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Reflections

10 Little Updates and Latest Looming Praise Reports

Good morning and Happy May! I wanted to come to you today with 10 little updates and latest looming praise reports. I know many of you have been praying for us as we’ve settled in a new situation, in a new house, in a new state. There have been glorious answers to your prayers regarding our move to Arizona and it is my privilege to share what God has done!

  1. We LOVE it here! We aren’t as content as we will be when we finally reach our eternal home, but while we’re on earth, Northern Arizona is awesome! We are so grateful for the kick in the pants God gave us. My faithful readers know that I waivered a bit, but God was clear with His direction and I am fully awed by His gracious faithfulness. (*See photos below.)
  2. We found a great church! That might not seem like a big deal to some, but it was priority for us. We did a lot of on-line research, and we only had to visit two. The first one was nice, but we quickly discovered some theological differences and decided not to return. The second one checked all the boxes and then some! We’ve been attending ever since. Praise the Lord!
  3. We have been unaffected by the fires. You might be aware of a couple of major wildfires burning in Northern Arizona. A few of you have even reached out to check on me. Wow – thank you! We have not been “in the line of fire” but have been daily reminded to pray for those who are. It seems the hard work of many firefighters is paying off and the danger is subsiding. There has been no loss of life reported, but several homes have been lost and I’m sure those affected would be blessed by your prayers.
  4. I have a “prayer chair”. I’ve always wanted one. Several years ago, I read a challenge by Anne Graham Lotz to create a dedicated space for devotional time with the Lord. Since then, I’ve had my “typical spots” but, because I lived with so many people, my spots had to serve several purposes. That was ok. But now, I have my own prayer chair in the corner, overlooking the pine and oak trees. (**See photos below.)
  5. God has been so faithful! I found a prayer list I’d written last fall in regard to, what was then, our upcoming move. It had 4 specific requests. All of them were answered above and beyond what I could have imagined. The most touching part is that this list had gotten misplaced shortly after I’d penned it. I hadn’t prayed over it daily, as I’d planned. But you know what? Our God is not dependent on us to be organized. He answered every item on that list, buried as it as, and I was blessed and blown away when the piece of paper resurfaced today.
  6. My son got a job! 4 of my kids stayed in California for the time being. My youngest, Marcus, is 18. He left a job he enjoyed to move to Arizona with us. We expected he would continue working for the same company here. They don’t do transfers, so he had to quit and reapply, but he had great experience and glowing recommendations from the managers in CA. They had open positions in AZ. He applied. He went in person to introduce himself and drop off his resume. Nothing. He called. He went in person again. It was shocking to us when he couldn’t even get an interview. After a month, we had to assume God just didn’t want him to work there anymore. So, he applied somewhere else. He got called in for an interview the next day and was hired on the spot! Well, to God be the glory! He made His will abundantly clear!
  7. I’m enjoying quality time with my youngest child. By the time Marcus was born, we had a loud and busy family. It is true that the squeaky wheel gets the oil and he is the quietest of my bunch. I’ve told him over the years that his time would come. Eventually, he’d be the only one left in the house and he’d probably get more attention than he wanted. Well, that time is now, and we’ve found something fun to do together. He has a YouTube channel and we’re making a series of reaction videos. I’ve not seen any of the Marvel movies, so Marcus and I are watching them together, one by one, and he is recording my reactions. Who knew people would take an interest or would consider my newbie questions and expressions as entertainment, but apparently that’s a thing. I’m just enjoying the time with my son.
  8. My girls are doing well. One of my biggest concerns, which I wrote about before I moved, was the wellbeing of my daughters and grandkids. They needed to find affordable places to live. I put it out there, you prayed, God miraculously delivered. They are teaming up, taking care of each other, and this mama’s heart is at peace. Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, prayer warriors!
  9. I’m settling into my new job with my old company. I had expected to quit before I moved but, at the last minute, was offered the opportunity to stay in a new role, working remotely from Arizona. The logistical transition has turned out to be more complex than any of us realized. I’m happy to report that I’m at least 75% settled in – maybe more, depending on the outcome of an open ticket with IT. God is faithful!
  10. I’m getting to explore the Arizona Trail! I am concluding my list of 10 little updates and latest looming praise reports with this detail because it was like a housewarming gift from God. We had no idea, when we applied to rent this home, that it was right across from the Arizona Trail. This relatively new trail runs the entire length of the state. North, it goes up to Utah. South, I can take it all the way to Mexico. I’m not likely to hike for days on end, but it is a wonderful escape which intersects countless other trails and offers hours of interesting exercise and conversation with Jesus. (***See photos below.)

I feel certain this update and praise report post would have been different if it weren’t for you all. You have prayed for me, encouraged me, and been an amazing support system. Today I find myself steadied, strengthened, and settled. Glory to God and gratitude to you! God bless you, my precious friends! Please enjoy some photos below.



Categories
Emotions

The Amazing News I’m Really Excited to Share – Part 9

Oh, the freeway! How I love to hate it! I love the ease with which it allows travel between cities, but I hate the nervous knowledge of all that could go wrong at such high speeds.

The amazing news I’m really excited to share today started on the freeway.

We hauled our last pile to the dump and finished transporting our daughter’s belongings from her storage unit to her new apartment. Our van had made so many heavily loaded runs around town in the past few weeks, I’d lost count. It was a work horse for sure, and it was time to retire it.

We packed our airbed, duffel bags, and dog into our tiny little Prius. Our house was empty! We left a key in a lockbox for the housekeepers and drove away, my husband in the van and me following in the Prius. We went to meet a friend, who facilitated the donation of the van to a local church.

A few quick signatures and we were a one-vehicle family. I shifted into the Prius’ passenger seat so my husband could drive. A few minutes later, we had merged onto the freeway headed towards our kids and grandkids. It was time to say goodbye. I was lost in thought.

I don’t think the state of California realized there would be this many people here caught up in the freeway system.

Richard Grieco

Suddenly, the Prius dashboard lit up like a Christmas tree! The lights were intense and foreboding, silently hollering for attention. I fumbled with my phone as I googled what it could mean and what we should do. There were no easy answers, other than to get to a mechanic, and get there fast!

The warning lights on a Prius dashboard
The exclamation point in the triangle was uncannily boisterous and bright!

We immediately turned around and drove to our usual repair shop. Our guy was busy and wouldn’t be able to look at the car for several days. We couldn’t wait because we were headed out of state, for good, in less than 24 hours! We asked for a referral to another mechanic ours would trust. He suggested we go to the dealership.

To the dealership we went. Back on the freeway, the lights were still illuminated, and the car’s performance was declining. We were praying. I’d reached out to some other people who were praying too.

By the grace of God, we made it! We pulled up and the clerk met us at the car. He asked, “What time is your appointment?”

My husband explained that we didn’t have an appointment. We were moving out of town, but all these lights had come on. He gestured to the dashboard. The man glanced around with hesitation, during which time the words “Please Lord” catapulted from my heart to the Heavens.

Pug looking out the car window
Photo by Jordan N on Unsplash
Our broken little car contained everything the movers hadn’t taken.

The man said “Well, let’s get you checked in and see what we can do.” I breathed a “Thank You” to Jesus, as I took our pug and went to the grassy area in front of the building. My husband went inside to do the paperwork. It could be a few hours before we knew anything more.

It did not take long, however, for the mechanics to determine that all the hullabaloo had been over the water pump, which needed to be replaced. A short time (and a hefty price tag!) later, we were on our way again. The dashboard lights were at rest, and so were our nerves.

The amazing news I’m really excited to share is that God watches over us with incredible vigilance!

It may seem, at first, like this was a stroke of bad luck. The last thing we needed on our way out of town was car trouble, right? But if you have been reading this Amazing News series, you know that God has been incredibly intentional. This too, was a fantastic blessing.

What if the water pump had gone bad just 24 hours later? We would have been headed out of state. We could have been out of range for cell service. We would have been in unfamiliar territory, not knowing where to find a mechanic or dealership.

“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”

2 Chronicles 16:9a

As it played out, not only did we have a replacement for the broken part of our car, but we also had peace of mind. The Toyota mechanics had run their diagnostics and confirmed that the water pump was the only problem. Honestly, we should have had the car looked over before our trip, but we were buried under all the other tasks for our move, and we didn’t think of it. God did! He was watching over us with incredible vigilance.

Additionally, when we did make it to say goodbye to our precious family, we had the fresh reassurance that God was intimately involved. We experienced His provision, getting us to, and through, the repairs. And that superseded any worry we might have felt. He was with us, caring for us, and holding our whole family in His all-capable hands.

Mechanic with a tool in the engine of a car
Photo by Brigitte Miller on Pexels.com
God knows and cares about what is happening, unseen, under the hoods of our lives.

What seems to be going wrong in your day? Are there warnings signs on the dashboard of your life that demand attention? The amazing news I am really excited to share is that God is watching over you with incredible vigilance. He knows when you need to pull off the freeway of frenzy and get the care you need. His timing may not seem convenient, but it is perfect!

Precious friend, do you need to get back to church? Do you need to repair a broken relationship, with God or someone else? Is it time you took a break or relinquished control?

Please tend to that toward which God is drawing your attention. Do it today. Act now. You’ll be glad you did. You are worth it!

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Emotions

The Amazing News I’m Really Excited to Share – Part 7b

Well this is a first! I’m blogging from my phone. Does it look ok to read?

Most of you know I am mid-move from California to Arizona. I have packed my laptop in anticipation of being on the road soon. But I have amazing news I’m really excited to share, so here I am, hoping WordPress and my iPhone are playing nice. I will keep it brief.

I’m calling this Part 7b. In Part 7a, I mentioned that God had graciously encouraged me in regards to moving away from my adult kids and my grandkids. Ah- it is such a hard thing!

Moving forward always means leaving something behind.

But God is faithful and He gave me three verses. I shared the first in my last post. Here is the second.

Verse that says God will teach our kids and give them peace.
God will teach our kids and give them peace!

Do you see what I see? What a promise! God Himself will teach my kids and see to it that they have peace. Yours too!

I had to look at the rest of Isaiah 54. It is an ode to the future glory of Zion. God is everything. He is all in all. When people finally see Him for who He truly is, they will want for nothing. Their families will lack nothing in His care.

Our God is a good shepherd. He tends His lambs with loving kindness. He will keep my lambs. He will teach my children and their children what they need to know in this crazy world.

I will not move out of state and leave them alone. I will leave them in the best of care. What a precious promise God has given to me.

This is amazing news and I’ve been really excited to share it with you. What encouragement! Are you separated from the ones you love? Do you also need to hold to this promise today?

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Emotions

The Amazing News I’m Really Excited to Share – Part 7a

This day both took forever to arrive and got here in the blink of an eye. Do you know what I mean? Have you felt that before?

The amazing news I’m really excited to share is that today is moving day!

For my things, at least. The movers will be here at sunrise. They will load the furniture and the boxes over which I’ve toiled for the past month. My husband and I, however, will stay and ‘camp’ in our empty house until the carpets are cleaned, the nail holes are patched, and our keys are turned in.

I will miss my bed, espresso machine, and Alexa. But it will be an adventure, and it will be short lived. I don’t have to miss my family just yet. They no longer live in this house, but they are still nearby. If you missed out on their amazing provision stories, read them here and here.

I have asked the Lord to give me some verses, on which to meditate as time presses me toward the day we will drive away from our parents, kids, and grandkids. As always, He has been faithful. He wants to help us savor His word. He gave me this for today:

Deuteronomy 5:29
Lord, keep me inclined to revere You!

Yes, it is moving day. And another piece of amazing news I’m really excited to share is that God keeps His promises. I am dwelling on this one today. If my heart is inclined to fear (reverence, regard with awe) my God, He will see that it goes well with me and my children forever.

I must keep my heart aligned and inclined to God’s commands. The best thing I can do for my children is to love and obey their Heavenly Father. He will take care of them.

How are things with you today? If you were to camp in your home without your household goods, what would you miss most? Are you holding to any specific promises today? Feel free to borrow mine if you need one. Do you have any exciting news to share?

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Emotions

The Amazing News I’m Really Excited to Share – Part 6

Hello, hello, hello! (I may have had an espresso shot too many!) But I wanted to quickly say hi and tell you the amazing news I’m really excited to share today.

I’m in the thick of the thick. I’m condensing a 3300-ish square foot house and 3-car garage into a 26-foot moving truck. And today was estate sale day!

When I say estate sale, I really mean pillage day. But doesn’t it sound better the first way?

Miscellaneous household items on a long table
Pillage Day was like a garage sale, only it was in the living room, had an exclusive invitee list, and everything was free.

I put all the things I could not, would not, or should not take with me into one room and invited my five kids to raid it. Everything from spices to stationary, pots and pans to perfume and anything in between. It was like a free garage sale, or more accurately, living room sale.

The amazing news I’m really excited to share today is that there is joy in the journey!

I had fun! It was heartwarming to hear about why certain items were nostalgic or important to which kid. I found joy in hearing the memories they had attached to the items up for grabs.

And it was entertaining to see them making piles for each other of things they didn’t want to see their siblings go without. One daughter made a cluster of ingredients she wanted her sister to take, cook, and then invite her to dinner. It brought laughter to my hard day of work.

Grocery ingredients on a cabinet shelf
The pile my daughter made for her sister, whom she hoped would make kalua pork and apple pie and then invite her over.

But possibly the most fun for me was when I handed each of them a file of things I’ve been keeping from their school years. It contained their report cards and some commendation type things. They didn’t realize I’d kept them. They thought it great to read teacher comments and to recall themselves as they once were.

It has been a busy week of donating, trashing, selling, and packing. But the amazing news I’m really excited to share today is that I’ve found such joy in the journey. My children went home with some things they need, some things they want, and some smiles they’d forgotten about. My mama heart is happy.

By the by, my son dropped, and broke, an almost-full bottle of sesame oil. Boy was that a mess. But, on the upside, it landed on tile, not carpet and now the whole house smells sesame good! It is hard not to see the upsides to every downturn when God has been so faithful. If you haven’t been following and would like to binge-read the story, it starts here.

Thanks for smiling with me today. I appreciate you more than you know! If you have any amazing news you’re excited to share, I’d love to hear it!

Now I’ve got to get back to business. The movers will be here at sunrise on Saturday! If you were going to condense everything you own to fit into a 26′ x 7′ x 8′ truck, what would you be sure to keep? What would you like to see your loved ones receive? To what would you happily say, “good riddance”?

Categories
Emotions

The Amazing News I’m Really Excited to Share – Part 5

Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh! With fierce appreciation in my watering eyes and quivering lips, barely able to speak, I press one hand to my heart and extend the other towards you. God is immeasurably gracious, and you – you guys are the BEST!

Thank you, my brothers and sisters, for flooding God’s throne room with petitions on my daughter’s behalf. You asked our Heavenly Father for a miracle, and He delivered! If you aren’t sure what this is about, catch up on the story here.

The amazing news I’m really excited to share is that my daughter got the apartment!

Today, we will be moving her into the same complex where we moved her sister a couple weeks ago. The girls can help each other, and my grandkids can play and grow together. And they’ll all be only a mile away from my youngest daughter and her husband.

Next week, when we leave for Arizona, we will have peace in our hearts. We will rest assured that everyone staying behind is settled with roofs over their heads. That has been my foremost request.

I can only attempt to describe how I feel… incredibly humbled, extremely relieved, and so overjoyed! I want to both bow my knees and jump for joy. What a strange and unusual dichotomy it is!

Answered prayer

Make no mistake, this was supernatural! My daughter has issues with her housing and income history which could have – should have – been hard to overcome, especially given the intense competition in the rental market. But God. He saw fit to intervene and answer specific prayer.

“‘Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.”

Jeremiah 32:17

I’m so grateful! Thank you, Jesus for the amazing news I get to share! And thank you, my friends, from the bottom of my bursting heart!

If ever I can return the favor, please don’t hesitate to ask. It would be my privilege to pray for you. Is there anything for which I can pray right now?