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.

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