.  I had some wonderful conversations and learned a lot.  It got me even more excited about the school year- if that was possible!  No year is without its challenges, but I expect it to be a phenomenal year.

Daniel and I have been praying for years for a full time teaching position, and He has answered.  My personal goal this year is to deepen my prayer life to remain very aware that I am not doing this alone.  I can only be successful with His strength, wisdom, and guidance.  The spiritual theme I have for our class this year is that in everything, we seek to glorify Christ.  When we are seeking that, everything else will fall into place because we are doing our best for Him!

I covet your prayers as school starts Monday!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Busy. Busy. Busy.

Wow.  We have had a busy few weeks recently.  Here is a picture recap of our  Summer 2015 adventures together as Mr. and Mrs.

At the end of June, we took some time off from work to go visit my parents in Vermont.  It was a delightful time.  We had been having a heat wave here, and their weather was so comfortable.  Better than the weather was the time with all of the family.  We were able to rest, love on the nieces and nephew, weed-wack, and visit lots!

We got back from Vermont in time to celebrate Independence Day at home, just the two of us.  We ate well and found an amazing spot to watch the fireworks.  We drove the Mountaineer, and put the back seats down.  Since we got there early, we opened up the back hatch and played Phase 10 in the back.  The weather was breezy.  The fireworks were spectacular!

The celebrations continued as my mister spoiled me for my birthday.  Food related, he made me waffles for breakfast before work (I leave for work about 6:10am), bang bang shrimp for dinner, and a frozen peanut butter cheesecake for dessert.  He worked hard, and we enjoyed the fruits of his labors.  The spoiling continued with his giving me a market bag and new cricut cartridge, both things I had been wanting!

 Yesterday, we took a day trip to meet up with the mister's parents at the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro.  We had a blast.  The weather was amazing, and so many of the animals put on a show for their small audience by coming close to the fence.   Of the many exhibits we walked around to, we only missed getting to see the red fox.  We figure he was hiding behind one of the rocks.  Overall, the day was a spectacular success!

We saw these sweet fawns as we were walking one of the paths.  They were not in a cage.  After seeing them, we saw this poem posted on the side of the path.

While we have been having a blast, we feel a bit like this polar bear that we saw yesterday...absolutely exhausted.  Despite how tired we may be, we have enjoyed adventuring through life together.