life beyond the well…


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At Once

Every time I read The Bible, I learn something new, or get a new “takeaway” (as I would say in my teacher language).  For someone like me who loves learning, I love the “aha” moments that come from reading The Bible.  I also like the stinging moments that come when I feel convicted.  I believe that both are necessary to get me where God desires for me to go.

I was reading the following passage from Mark 1:17-20 (NIV) and felt the sting of conviction:

““Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.  When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.”

This passage is where Jesus call his first disciples.  And what really sticks out to me in this passage are two words: “at once”.  Jesus calls out to Simon and Andrew (Mark 1:16 (NIV)), and they leave AT ONCE.

Whew.

How awesome is their faith and obedience? Jesus calls for them, and they stop what they’re doing, and followed him.  There is no delay.  There is no “wait til I’m finished” or “I’m coming, right after I finish this”.  They go immediately.

So many times the Lord has called me to do something, and I’ve hesitated. Instead of placing my faith in Him, and being fully obedient, I have chosen to casually follow the call, but not with the immediacy that the Lord requires (and expects).  I wonder how many missed opportunities are out there because of my lack of faith and my hesitance.  How many things have been delayed, not because of God, but because of me?  How might I have better impacted lives for the Kingdom if I had moved “at once”?

My prayer is that the Lord would give me an “at once” spirit, that I may hear His calling, and have the faith and obedience to move right away.  I’m believing the same for you, as well. I pray that we are never in a position where we feel that our agenda and our autonomy (free will) are more important than God’s authority in our lives.

Here’s to having an “at once” spirit, operating in total faith and obedience in 2014!

Be encouraged! Peace and Blessings!

 

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Celebrate Those Still With You

As the new year comes in, I’ve seen my social media feeds flooded with people proclaiming their plans to leave behind people who they feel no longer need to be a part of their lives.  I believe that’s a necessary part of life- everyone isn’t designated to be with you for the duration.  Some relationships have expiration dates, and we can literally make ourselves sick when we continue to indulge in those relationships after they’ve reached that point.

So, I get it.  I totally understand that you want to (and need to) let people go.  However, I think there’s another side of this that often gets overlooked- are we celebrating those who are still with us?  Have we expressed our gratitude to those who have held us down over the past year(s)?  Have we taken the time to let them know how much we appreciate their friendship and their loyalty?

There are some people who have been with me since way back. Since before I could comfortably walk in heels, since before I knew how to wrap my hair and apply makeup; back to the time where I was happiest rocking a hoodie and some fresh sneakers. They’ve been with me and they’ve watched me grow.  They’ve let me change.  They held me when I cried from brokenness, and they celebrated with me as I some of my dreams came true. They might not be in every physical picture, but the photostream in my mind is full of moments where they are present.

I know that you have people like that in your life.  I’m sure that as you read this, you immediately thought of 2-3 people who fit the bill.  My hope is that you’ll take some time to let them know how much you appreciate them for staying with you.  Cheers to a great 2014 with the people who helped you make it this far!

Be encouraged! Peace and Blessings!


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25 Questions to Ask Yourself Before the End of 2013

I have my dear friend Jovian to thank for this.  She sent these questions out in an email to a bunch of us, and I thought I’d tackle them in this space…because I feel that doing so makes me slightly more accountable than just answering them in my head or replying via email.

So, let’s have at it (warning- this is long):

25 Questions to Ask Yourself Before the End of 2013

1. What am I most proud of this year?

I am most proud of my growth as a wife.  Every day, there are new challenges and new opportunities for growth.  In our first year of marriage, we had experienced changes beyond what either of us could have imagined.  I’m proud of handling the change with faith, and by being on the same team.

2. How can I become a better person?

I ABSOLUTELY must be better by asking for help.  Note to self: It takes a strong person to admit where they are weak, and to ask for help to become stronger.

3. Where am I feeling stuck?

In my pursuit of having a more healthy lifestyle. My current reasons have not been compelling enough, nor has my discipline been where it needs to be. I’m looking forward to overhauling this area, and really understanding my “why”; as well as creating SMART goals to make sure that I see the progress I desire.

4. Where do I need to allow myself grace?

In my role as a wife. Preacherman knows this more than anyone, but I am incredibly hard on myself.  I’ve decided to adopt Emily Ley’s motto as my own: “I will hold myself to a standard of GRACE not PERFECTION.”

5. Am I passionate about my career?

Yes! I love what I do, and who I serve. It’s been a huge area for growth, but it’s been rejuvenating and fun. I’m grateful for the opportunity to help students see the possibilities, and then make them realities.

6. What lessons have I learned?

Not so much lessons, but reminders: God is a faithful. God is love. God is a provider. God is…

7. What did my finances look like?

I’m extremely proud of our saving this year- we came up with a plan that works, and with God’s provision, we were able to handle a huge move in the short-term without taking much of hit.  This year, the goal is to live lean, save more, and to look for ways to build wealth.

8. How did I spend my free time?

Pre-move: lots of time was spent serving at church, and fellowshipping with friends and family.  Post-move: lots of time was spent on organizing our new home, getting acclimated to new jobs and a new area, and creating systems to make us more efficient.

9. How well did I take care of my body, mind, and soul?

I started out on a roll with all three- exercising and eating healthy, striving to learn new things, and purposefully seeking growth in my relationship with God.  As things got busy and life happened, I didn’t do as great of a job at balancing all three- I would maybe have 2 things going well, but missing the third one.  Again, I believe that creating SMART goals for 2014, along with clarity about what’s most important in this current stage of life will help me be better at all of these in the coming year.

10. How have I been open-minded?

In seeking, hearing, believing, and trusting the promises of God beyond what I can see or feel.  The circumstances of my life this year have required that I be more open to seeing, hearing, believing, and trusting the promises of God.

11. When did I feel most creatively inspired?

I don’t know if I can identify a time, but I know that I feel more creatively inspired to write (for this blog and otherwise) when I’m most balanced in my relationship with God and can hear Him clearly.

12. What projects have I completed?

Getting the new home organized and decorated.  It’s great coming home to a place that you love.

13. How have I procrastinated?

Dissertation.  See also #15.

14. In what ways can I re-structure my time?

Reducing some of the social media activity (although I LOVE the debates and conversations that take place on Twitter and FB), Scheduling meetings in the mornings, blocking out my day tasks- and not being afraid to say no to someone else’s “urgent” (your emergency is not my emergency) when it could be detrimental for me.

15. How have I allowed fear of failure hold me back?

Dissertation- the feedback that I have received while working on my dissertation has been the most critical feedback that I’ve ever received in academic work.  I’ve always enjoyed school, and I’ve always done well at it.  While I enjoy this, I find myself in a situation where I’m doing a ton of work that is extremely time consuming…only to get a significant amount of feedback of where you can improve.  It can be paralyzing to know that you’re doing all that you can to submit your best work and you KNOW that you’re going to get  a return email with your document…and even more corrections to make.  I definitely let this affect my mental approach to this work, and that CANNOT happen this year.  I need to keep the end goal in mind.

16. Where has self-doubt taken over?

In appearance- turning 30 in a workplace where the average employee is a female around the age of 23 or 24 and has their college metabolism and college body really forced me to think about what I wanted 30 to LOOK like and feel like for me, and how to really get to “my best self”.

In competence- my school work transitioned from classes to sole work on my dissertation.  I thought that without having classes, I’d miraculously have more time and the ideas and words would flow freely.  But that’s totally not what happened…and while I had moments of progress and inspiration, it wasn’t nearly as much as I’d hoped for.  When I coupled that with my inability to really master my time in the best way, I began to doubt my ability to complete the task at all.  I ended this year on a high note, making much progress and getting positive feedback from my dissertation chair.

17. When have I felt the most alive?

In moments with Preacherman and/or our little- working on math problems, making funfetti pancakes, watching the Cosby show, helping to wrap Christmas presents, singing “Jesus Loves Me” before bed, reciting our confession of faith together in the mornings.  All the little moments that I won’t always have.

18. How have I taught others to respect me?

Setting appropriate boundaries- especially at work has been extremely helpful here.  Being vocal about what I need, and refusing to take on too much has been incredibly helpful here also.

19. How can I improve my relationships?

Be more diligent in maintaining and creating them.  This is a challenge as an introvert, but it’s one that I need to overcome…particularly if I want to keep friends and make new ones.

20. Have I been unfair to anyone?

I hope not (LOL!).  I’ve probably been most guilty of being unfair in not extending the same grace to others that I would want extended to me.

21. Who do I need to forgive?

There are a few people who really hurt me over the past few years, and while it doesn’t hurt anymore; there are times where I find myself angry or frustrated about the way things panned out, especially after doing what I could to reconcile the situation. I need to be better about taking any negative thoughts captive and committing my mind to complete forgiveness.

22. Where is it time to let go?

Overworking/being a workaholic.  I need to place better energy on being productive while at work, and not always allowing things to carry over into home life. My first responsibility is to be the wife and steppie that God has called me to be.

23. What old habits would I like to release?

Being mean to myself/being too hard on myself. Grace, not perfection.

24. What new habits would I like to cultivate?

Consistency in reading: The Bible, devotionals, and other books to promote learning and growth

25. How can I be kind to myself?

As mentioned above, I think Emily Ley’s motto sums it up perfectly: “I will hold myself to a standard of GRACE not PERFECTION”


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2013- In Hindsight

And just like that, we’re at the end of another year.

I say it often, and I feel it even more frequently: “The days are long, but the years are short.”  I find that to be true as I reflect on every aspect of my life this year- the days have seemed so long, but the year has seemed so short.

The changes brought to my life in 2013 are far beyond what I imagined back in January.  Yet, as Preacherman and I pressed and prayed, we were confident in where God was taking us.  And so we find ourselves in the midst of AND on the brink of something new, because we know that while God has done AWESOME things, He’s still preparing us for more.

This year has been great, but difficult- in the best way.  New seasons, like new shoes, have to be broken in, and that process is not the most comfortable.  Yet, I am grateful for the use of these circumstances to further shape me into who God is calling me to be.  More than ever, I feel that I have clarity about what matters most.  And as someone who likes to feel that they can do everything (despite knowing that is not the case), this clarity in regards to what matters most has been refreshing.  I feel better equipped to not only handle my responsibilities, but to approach them in a way that glorifies God.

Every part of this year has been what I needed to grow.  I didn’t always like it, but I appreciate it.  I like who I am becoming, and I love the journey.  I think that in years to come, I’ll look back on this one as pivotal in my growth and pursuit of my purpose.  And while I didn’t meet all of the goals that I set for myself this year, I’m pleased with my progress (slow progress is still progress), and am regrouping for next year.

I’m excited for all the things to come in 2014.  I can’t wait to see what God has planned!

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings!


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Ten.

“I’m glad I can look at my past and see that troubles don’t last; that when my soul was broken, God placed it in a cast…” – Me

On Saturday, December 6, 2003; in Ehringhaus Residence Hall on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill, I gave my life to Christ.

I came to that point after years of growing up and serving in church, but never having a full knowledge or understanding of the gospel.  It wasn’t until I came to college that I met people who not only went to church, but had a relationship with Christ.  Slowly, the pieces came together, and on that wonderful Saturday, through tears, I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior.

I wish that I could say that this journey has been easy.  It hasn’t.  As with any journey, or any relationship, it’s a daily commitment.  There were days I didn’t want to make it- I didn’t feel like it.  There were days where my heart felt weary and tired.  There were days were disappointments far outnumbered the delights.  There were days where my pursuit of God and the purpose that He has for my life were lackluster.  But through it all, I pressed my way, and I continued to learn and grow in the knowledge of God and in my relationship with Him.

One thing I know for sure- God has been so CRAZY faithful.  When I think of the last 10 years, and where He brought from, as well as what He brought me through I am so humbled because I know I’m not worthy or deserving.  It’s so difficult to put in words- but my heart is so overwhelmed by His love, His grace, and His mercy.

Ten years ago, I accepted the invitation to drink from a well that wouldn’t run dry, and my life hasn’t been the same since.

My cup overflows.

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings!

PS: Because I think it’s important to acknowledge where I’ve come from- check out my testimony.


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A Full-Option Provider

I recently read the book “The Other Wes Moore” and it really got me thinking about education, “the system”, family, poverty, and the reality of life for so many of the students I serve each day, and many more across the country.

Here’s part of the description from the back of the book:

“Two kids named Wes Moore were born blocks apart within a year of each other. Both grew up fatherless in similar Baltimore neighborhoods and had difficult childhoods; both hung out on street corners with their crews; both ran into trouble with the police. How, then, did one grow up to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated veteran, White House Fellow, and business leader, while the other ended up a convicted murderer serving a life sentence?”

Since reading the book, I’ve wrestled with that last question in the description.  Or with this idea, better stated by Moore:

“The chilling truth is that his story could have been mine. The tragedy is that my story could have been his.”

But what does that really mean?  And the truth is that I don’t know.  But I wrestle with it as an educator working to prepare students for high school and college, fully understanding the benefits that come from being in the “right” school (or the “right school for you”).  And I guess, if I think about it in the scope of my professional work, my goal is to, as best I can, ensure that my school is a “full-option provider”, meaning that when students leave here, they have the full-range of options at their disposal so that they can create the life that they want.

So that they can have a life of “want-tos” instead of “have-tos”.  So that they can choose instead of having it chosen for them.

And that’s all well and good, but there’s also the understanding that a wrong choice NOW (even as middle school students), can essentially wipe out their options, or reduce them to being so few that they may as well not have any. Today’s poor choices are a down-payment on tomorrow’s problems.

So, while I wrestle with that, I also wonder how do you teach students to make good choices?  Not only make good choices, but make good choices for good reasons? And if you can teach that, then that must be part of the teaching that is included in our school.

I wish I had the answers.  I so desperately wish that I understood what can sometimes seem to be a formulaic equation to success.  Oh, how I wish that I could guarantee that by doing these things and not doing those things, would put students on a path to success.  But it’s much deeper than that.  It’s cultural and institutional.  It’s family life.  It’s access (or lack of access) to resources.  It’s the fact that I’m trying to teach something intangible that an entire segment of the population never has to consider.  Because the truth of the matter is that for some students, a poor choice equates to an elimination of options, but for others, a poor choice equates to an litany of excuses followed by quick explanations and forgiveness.

So, you find yourself teaching contingencies.  You’re teaching “if/then” scenarios, to make sure that your students are always prepared.  You find that being a “full-option provider” also means teaching that you will STILL have to work twice as hard to get half as far. But not only that, you must do it every day.  There are no days off.  There are no shortcuts.  There are no excuses, because somewhere, someone is waiting to excuse your success as the exception instead of the norm.

As I wrestle with all of this, I find myself in a state of gratitude.  Gratitude for those who took to the time to teach me all of those things, to make sure that I had every option available at my disposal.  But also gratitude for the opportunity to mold and shape the next generation.  It’s something that I enjoy, and a responsibility that I don’t take lightly. May God continue to give me the strength and grace to serve these students, who are His children, in a way that glorifies Him.

Until next time…


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The Name Conundrum

What’s in a name?

The “name issue” is one that is frequently discussed among people of color (particularly African Americans), where we sometimes find ourselves confused and baffled by the names that our counterparts have chosen for their children to bear for their life (or until they are old enough to get a legal name change).

I remember being in college, and having two unique experiences in regards to “ethnic names”- one where a friend eloquently argued that “ethnic” names should be celebrated for their creativity as opposed to looked down upon; and another experience after research indicated that having an African American sounding name resulted in less call backs for job interviews. As an educator who has done the majority of work in schools that are predominantly African American, I have looked at many names on bulletin boards and class rolls and have been absolutely baffled by the names that I see before me- which in some cases, look like a random combination of consonant and vowels thrown together.

The struggle is real.

And I say that because it REALLY is a struggle.  The shift toward “ethnic names” is born out of the Black Power movement, and the desire for Blacks to distinguish themselves as separate from their white counterparts.  As our culture has evolved into one that is more “self-centered” where people desire to assert their uniqueness and individuality, I believe that reflection exists in naming trends also- but not just in African Americans, but in whites as well.  I believe this helps to explain names that are “common” (or more mainstream) but are spelled differently (i.e.: Lindsi, Lindzi, Lindsey, Lindsay or Madison, Maddison, Madisyn, Madyson or Erin, Aryne, Eryn, Eryne, Erinn).

Yet and still, there is still a difference that exists.  I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiments expressed in this article in the Daily Beast, and found this to really get at the heart of the issue:

“If there is a question worth asking about race and naming, it’s not “why do black people use these names?” it’s “why do we only focus on black people in these conversations?” Indeed, there’s a whole universe of (hacky) jokes premised on the assumed absurdity of so-called “ghetto” names. Derision for these names—and often, the people who have them—is culturally acceptable.

But black children aren’t the only ones with unusual names. It’s not hard to find white kids with names like Braelyn and Declyn. And while it’s tempting to chalk this up to poverty—in the Reddit thread, there was wide agreement that this was a phenomenon of poor blacks and poor whites—the wealthy are no strangers to unique names. The popular Netflix show Orange is the New Black, written by a Jenji Kohan (a white woman), was based on the experiences of a Piper Kerman (also a white woman). And in last year’s presidential election, nearly 61 million people voted for a Willard Mitt Romney, at the same time that the current head of the Republican National Committee was (and is) a Reince Priebus.” – The Daily Beast

I think that really hits the nail on the head.  The article goes on to equate the name issue to that of a racial caste system where blacks are at the bottom, thus explaining the extreme response to the name choices of people of color.

I wish that I lived in a society where I knew for certain that I could name my children with as much eccentricity as my imagination would allow without having to think about the effects they may experience later in life.  Unfortunately that’s not the case.  And the truth is that the issue is NOT with the name, it’s with racism.  I can’t “name my child” out of racism.  While a more “mainstream” name, might open a door, the racism on the other side could slam it shut.

What I can do, and what I’ve planned to do is this- name them whatever Preacherman and I agree upon.  And then educate them.  Teach them about the systems that exist that have been designed to keep them down as young people of color.  Teach them how to navigate a world where they will still have to work twice as hard to get half as far.  Help them to understand that because of your color, there will be people who will choose to view you as less than, but that is not the place from which you receive your worth or your identity. Help them to be thinkers and doers, who won’t accept the status quo, but will fight to change it.

All that said, I can be honest and admit that as an educator, I encounter these “ethnic names” and part of my heart breaks- because I know what the expectations of them are, and I worry about doors that may disappear or be totally locked shut because of something they had no control over.  And then I get back to work preparing them to exceed expectations on every level, doing the best that I can with my “generic” name to open as many doors as possible for them, so that they have one less hurdle in their way.

Until next time…

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings…


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Thoughts about Jax

It’s been just over a month since Preacherman and I made the big move to Jacksonville, Florida.  And since we’ve been here, we’ve been busy bees; working, getting our house together, and trying to create a “new normal”.

We like Jacksonville.  Even though it’s Florida, it’s still “Southern”, so we’re still able to get sweet tea, and people still say “Ma’am” and “Sir”.  Since we are in North Florida, it doesn’t have the tropical look that Florida is known for (which is more common closer to the beach, and further South- like in Orlando or Miami).  The greenery makes it look not much different from North Carolina.

We chose to live “outside the city” but are technically still in Jacksonville.  Most places are about a 20 minute drive (Target, movie theater), but we do have a little stretch not far from us that has no shortage of grocery stores, fast food restaurants, Walgreens/CVS, and pretty much any other store that you could think of, which is especially helpful and convenient.

We are working hard and definitely being stretched by our new jobs.  It is a blessing that Preacherman and I have the opportunity to work in the same school.  When days get tough, meetings don’t go well, kids act crazy, parents act crazy,  you can’t access the internet to really find the information you need, it’s great to know that your best friend is just downstairs (or upstairs).  But more than that, it’s a blessing to work with young people and their families.  We consider it a privilege to be able to do so, and though we are being stretched, we know that there is always a greater purpose for any challenges that we may experience.

The people here are really nice.  On more than one occasion, we’ve been overwhelmed by the kindness and friendliness of strangers.  It definitely has helped to make this place feel more like home.  We’re slowly finding our way, getting to know our coworkers more, and visiting churches as well.

Though we are enjoying our new life, there are things that we miss about North Carolina.  Some of those would be our family and friends, our church family, WTVD News, great restaurants such as Watts Grocery, The Q-Shack, and Bull City Burger…just to name a few.  However, the longer that we are here, the more confident we are in God’s plan for us in Jacksonville, and that helps us to manage any feelings of being homesick.  We look forward to having our family with us in Jacksonville for Thanksgiving, and for hosting others in our home as they are able to visit.  More than anything, we are overwhelmed at God’s love and purpose for us, and excited about having the opportunity to pursue it.

Until next time…

Be encouraged!  Peace and blessings!


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30- Better than Good to Me

Today is my 30th birthday.

I’ve been mulling around in my head (and with Preacherman) just what that means, and I honestly don’t have an answer.  It’s hard to believe that I’ve been alive for 30 years.  Last year, I marveled at turning 29 and the faithfulness of God over the past 29 years of my life.  I am constantly amazed at God’s faithfulness.

More than anything, I feel so incredibly blessed.  I got saved for real when I was 20 years old.  The past 10 years have been such an amazing journey.  When I think of all that God has done over my life, but particularly over those past 10 years, I am moved to tears.  I finished college and graduate school, had amazing jobs in Georgia and Florida, moved back to North Carolina for another amazing job, got married, and moved back to Florida with my husband to pursue the purpose that God has for our lives.

If I could put it into a song, it would be this one, sung by our church’s praise and worship team: You’ve Been So Good to Me.  Here are the lyrics:

Lord, You are good-  You’ve been so good.  Lord, You are good- You are better than good.  I can’t praise You enough.  I owe You my life.  I can’t praise You enough, even if I tried.  You’ve been so good to me…So many doors You’ve opened, so many ways You’ve made, so many times You’ve healed me- You’ve been better than good to me!

Yeah. That kind of sums it up for me.  I can absolutely look back over my life and see where God has been true to His word on so many different occasions.  Goodness and mercy has followed me, His plans have prospered me; given me hope and a future, Nothing has separated me from His love– all in His word and all in my life.

Cheers to 30!  I can’t wait to see what God has in store for the next 30 years

Another testimony of my 20s: “All we want and all we need is found in Jesus/All we ask is more of you/Nothing else can satisfy our hearts desire/All we want is more of you/For the Lord is good/And His love endures/Yes the Lord is good forever/And I’ll shout it out/from the mountain tops/Yes the Lord is good forever…” –Israel and New Breed “More and More


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New Beginnings…

“Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God.” – Ruth 1:16 (NKJV)

“…Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.” – Genesis 12:1 (NKJV)

On November 10, 2012; in the presence of God, my family and friends, I repeated the words above from the book of Ruth as a part of my marriage vows to Preacherman.  I knew that I was entering into a non-traditional life of someone called to be a pastor, and I knew that it would take us on a unique journey.  And while I knew about that, and was eagerly anticipating where this life would take us, I did not realize that it would take us to a new place so soon.

This past Saturday, Preacherman and I celebrated 9 months of marriage by unpacking our new home- in Jacksonville, Florida.

Yes, you read that right!  We have relocated to Jacksonville, Florida; leaving behind our family and friends, our church, and a ton of memories of a life well-spent in North Carolina.

And though we have left those things behind, we are so excited about what God has for us in Jacksonville!  The entire process has been a testimony of faith and provision, and we are overwhelmed with the love that God has for us.  We know that we have been called to Jacksonville to do a great work for the Lord and to build many disciples of the Lord.  We are excited about the people we will serve, and are praying earnestly for this city, its people, and to hear the voice of the Lord clearly so that we may be used as He desires to use us.

I cannot express enough gratitude to my family and friends who helped us with this huge undertaking of a move in such a short time period.  My aunts came to help me pack for several days, ensuring all of our earthly possessions were neatly organized into labeled boxes prior to the movers arriving.  They even came when we WEREN’T there, packing in our absence.  My mother flew in from Phoenix for a whirlwind weekend of helping us unpack and clean our home, so that we wouldn’t return from our new jobs with boxes upon boxes to unpack.  Thanks to her help, we are about 80% unpacked and our home is livable!  We are also incredibly grateful for our church family who has showered us with their love and prayers, sending us constant messages of encouragement.  Because of all of the love and support, we have been able to transition into this new beginning that God has provided for us with little stress.

Through it all, I am so incredibly blessed.

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings!