I don't know if this story is true or not, but it doesn't matter to me. The message is very sweet and the story is very touching. Hope you enjoy! Merry Christmas!
In September 1960, I woke up one morning with six hungry babies and just 75 cents in my pocket.
Their father was gone.
The boys ranged from three months to seven years; their sister was two.
Their Dad had never been much more than a presence they feared.
Whenever they heard his tires crunch on the gravel driveway they would scramble to hide under their beds.
He did manage to leave $15 a week to buy groceries.
Now that he had decided to leave, there would be no more beatings, but no food either.
If there was a welfare system in effect in southern Indiana at that time, I certainly knew nothing about it.
I scrubbed the kids until they looked brand new and then put on my best homemade dress, loaded them into the rusty old 51 Chevy and drove off to find a job.
The seven of us went to every factory, store and restaurant in our small town.
The kids stayed crammed into the car and tried to be quiet while I tried to convince whoever would listen that I was willing to learn or do anything. I had to have a job.
Still no luck. The last place we went to, just a few miles out of town, was an old Root Beer Barrel drive-in that had been converted to a truck stop.
It was called the Big Wheel.
An old lady named Granny owned the place and she peeked out of the window from time to time at all those kids.
She needed someone on the graveyard shift, 11 at night until seven in the morning.
She paid 65 cents an hour, and I could start that night.
I raced home and called the teenager down the street that baby-sat for people.
I bargained with her to come and sleep on my sofa for a dollar a night.
She could arrive with her pajamas on and the kids would already be asleep
This seemed like a good arrangement to her, so we made a deal.
That night when the little ones and I knelt to say our prayers, we all thanked God for finding Mommy a job. And so I started at the Big Wheel.
When I got home in the mornings I woke the baby-sitter up and sent her home with one dollar of my tip money-- fully half of what I averaged every night.
As the weeks went by, heating bills added a strain to my meager wage.
The tires on the old Chevy had the consistency of penny balloons and began to leak. I had to fill them with air on the way to work and again every morning before I could go home.
One bleak fall morning, I dragged myself to the car to go home and found four tires in the back seat. New tires!
There was no note, no nothing, just those beautiful brand new tires.
Had angels taken up residence in Indiana? I wondered.
I made a deal with the local service station.
In exchange for his mounting the new tires, I would clean up his office.
I remember it took me a lot longer to scrub his floor than it did for him to do the tires.
I was now working six nights instead of five and it still wasn't enough.
Christmas was coming and I knew there would be no money for toys for the kids.
I found a can of red paint and started repairing and painting some old toys. Then I hid them in the basement so there would be something for Santa to deliver on Christmas morning.
Clothes were a worry too. I was sewing patches on top of patches on the boys pants and soon they would be too far gone to repair.
On Christmas Eve the usual customers were drinking coffee in the Big Wheel. There were the truckers, Les, Frank, and Jim, and a state trooper named Joe.
A few musicians were hanging around after a gig at the Legion and were dropping nickels in the pinball machine.
The regulars all just sat around and talked through the wee hours of the morning and then left to get home before the sun came up.
When it was time for me to go home at seven o'clock on Christmas morning, to my amazement, my old battered Chevy was filled full to the top with boxes of all shapes and sizes.
I quickly opened the driver's side door, crawled inside and kneeled in the front facing the back seat.
Reaching back, I pulled off the lid of the top box.
Inside was whole case of little blue jeans, sizes 2-10!
I looked inside another box: It was full of shirts to go with the jeans.
Then I peeked inside some of the other boxes. There was candy and nuts and bananas and bags of groceries. There was an enormous ham for baking, and canned vegetables and potatoes. There was pudding and Jell-O and cookies, pie filling and flour. There was whole bag of laundry supplies and cleaning items.
And there were five toy trucks and one beautiful little doll.
As I drove back through empty streets as the sun slowly rose on the most amazing Christmas Day of my life, I was sobbing with gratitude.
And I will never forget the joy on the faces of my little ones that precious morning.
Yes, there were angels in Indiana that long-ago December. And they all hung out at the Big Wheel truck stop....
This is going to be our first Christmas with our daughter and I can't wait to share in all of our family traditions with her. I am so excited! I think one of the things I looked forward to most about having children was celebrating this time of year with them and teaching them about our Lord and Savior and why Christmas is so very special!
I hope that this holiday season finds you smiling and remembering the reason for this beautiful, amazing season!
Today is Thanksgiving!!! As I posted in the previous post, I have a lot to be thankful this year, but something just doesn't feel right about today. You see, Alex is on duty today. He's been gone since about 6:15 am and won't be back until tomorrow at about 8:00 am. It's been very lonely here today and as I sit here feeling lonely, I wonder what happened to how I was feeling when I was overjoyed with thankfulness? I'm still thankful for those things, people, and experiences, but something isn't quite right when you so deeply miss someone that you hold so dear to your heart. This is the first night I've had to spend by myself since having Madison. It's a very weird feeling to know that if I needed Alex he won't be laying next to me in bed. I know that he's doing his job and I'm thankful that he's allowing someone else to be with their family on Thanksgiving, I just miss him. I didn't think it was going to be as hard as it is. Oh well. I got to have dinner with those wonderful friends I mentioned earlier. It was very nice to have their company, but as I'm sitting here now, I feel lonely once again. I guess I just can't seem to get enough company today. Guess that is just life sometimes. Anyway, I hope that everyone had a wonderful day today. I'm looking forward to having Alex back tomorrow and having a house full of people for our "Fakesgiving."
Thank you to all of you who have touched my life in one way or another. I am a better person for having known you!
Lately I've been reflecting on what's gone on in my life for the past year. Boy, has a lot happened! Last November 4th my husband and I found out we were expecting our first child. Then, almost a year ago today (November 20) Alex and I left on our cross country move to Virginia. We had to pick up and leave our friends and family behind, knowing that we had no idea if or when we'd be back in California while Alex served in the Marine Corps. Then we left on June 1st to move (again) to Rhode Island where Alex had one more school for the Marine Corps. While in Rhode Island we had our daughter on June 28th. Then on August 11th, we moved again. This time back to California. Praise the Lord!!!! Now I'm sitting here, having been back now for a little over three months, just thinking about the journey God took us on, but me in particular.
Moving away from friends and family was one of the hardest things I ever have done in my life, but in fairness, knew that I would have to do when marrying the love of my life, who also happened to be a Marine. But looking back on it, I would not change one second of the past year. You see, while in Virginia so many things happened...but two HUGE things stick out in my mind the most. First, Alex and I grew in ways I didn't know possible as a married couple. We had very little time to spend with each other, so when he was around and not out in the field or busy with his hours of endless homework, we made the most of our time. We spent many hours in prayer, reading through a couples devotional, traveling with friends, watching movies and just hanging out. We learned the value of quality time, as well as the pettiness of arguing over silly things. Our communication grew in a very postive way while we were away. Our time in Virginia was our last time as just a married couple and not a mom and dad, so it was a very sweet time in our marriage and a time that I will never forget. The second HUGE thing that sticks out in my mind is just how Good God Is!!!! Let me explain...as I mentioned earlier, leaving my friends and family was literally one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, but no less than two weeks getting to Virginia I saw God's hand actively at work in my life. You see, one day I was taking box after box after box (from all of the unpacking) down to the trash compactor and little did I know that I was about to meet my sister (not literally, but I'll explain)! There was another girl who happened to also be at the trash compactor, doing the same thing I was doing, trying to break down boxes so as not to jam the trash compactor. We both saw that we had the boxes the military uses to move you and so we began talking and realized that our husbands were both in the same company at The Basic School (TBS). So, we exchanged phone numbers. I wasn't really thinking anything of it, but it was nice to have so quickly met someone that was going through what I was. Then the next day, she called me and we ran a few errands. In the course of running our errands we discovered that we were both Christian. Then we started talking about church and where we were each going to try. We planned on going to church together that Sunday and introducing our husbands. Boy, was God's hand at work there...that Sunday when we went to church was the start of an amazing relationship between the four of us. A relationship that will only grow stronger as we all have the Lord binding us together. Over the course of the seven months in Virginia, my friend and I did pretty much everything together. One thing we did that stands out so much in my mind is that we kept each other accountable for being not only Godly wives, but Godly Marine Corps Wives. For those of you who have never had to deal with the military in a personal way, that last statement probably doesn't make a whole lot of sense to you, but it meant the world to me. She is someone whom I can confide in and I know she'll understand what I'm going through and she can give me perspective that is both Godly and understanding of whatever the situation might be. I also knew that she was praying for me. She became both my best friend and my family while in Virginia, thus the reason I said I met my sister at the trash compactor.
Well our seven months came and went and we had to say our good-byes, but as I said before God is Good!!!! Our friends found out the same day we did that they were also going to be stationed in Southern California. Now, we're at different bases, but seriously, what is a two hour drive to see family? Anyway, our friends just arrived in California today!!!! My heart is overjoyed. I knew that I missed them, but I had no idea how much until I felt my heart smile when I received the call letting me know they were here safely. They are working out their living situation right now, but will be coming to stay with us this weekend through Thanksgiving and I am just beside myself with excitement. God is Good!
While we were in Rhode Island, my water broke two weeks, to the day, early. So, we got ready and went to the hospital where I was in labor for 21 hours, 2.5 of it pushing (just as my epidural wore off), all for it to end exactly as I had feared, having to have a c-section. Oh how I cried when I found out that they were going to have to do a c-section, but I knew I had to pull it together because it was going to happen whether I liked it or not. Alex was on the phone like a mad man starting a prayer chain with our friends and family. All I can say is that prayer is truly powerful! God is Good!!! Once they prepped me for surgery it was only minutes until we got to meet Madison, my dream come true. That c-section ended up being a Godsend. All of my nerves were proved wrong. My doctor drove back to the hospital to perform the surgery herself. She was amazing, my nurse was better than anything I could have even hoped for, and the team of doctors and nurses that work on me and Madison after she was born were great. God is Good!!!! The thing I feared the most, the c-section, ended up being an amazing experience and the best part of the whole day. I know that was a result of all of the prayers being said. God is Good!!!
Our friends that we made in Virginia were the only friends that we went through my entire pregnancy with, but we were sent in different directions for the boys' specialty school just before I gave birth to Madison, so the fact that I get to introduce them to her this weekend is exciting and has been a long time coming. I can't wait for them to meet the little girl that grew inside of me as we traveled all over Virginia and D.C. together.
This year for Thanksgiving I have so much to be thankful for! It will be my daughter's first Thanksgiving, our friends will be with us, and I will have my amazing husband by my side. Along with our best friends from Virginia, we made some other very amazing friends, but just closer to the end of our time out there, so we didn't get the chance to develop the same kind of bond, but there are two other couples that are now out here with us whom I love and adore. They, too, will be spending Thanksgiving with us. I am very much looking forward to growing in my relationship with them and seeing what the Lord is going to do through these friendships. God is Good! Those are just the things that on Thanksgiving Day will be in front of me reminding me of how Good God Is. In addition to all of those things, Alex and I, since we've moved back, have been able to see our families fairly regularly, as well as hop right back into our Community Group that is comprised of our best friends. God kept those relationships close even though we were miles apart. God is Good!!!
There are so many more things that I am thankful for, but my main reason in posting this is because I just wanted to share a little bit about this past year and how I've decided it was themed with how Good our God is!!!!!!
Have you ever wondered why it stings so much to be called a hypocrite? Maybe it's because it's impossible not to be a hypocrite, despite our best efforts. We may confess with our mouth that we're Christian, but no matter how hard we try to be the "perfect Christian" we will always fall short. We will always sin. We will always disappoint God. At least God knows the truth and depth of our heart and soul though. What about people? What about when we say or do something that we've asked someone else not to do? We're acting hypocritically, but that may not be what we intended to do. It doesn't matter though, does it? In that person's mind we're a hypocrite because they don't know what is down deep in our soul. What happens when someone else acts hypocritically towards us? Are we so quick to judge that person's character? Why does it seem so personal when someone is seemingly being hypocritical? I don't know the exact answer to this question, but my guess is that it's our prideful nature. Either way, if it hurts us so much to be either the giver or the receiver of such comments, think about how God must feel to have His children constantly act hypocritically towards Him? We confess with our mouths that we love Him, yet we constantly give in to ourselves and do things that hurt our Father in Heaven.
I'm not sure if what I'm typing right now is coming across the way that I'm wanting it to, but I hope it is. I'll probably think of more to add later, but for now these are my thoughts.
Not sure if anyone still reads this, but I'm thinking about starting a Recipe Blog. What do you guys think?
This blog would consist of recipes that I post (ones that either I have tried and loved or ones that I've created). People could then comment back with recipes they 've tried that are maybe similar to a particular recipe or they could comment about how the recipe turned out when they tried it.
Well we're officially here in Rhode Island. Alex has officially started Naval Justice School. Madison is officially due in 4 and a half weeks.
Newport is absolutely beautiful. I can't wait to explore more of this beautiful city this weekend. I'll post pictures as I get them!!! It was a very fun drive coming up here from Virginia. So many sights to see and so many beautiful bridges to cross.
I can't believe the time has come for us to already be moving to Rhode Island! The packers come tomorrow, the movers come on Wednesday, my husband graduates from The Basic School on Thursday and then we leave first thing Friday morning for Rhode Island!
When we get to Rhode Island, Madison (our baby) will be due in 5 weeks! Crazy! Hope you're all doing well...I'll be back on as soon as our internet gets turned on in Rhode Island.
We've been in Virginia since Thanksgiving so that he could attend The Basic School for the Marine Corps. It's been a definite time of growth for us as a couple and for me as an individual. Through this time I've learned a lot and come to realize just how very amazing my husband is...even more so than I originally thought.
My husband has to be at work early every day (anywhere between 4 am and 6 am). He doesn't get to come home until late in the evening (usually between 7 pm and 9 pm). When he gets home he usually has to do homework of some sort (that takes him until at least midnight), wash his uniform, and get prepared for the next day's task. He does this all because he is a passionate Marine. He loves this country and has a desire to serve and protect. The things that Alex does during his training are insane at times...I could never do it! God definitely picked the right man for Alex's job, no doubt about it!
Even with this crazy schedule, Alex always makes time to take care of me and to make sure that I'm doing alright. He's got so much on his plate, yet he never ceases to be the most thoughtful person I know. For example, this week he's out in the field (he doesn't get to come home until Thursday night) and so his weekend was filled with getting ready for this training exercise, but he still managed to squeak in time to find me the most perfect Mother-to-be Mother's Day gift and the most beautiful card!
Aside from all of this, Alex is also already an amazing father to his daughter Madison. Every night he lays on my tummy and reads to her and is teaching her scripture. Madison is one lucky girl to be getting such an amazing daddy! She already loves his voice...whenever he talks to her or reads to her she moves to whatever side he's on and flutters all over the place. It's amazing!
Alex is the best husband I could have asked for. He's loyal, trustworthy, hardworking, sensitive, caring, honest, chivalrous, loving, sincere, committed, thoughtful, strong, protective, silly....the best friend I could ask for. God came close to perfection when He created Alex....my husband, my hero!
Well, we just found out this week that we are for sure moving back to Souther California!!! So excited!!! I miss my California weather and beaches. We move on June 1st to Rhode Island for Alex to finish up some final military law training called Naval Justice School. After that, we move back to California...probably mid to late August. Alex will be stationed at 29 Palms.
I know I know....I said I'd finish my silly class a couple of weeks ago, but then my family came into town and everything got put on the back burner. BUT....I finished it!!! I completed everything yesterday and sent it off into the mail today! I am done with EVERYTHING for my CLEAR credential!!! woo hoo!!! I don't ever have to take another class if I don't want to. That is best feeling ever!!!
Anyway, that's my exciting news!!!! Hope you're all doing well!!!
I am in the process of finishing my last two units to clear my credential in California. I think this is the silliest thing. I mean I guess I understand it, but whatever...it's annoying.
About, eight years ago...wow I feel old, I started college as part of the first cohort to go through BTEP (blended teacher education program). Basically, this program was designed to help you get your bachelor's degree and your credential at the same time...so after four years, you'd be ready to teach, instead of having to go back to school for your credential. Sounded like a great idea at the time, but what I've come to find out since I graduated is that when you take the extra 5th year to complete your credential you can basically graduated with a cleared credential, instead of a preliminary credential. In being part of BTEP I am short the units a regular credential program would have given me. I took all the same classes, did all the same work, put in MORE hours in the classroom than the average credential student and yet, they are still telling me that I have to PAY more money to take MORE units, just to clear my credential. Ridiculous.
All that said, to make my point when I say I'm so over this independent study class I'm taking. It's just so much busy work. I'm halfway through it, but it's like pulling teeth to get me to sit down and do it because it's soooooooo boooooorrrrrrring! I've already learned all this stuff, but all the classes that interest me did not fall under a category that counted as units to clear my credential. Anyway, I'm trying to get this all done and mailed off by the end of this week or the middle of next. It's possible, but I need to find the motivation.
Have you ever thought about the word ANTICIPATION? I have felt a lot of anticipation lately in several areas of my life. I have also had several conversations with people about things that are anticipated....so I decided to write about it.
Anticipation is defined as an expectation or a hope. It is a noun.
Things I've been anticipating lately:
~my level II ultra sound appointment ~our future move to Rhode Island and where we're going to live ~my parents upcoming visit to Virginia ~my workout time ~my phone conversations with friends from back home ~my weekends with my husband ~the planning of my final trip back home before the baby comes ~the baby coming ~our future duty station ~finishing my last two units to clear my credential (before the baby gets here) ~getting our paycheck ~when will I be back in the classroom teaching ~spending time with the Lord
I am stuck in a place of wondering if anticipating things is a good thing, a bad thing or a pointless thing. I mean sure when you anticipate something it's usually because you're excited about it, but at the same time, maybe it's because somewhere deep down you're worried about that something, which God clearly tells us is unnecessary. Either way, if it's something you know for sure is coming...which, by definition, you must if you are able to anticipate it (expect it), than is it pointless to even think about it in such a way you'd say you were anticipating it? These are just some random thoughts that have been floating through my head lately. I'd love to hear people's feed back on this topic.
In the mean time, I am excited about tomorrow because tomorrow my husband and I will be finding out whether we will be having a daughter or a son in July. I'm very much looking forward to this exciting time and this ultra sound has been much anticipated...
I woke up this morning and had a million things on my mind. First and foremost, I'm worried about my husband in the yucky weather we're having right now. But, when I woke up, I found that my prayers have been answered so far. It was predicted to start snowing last night at midnight and not really stop until late this evening when it would turn from snow into freezing rain/sleet. There is not a drop of snow on the ground. The ground is wet, but no snow. Now, I don't know how much precipitation came down last night, but I asked the Lord to let the storm pass over us, specifically the snow and so far it's looking like it might. :)
Another thing on my mind when I woke up is that today I am 19 weeks pregnant! Crazy! It seems like just yesterday I found out I was pregnant. A week from today my pregnancy will be half way over. Sometimes I stop and think just how amazing it is that God can take such a small item from our bodies and turn it into this complicated multi-organ functioning beautiful human being. I mean seriously. Think about it! Our bodies are so freaking complicated and if one thing is slightly off, part of our body wouldn't function correctly and yet He creates millions of babies. Sometimes I just sit in awe and think about this!
I am reading through the stories of the women of Bible right now. A good friend of mind suggested this idea to me because I've been struggling with finding something to read, especially with the lack of people to discuss what I'm reading with (as far as the Bible goes). If you know me, you know that I'm someone who has a hard time just reading the Bible. I like to talk about it and debate it and get to the core meaning of what I'm reading. Anyway, point being, I read the Book of Ruth yesterday. Hers, is one of my favorite stories! I love her commitment to Naomi and the discipline and obedience she displays by going to Boaz's field every day. Even more than that though, I love the awesome picture of GRACE that we see through Boaz and his actions toward Ruth. I always feel rejuvenated after reading this story. This story also has a special place in my heart because before I met my husband I read the book Lady In Waiting and it goes through the Book of Ruth. This book helps us see how, we as women, should place our focus and our desire for true love on the Lord, for He is our first love. I followed the guidelines from this book because they had a profound impact on me, and then I met my darling husband and the rest is history. But I believe this book gave me a much healthier approach to looking for a husband and where my focus should truly be, thus my other reason for loving the story in the Book of Ruth.
Today I will be:
Praying for Alex Reading through Esther Going to the doctor...I think to get blood drawn...eew! Getting more water to have on hand, in case this storm should get ugly Reading some of Wild at Heart Spending some peaceful time with the Lord Probably reading a little more of something...I'm in the middle of a few books Making dinner (butter and parmesan gnocchi with caesar salad)
Not sure if I'll be doing anything else, but that's what I've got planned so far!
Lately, I've been feeling like the only people that understand me are my friends back home in California. It's very hard to be so far away from them all. I am sure I'm just going through a type of homesickness or some emotional part of being pregnant, but lately I just really miss the people that know me well. The people who just have to hear me say one word to know if I'm really doing alright or not, even if I try to say I'm alright, they know I'm lying. They listen to me, they're patient with me, they pray with me, they love me, they miss me, they make sure that after long days of being alone, I'm doing alright.
I was really discouraged by the message at church yesterday. I know it's not fair to compare the church we're attending out here to my church back home (mainly because it's fairly new and still establishing itself), but I was just thoroughly disappointed with the teaching yesterday. They attempted to address the question, "Where do we go after we die?" and personally I think they did a down right awful job. I'm not trying to be judgmental and I know it is probably coming across that way. It was just frustrating. I felt like they were saying things about heaven as a matter of fact, that we won't really know until we're there. Then to top it off, we all watched a video of people being interviewed about the question I listed above. There was one guy on there that broke my heart. He was an alcoholic and because of that fact he said he knew he'd be going to hell because he didn't see himself being able to change. Do you know what happened after that? PEOPLE STARTED LAUGHING!!! The people in the church were laughing at this guy's response along with several others. It was disgusting! How can the leaders of the church possibly think that their church is ready for this message when it responds to those who are lost and unsaved by laughing, no wonder people say that "the church" is hypocritical. Our hearts need to be sincere when building relationships with others and showing them the love of Christ. Anyway, sorry, I'm going off now. It just frustrated me and was very discouraging.
I'm excited to say that I booked my level 2 ultra sound today. This ultra sound is the one that helps to determine the sex of the baby. It's a little later than I had hoped, simply because they were booked up the wazoo, but our appointment is on March 2nd. :)
I start physical therapy tomorrow. Turns out that my baby is sitting on my sciatic nerve...quite painful. I'm hoping that whatever they have me do tomorrow or whatever they do to me will help.
I'm excited that Lost is starting back up again on Wednesday. It gives me a little something to look forward to, but I will definitely miss being with all of my Lost buddies back home and going to our weekly Lost parties. The suspense is killing me...
i have several posts that i never finished to let you know that we made it out to virginia. sorry for the lack of posting. just when things starting to calm down we left to go back to california for the holidays and just returned back to virginia on the 31st. and now i'm sick! being sick is never fun, but being sick and pregnant is no bueno. luckily i'm going to the doctor today for my monthly pregnancy check up, so hopefully my doctor can help me by giving me something for what i think is a nasty sinus infection, as well as something for my terrible cough that is evil and doesn't let me sleep. it's very strange being in a totally new place and not feeling well. yesterday i totally needed popsicles for my throat and did not have the energy to go out myself and get them (due to the fact that i've totally lost my appetite and have to force down even chicken broth), but there was no one i could call so i did without. i'm not trying to throw a pity party, it's just a weird feeling. i've never been anywhere, let alone sick when there is not a single person i could call to help me out with things i need. anyway, i just wanted to say hi and happy new year and let you all know that i'm still alive and will be blogging more often since, for the most part, things have died down and everything is now unpacked. i may be creating a new blog... we'll see, but until next time....
I love to get up early and work out. It starts my day off with energy while giving me peace and quiet as well as time to myself to talk with God. I am married to a wonderful man with whom we have a beautiful daughter and a dashing son! Life can't get much better than this!!