Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Urgent Request

Dear Family of Faithful Readers,

Another tragedy has struck.  Today I received word via Jay Ryan (the author and publisher from Fourth Day Press/Classical Astronomy that a fellow homeschool family suffered the tragic loss of their beloved son, Joseph (4), just this past weekend. 


At a time like this, funeral and burial expenses are the least they should have to worry about.  A fundraiser has been set up at:

http://www.gofundme.com/b80m4s


I would sincerely like to ask that you consider a donation in memory of Ethan.  This could be to honor Ethan's upcoming 12th birthday on November 29th.  


When Ethan passed, we were incredibly blessed with a huge outpouring of love.  We didn't have to put any of Ethan's final arrangements on a credit card.  Everything was paid in full.  God is so good!  Now let's go support another family in their time of need.  


Thank you and may the Lord grant you much peace.  


Here's the link again:  http://www.gofundme.com/b80m4s
Just copy and paste.  

Sunday, July 6, 2014

It's All about Attitude and Perspective

Being a military wife has got me to thinking....



We can choose to be unhappy, dislike everything about our new home/city/base, not make new friends and hold onto the past, and not accept the blessings God has in store for us in our new place...


OR...



We can choose to see our new home/city/base as where God would have our family in THIS season, make new friends as God allows, and accept the new and exciting possibilities and adventures the Lord has in store for us.


Here's the deal, ladies...it's up to US to let go.  I don't mean forget about memories of prior duty stations or cities we've lived in.  Certainly, I'm not suggesting that you forget about your friends who live elsewhere.  But we can live in the past.  



Field of sorghum (or Milo) down the road from our home.
Listen, I have.  I'll admit that when we moved to Nellis AFB, NV that I was less than pleased.  My griping and complaining went on and on.  My base house was too small and it had no carpet and office tile floors that needed constant attention.  The desert summers were unbearably hot (not as hot as those who go without A/C nor those fighting for our freedoms overseas) and the desert landscape was not green but rather blah.  Oh, my list could go on and on.  And I made sure to tell everyone that I met.



So I sit here, and I cannot believe I BEHAVED that way!  It's a wonder I made friends!  Who wants to be in the company of a constant complainer!  My poor husband!  



But my story got better...when I changed MY attitude AND my perspective. You see, in the desert, I found Grace and Love like no other...in Jesus Christ. He made all of the difference.  Now don't think that I stopped complaining. 




Yes, I still complained, but not nearly as much.  I got saved, baptised (in that order), started hosting Bible study in my home, made oodles of friends that I still love so very much, became active and on the board with PWOC, watched growth in my two sons, started homeschooling after being called by the Lord to do so, etc.  



Fast forward to present day, some 7 years later, and I can reflect back on my complaining and disdain, and I am so very sorry I was that way.  It's not only unbecoming to humankind, but most importantly, it offends the very One that died on the cross. How dare I complain, when I've been so richly blessed!


Beautiful Morning Glory growing on our fence, neighbor's cow grazing. 



Friends, we live in the most free nation in the world!  We are safe, have clean water, homes that are like mansions when compared with the poorest people in the world, we are free to worship our Creator...why complain?




What about you?  Are you struggling after a recent PCS?  Perhaps you husband had to leave the military or retire, and you're adapting to a new home or city? When you are tempted to complain, STOP!  Please, just stop.  Pray.  Be still.  



Take out a sheet of paper or get a journal.  For every thought that comes to mind in the form of a complaint, write down a positive instead.  For example, you want to complain about the new city you are living in.  Rather, why not write down how blessed you are to live in the USA!  



It's all about your attitude and perspective.  Once you change your attitude to that of Christ's (loving and grace-filled), you won't find room for complaining in your heart.  Don't get me wrong, we are human, and we slip.  We live in a sin-filled world.  But once we have accepted Him into our hearts, the Holy Spirit indwells within us.  It's up to US to listen!



Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.  ~Proverbs 16:24

(Just speaking pleasant words will change your mood!  Tempted to complain or brood..STOP IT!  Meditate on His word!)



Every wise woman buildeth her house:  but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.  ~Proverbs 14:1

(You can choose to be wise and build a home of happiness, love, grace and peace;  OR you can choose to literally tear your family apart by complaining and never being content.)



A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband:  but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.  ~Proverbs 12:4  

(Ladies, even if your husband doesn't tell you, chances are that if you complain about your new home/city/base, you're making him feel inadequate.  Men love to know they are providing for their families.  They do not, however, enjoy hearing your every complaint.  It brings them down.  They don't want to be there when momma isn't happy.  Take the Lord's advice and build your home up with love and peace and much grace!)


Beautiful view from our backyard!  





Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Grand Canyon of Texas

In my previous post, I mentioned our little family road trip taking us initially to Palo Duro Canyon State Park, TX.    It's sometimes referred to as "The Grand Canyon of Texas". 



Located in the Texas Panhandle, just about 30 miles southeast of Amarillo, it's hard to believe such a place exisits!  Why, well Amarillo and surrounding areas are the plains--flat prairie-farming land.  God is amazing, and He carved out such a place, I truly feel in my heart, when the Great Flood occurred in Noah's time.










I think we saw maybe 1/4th of what there was to see!  And sadly, we missed the production called Texas! that they have each summer in the park.  It also included (if you paid) a chuckwagon style supper.  Hey, maybe next year!








I encourage you to go to your state's park website, and see what's near you.  You will be surprised to find gems you've never heard of before!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Dust Storms and Running on Fumes

Early June found us heading north to Canyon, TX. Canyon is just south of Amarillo, and is home of the majestic Palo Duro Canyon State Park...also known as the "Grand Canyon of Texas."

*I'll post more pictures of Palo Duro and the other various places in a separate post.


Unfortunately, we were only able to hike for a few hours.  Thus, we didn't get to see everything there was to see at the park.



It's a beautiful place, and I cannot recommend it enough!  The only thing I would suggest is maybe going in late fall or early spring to avoid hot temperatures.  Due to the hot weather, we didn't end up completing the 6 mile hike we set out for.  Josh didn't think Evan and Peaty could safely complete it, and he was right!  It would have just been too much for that time of the year.  



Before leaving Amarillo, we stopped at Amarillo Botanical Gardens.  Though not very large, it was just right and so beautiful!  The staff (I believe they are all volunteers) were out of this world friendly, the gardens amazingly gorgeous, and they have this HUGE greenhouse with tons and tons of tropical foliage and really neat stuff.




Palo Duro Canyon State Park, TX

Due to a family emergency, we had to leave the Amarillo area for Albuquerque, NM.  Josh dropped off Evan and Peaty and I at a friend's house so he could head up north to Colorado to care for a family member who was in the hospital.  Our original plan was to be home by the first Friday in June, but we were stuck out of town for nearly two weeks!  



Thankfully, the Lord worked it all out and the family member who was near death not only survived, but is doing 
well!




We are blessed with quite a few really, really god friends!  Thankfully my very good friend Angi and her family just PCS'd (military permanent change of station) to Albuquerque! They were more than willing to house and feed us as long as needed! Thank the Lord for good friends!  



While in Albuquerque, we did a lot of hanging out at their house while the children jumped on the trampoline and had water balloon fights, took in Happy Hour at Sonic, visited Jericho Nursery and met the owner Mr. Rick, visited a couple of health food stores, hiked at Petroglyph National Monument, walked the dogs (our vizsla and theirs plus their little doggie), shopped at Costco, ordered Papa John's pizza, and all kinds of other stuff!  Overall we enjoyed our time.  
Evan and Peaty at Petroglyph National Monument

Evan and Brailynn at Petroglyph National Monument



Josh came back to retrieve us and we took off the next morning (it was nearly afternoon) way later than planned (it was my fault).  I'm not good with goodbyes!  We decided to take the route down through Roswell and Carlsbad, NM.  I must say that New Mexico is a beautiful state!  High desert, cacti, open land, lots of small towns and ghost towns...it makes for a nice change for our family.  We enjoyed the drive up until about half way, and then it went downhill...FAST!!!



First up:

  • Horrible dust storm somewhere between Carlsbad, NM and Pecos, TX



We've never seen nor drove through anything quite like it!  At times, there was zero visibility.  At other times, we could taste the dirt.  And at other times, it looked like tornadic activity was somewhere out there in the dusty horizon.  We would later learn that, yes, indeed, there was tornadic activity that occurred in the very storm we drove through...we're just not sure if the activity occurred exactly where we were or AFTER it had pushed on through further east.  





Second up:


  • Running out of fuel out in the middle of nowhere between Ft. Stockton and Ozona, TX.  For real.  No joke.  Yes, I ran out of gas!!!  Totally MY fault!  Yes, the woman that keeps a year's worth of toilet paper on hand and ALWAYS keeps gas in her tank ran out of gas at the WORST possible time!
The not so pleased passengers hanging out on the side of TX 290 near Sheffield, TX.




Making the most of a crummy situation...why not explore at 10:30 at night out in the sticks!

The van...dusty, dirty, and empty of fuel.


Okay, so the running out of gas thing was much more terrifying than the dust storm that looked like it had tornadic activity event!  First of all, we were in the middle of nowhere, had no cell phone coverage where we broke down, and it was 10PM! Thankfully, we had a cooler full of food and water, had a dog, and were protected in the event someone came by and tried to start trouble.


Backing up a bit in the story...I could have filled the van up at Ft. Stockton. But I didn't. Once we got down the road a ways, I started to get sick to my stomach and feel very uneasy.  Josh was confident we would make it to Ozona, but I told him there's no way.  So he looked on his phone GPS and found that there was this little town called Sheffield and another called Iraan.  What we didn't know is that we should have headed towards Iraan, not Sheffield because Iraan had the gas station open late at night.  Well, we coasted on through Sheffield and past Fort Lancaster (which we didn't even know existed, and plan to visit again some day).


The van suddenly stopped at the most perfect place (on a little inlet intended for cars to pull over to perhaps take in the scenery?).  We accepted our reality and started to assess the situation.  Josh hiked up the road to find cell phone service.  I was scared to death and panicking. 


 And then, I remembered the Lord is always with us...and I started to feel peace.  The Lord took care of us that night, and set things in order so we could be on the road again within an hour and a half. 


Not far up the road was cell phone service, so I called USAA for towing and labor service. After explaining where we were located (it was difficult for the representative to find our location), we were set up for service.  While waiting, we enjoyed the cool breeze at the top of the hill and the full moon.  



Off to the north was a really nasty looking storm (remember that dust storm?), which was the very storm we intercepted in eastern NM.  We would learn later that the storm hit the very spot we were stranded at with some pretty intense winds and hail!  Thank goodness we were on the road and not stuck in a nasty storm!



Peery with Sheffield Towing came to our rescue!  He brought us 5 gallons of gas at no charge, and we were on our way.  Thank you again, Peery!!!  FYI...we did fill up the tank at Ozona.



We made it home at 3:15AM.  Yes, you read it correctly...in the middle of the night! Thank the Lord He protected us and got us home safely!!!

Friday, May 23, 2014

When You are Trying to Help a Grieving Parent

The other day, a fellow blogger named Amy posted an article she wrote, entitled:  

How Well-Meaning People Unintentionally Hurt Those Who Grieve


Her words were so true and so very much things that have been and continue to be on my heart after losing Ethan.  


Please, take the time to go read How Well-Meaning People Unintentionally Hurt Those Who Grieve when you get a chance.  I believe much wisdom can be gained from what she has written from her heart.   



Shannon

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

In Jesus' Arms

Beautiful Sarah Jordan Neal entered into the presence of our Lord and Saviour very early this morning.  




Please continue to keep the Neal Family in your prayers as they prepare final arrangements, and grieve over their immense loss.  Grief is not a magical formula of a specific time where you "heal and get over it."  One never gets over the loss of their loved one...and especially a beloved child.  Fore we know that in the natural order of life, a child should never perish before a parent.  In this broken and sin filled world, unfortunately, reality is that children die everyday.  

Monday, April 14, 2014

When Tragedy Occurs in Our Scope of Influence

*Today I ask for prayer.  Please read!


In this day and age, we hear of tragedy every single day, unless we cut ourselves off from the media (via computer, radio, print, or Television).  Often I find myself in the odd ball out category of not knowing a lot about current events because, quite frankly, it's depressing. But unless one lives literally under a rock, we cannot avoid the reality that life in this world is sad and broken.


So we hear this bad news here and bad news there.  And we think in our hearts and minds: oh my, that's awful;  I will pray for them.  Some news stories touch us more than others, even if it's "just a stranger."



However, when the worst happens to someone within our scope of influence (family, friends, neighbors, etc.), it takes the breath out of you.  Literally.  



I'd graciously like to ask for prayer for the Neal Family.  They are friends of ours from the first time we were stationed in Texas.  In fact, they were our awesome neighbors that taught me a lot of stuff about raising kids that I was absolutely clueless about (because I had only Ethan at the time and they had 3)!



But back to the prayer request...their 15 year old daughter, Sarah, has terminal cancer.  She was diagnosed September of 2010 with Ewing's Sarcoma.  At the time, her prognosis was good.  However, the cancer returned the next year, and it's been a battle ever since.  An absolute gut-wrenching battle in which I cannot even begin to imagine.  



About two weeks ago, the doctors told our friends there was nothing more that could be done, and that the cancer was spreading.  Sarah is now resting at a nearby Army hospital, waiting for the good Lord to carry her Home.  


Pray for peace and comfort for Sarah.  

Pray for her pain to go away.

Pray for peace and comfort for her parents and her two brothers, and her multitudes of family and friends.

Pray that the Lord will be glorified in all of the pain and suffering.  

Pray that the lost may be saved, and find Jesus because of Sarah's strength and courageousness.  

Thank you.



The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble:  and He knoweth them that trust in Him.  Nahum 1:7