Sunday, November 30, 2008

So Appreciative....

Each child is in their own room tonight. Some friends of ours gave us their daughter's bedroom suite, along with two beds with box springs and mattresses. Kayla got her bed set up last night. I, along with the help of my sister-in-law and brother-in-law, got Christopher and Kaitlyn's room set up as well. Christopher and Kaitlyn are in their rooms, in their beds, you hear that....silence. They are asleep! Hallelujah! Tonight, we sat down together, read our Bible stories, did prayers, and they were out. I couldn't believe it. Only one time Christopher said he wanted to sleep in the living room with everyone. I told him God had given us their new beds, and that he would sleep in the bed. That was the end of it. I put our blow up mattress in mine and Chris' room. For the first time in nearly five weeks, we will all be sleeping in our own rooms!

Our Pastor preached this morning on a repentant heart. The message spoke directly to my heart. I've questioned God, doubted God, and have been angry at God. I didn't realize it until hearing the message, that I desperately needed to ask the Lord's forgiveness, that I needed to repent for my doubting, for being angry, for even saying and thinking some of the things I've said and thought. I'm so grateful for Grace....Amazing Grace!

Kayla and Justin are watching a movie...Chris too...Princess Bride. It's one of Chris' favorite movies. Me, I could have gone a lifetime without watching it. Does nothing for me.

I'm going to take advantage of my children being asleep and go to bed early tonight. I'm just so grateful for friends and family that have done and helped us. While I truly believe the incidents that have occurred were used to save our marriage, I also believe it has allowed me to see just how many people care for us. We are truly blessed.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


I am sitting here, watching a Veggie Tale movie with my kids; and knowing just how blessed I am. We are taking a break from decorating our Christmas Tree. We have no water again because the water heater is doing weird stuff. I'm wondering if the reason the electric bill has been so high is because the water heater hasn't been working right and we didn't know it. I don't understand all the reasoning behind all the "stuff" that's been going on, but what I realized, sitting here on the blow up mattress a friend let us borrow, is that there are thousands of boys and girls that probably won't even get a Christmas tree this year, that for some, not having running hot water is the norm, and having a washer and drier is a dream. My kids are well fed, we are safe, we lack for nothing, and we have friends that care so much about us that if we did lack for something, they would take care of us. In the midst of the chaos, man my heart is OK. It hasn't been OK for a few weeks. It's like I can see all the battling around me, but I can also see for the first time that it is being held at bay. It's cool.

Let me get back to the movie. The kids are climbing on me for attention. Man I'm blessed.

Hot Water Anyone?!

Seems like everything is breaking, bathroom sink has a leak, tub is clogged, kitchen pipes have a new leak, and now, the hot water heater seems to be shot. Chris replaced the elements and thermostats; the GoodCents people of Gulf Power came out, still no hot water. Very frustrating.

Been rainy and gloomy this afternoon. We so need the rain. Been watching football today. My college team lost...

Kayla got her room all cleaned and wiped down and got her bed set up. She has more clothes than anyone that has to be washed. I had no idea we had so much clothes! If the closet doors were closed and the dresser drawers were closed, then the clothes don't have to be washed. Unfortunately, Kayla and Kaitlyn have no doors on their closets, and what isn't in the closet is on their floor. Lots of work to do.

Much still to do, more later. Have a restful Saturday!

Friday, November 28, 2008

For The First Time In Ten Years....

This is the first time in ten years I haven't been out shopping on Black Friday! Normally I am up and gone by 3:30 a.m. and standing in line when the doors open. Usually I am filled with an overwhelming sense to rush out and buy and frantic that my kids won't have enough; but not this year. I can only give praise where praise is due because I truly believe the Lord has answered my prayer and desire for me to not "forget" and get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season. Now, that doesn't mean I have bought, but I am thrilled to say I have only bought three items, one for each child, and they only cost $10 each! It's just very important to me that my kids know and understand the reason we celebrate Christmas. I want them to be able to have fun with Santa, but don't want them to get wrapped up in the whole thing that they lose their focus. My 16 year old says I'm taking all the fun out of it, I'm just struggling with it. My three year it excited, every morning she wakes up and says, "It's Jesus' birthday!" We are starting a new tradition this year of baking a birthday cake for Jesus. I'm just looking forward to what the Lord is going to show me this year.

On another strange twist, my husband is the one that got out this morning! It was the funniest thing. He was out for a couple hours, and back home. He had been up most of the night not feeling well and decided to put his lack of sleep to good use. I told him specifically something I wanted, a Chronological Timeline Bible. LifeWay had it on sale for $19.99 this morning, originally it's like $50. I usually don't ask for stuff for Christmas, but for months and months it has been on my heart to study the Bible in a chronological time line; so I asked for it:)

We slept in the house last night for the first time in four weeks! I got the living room cleaned and we all slept on blow up mattresses in there; got the hallway mopped and wiped too; today I've gotten my room wiped down, swept and mopped and am working on wiping all Christopher's wooden train pieces down, toys, bed, and sweeping and mopping and still have Kaitlyn's to do today.

We put our tree up yesterday. I'm ready to get all our decorations out, but we have no furniture to put the decorations out! We have had to throw out so much, but, again, for some reason everything seems to be OK. It's hard to explain.

Well, my break is over and I have lots still to do.

Happy Black Friday!!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Yesterday the President of the United States pardoned Pumpkin and Pecan. Every year I hear of this pardoning I am reminded of a Bible Study I did. If you, reading this right now, have asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, then you too have been pardoned. Instead of being doomed to an eternity of hell, you have been freed to live eternity in the Glories of Heaven with Jesus, where you will have no more pain and no more tears...hallelujah!

Lets put our worries's wasted energy anyway, and be thankful today. If you are reading this and you have never been "pardoned" of your sins, all you have to do is acknowledge you are a sinner, that there are none righteous, that Jesus Christ came to this earth and died....but here's the thing, He still isn't dead! He is alive, three days later He arose from the grave. With that, we have been given free will to choose eternity with Him in Heaven, or be separated from Him in hell. If you believe that, simply pray this prayer, "Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner, that my sin separates me from you. I believe you came to this earth, you lived, and you died, and you rose again. I believe you came to set me free from my sins that I can live with you for eternity. Lord Jesus, I ask you to come into my heart and set me free. I love you Jesus. Amen."

If you have just prayed this prayer, please let me know. The Bible says that if you have just done this, that Angels are rejoicing in Heaven over you this very moment!! Gives me goosebumps!! This is just the first step though. The Bible also says that one must believe in his heart, and must confess it with his mouth; now that you are a Christian, believing in the Lord Jesus, it's time to not only grow, but tell others. Baptism needs to follow as well. Find a Bible teaching, believing church and keep running to Jesus!

God Bless You and have a BLESSED Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cleaning Progress Made

We made progress with Chris getting the mattresses out yesterday, we got the other furniture out that had to go. We got the two bathrooms cleaned and the living room picked up. We have so much stuff stacked on the walls and in corners because of the furniture that was taken out. All the nick knacks still need to be wiped down with a borax solution and put in boxes until we get another entertainment center, end tables and shelves. We were hoping to sleep in the house tonight, but we just couldn't pull it off. I'm resolved to sleeping in the camper another night or two, just so I don't stress over getting "x" amount done and then be disappointed when it doesn't get done. I'm sure it will all come together this weekend.

Kaitlyn has a virus and conjunctivitis. Praying no one else will get it.

More later.


My baby girl is sick. She started coughing the night before last, this morning she is running from her eyes and nose, chapped face, a fever, and a pink eye. I'm hoping the pink eye is because of the cold, and not "pink eye." Kaitlyn is my singer of the family. She's been singing non stop since 2. She makes songs up, she answers questions by singing, she just loves singing. This morning she woke up singing her ABC's through once, and then started in on, "I want a hippopotamus for Christmas, only a hippopotamus will do...." I'm going to have to try finding a stuffed hippo for her I guess. Nonetheless, my day which was supposed to be filled with wiping down walls and furniture, will be spent sitting in a doctor's office.

I've been thinking a lot about the last few weeks. I was reminded of a time, only a few months ago, that my clothes drier broke. We couldn't afford to fix it, so that resulted in drying all of our clothes on a clothes line. That was hard work. The Lord showed me how I had become too ungrateful and took for granted so much. We've spent nearly two weeks all camping in a pop up camper, cooking over a fire and Coleman stove, fixing quick fix meals and getting that real quick fix of a drive through. While we won't have a full functioning kitchen when we get in, I am so grateful for the anticipation of getting into our home. I know the Lord will provide the needs we have for furniture, as well as for the other miscellaneous items. I was reminded last night from a sweet lady at Pine Summit, the Bible says He will provide our needs, what we have to have. It doesn't say He will provide our wants. Now, don't get me wrong, there are many stories I can tell where the Lord has provided my hearts desire....where He has blessed me with a want and not a need; however, right now, I am learning to be content in all things, whether it is making a pallet on the floor, or cooking over an open fire.

My other children are stirring, I have a full list of to-do's to tackle. Please be praying for a quick recovery for my baby Kaitlyn (she's not a baby anymore, she's just turned 3, but she is the baby of the family and it has stuck. In fact, she tells everyone her name is "Baby Sister." ) Also, I have family members traveling today to different parts of the states, please be praying for them as well.

Bless you and your family....I'd like to challenge you to look around, see what it is you are taking for granted today, thank the Lord for your abundance. If you are like us today, struggling to get by, and not understanding what the purpose is of the valley you are in, find something of the situation to be grateful about. If you can't find anything, ask the Lord to show you one thing you can be grateful for. I know He will honor that prayer, even (especially) if you don't mean it. I am grateful for the food basket we were given yesterday from a local public school society. I am grateful that I have a husband who accepted me, my past and my daughter without any judgement when he married me. I am grateful for a mother in law who accepted Kayla as her own grandchild, even before we were married and that she never said I wasn't good enough for her son. I am grateful for the restoration of my family from the years of deceitfulness, lies and manipulation and stealing. I am grateful that the Lord blessed me with three new babies (one in being rocked by Jesus) when the world's doctor's said I would never have anymore. I am grateful for the pop up camper we have called home for the last two weeks, for I see now that home is not the structure, but the uniting of family. We have come together in a special way these last two weeks. I love my husband more today than I did a month ago when we were told to leave our home...

I am truly blessed.

On The Wings Of Prayers....

I spoke with the contractor yesterday after the mold specialist suspected asbestos in the house. The contractor came out this morning. The flooring is not asbestos. Also, the sub-flooring was not destroyed or bothered by the water/mold. DeWayne, the contractor, is going to do his best to work in the ridiculously MINIMAL amount Lucie got from the insurance company. We will have mismatched vinyl, mismatched cabinets, and an unfinished laundry room floor, but we will be in the house. In fact, the contractor said once the A/C person gives the OK, we can be in tonight. (The A/C guy was running late, I'll be cleaning the wood furniture and anything that is washable in a borax solution so we can sleep in the house on Wednesday night.

Chris took out the mattresses and couch today while I cooked. Lucie is washing curtains and sheets for me. A friend of mine is working on getting us some pillows. I think we are set on beds now.

Also, the insurance company called us back yesterday. Since Chris is in direct relation (Lucie's son) to Lucie, they are adding he and I to the home owner's insurance policy so Lucie's original policy will not be canceled.

We sincerely appreciate your prayers for our family during these last few weeks. I know it is the prayers of many that has given us the strength to get through.

Chris and Stacey

Monday, November 24, 2008

What Can I Say?

Well, after a hopeful day last week, things don't look so good today. We won't be moving back in the house. A family in our church has a house in Milton. They are willing to wave deposits, we'll clean and they are willing to help with the utilities until we can put them in our names. My husband is really having a tough time right now. My heart hurts for him.
Will post more later. Am grateful for the nice weather today, for friends, but most of all for my family. I am truly blessed.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Live Streaming This Morning

I'm home this morning instead of in Sunday School and Church. I've had little or no time just for me these last four weeks, and have missed church a lot these weeks, and while being a wife and mother does not entitle me to "me time," I am simply pooped. I am fortunate to attend a church that does live streaming at both 9:30 and 11:00 services; hence, I will be listening/watching live via

I'm cooking a whole chicken this morning over a blazing fire. Kind of squared the logs around the roaster....we'll see what happens. I've been taking pictures of this last week, will post them eventually. I'll have to have Chris take the camera to the church and put the pics on for me.

I am cleaning out the utility room this morning as well (One of the rooms that has the mold in it). It has to be empty before 9:00 tomorrow morning. Our hot water heater is in there, I wonder how that's going to work, no water at all.... We'll see:) Most of our Christmas decorations that are in the utility room are in totes or in closets in other rooms, so we should be able to salvage most of them. Strange, I had all of the decorations in the utility room when we first moved in, (two months ago), but took the ones that are in boxes out for some reason.

I just looked up in time to see my heavy duty commercial pan I have my roaster on bend. Hhmmm...guess it's not so heavy duty if it can't withstand a little heat! ha-ha! Oooh, have I not withstood these last few weeks under a little heat? My faith has wavered. I've doubted, I've questioned, I've cried....I know and knew He was still in charge, but even today wonder what it is I am to take away from this experience. I believe it saved my doubt, for that I am eternally grateful. I guess I won't know until I reach glory the full extent of these circumstances.

Gotta run. More later when I see what the chicken looks like....


Friday, November 21, 2008

We Love The Mold Guy!

The mold guy came out today and will have a crew in the house on Monday. Either Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning the A/C mold people will be there cleaning out the ducts. We can start cleaning and get back in the house Tuesday! We won't have a kitchen, but I have a great fire pit we've been using, a Coleman Stove and my toaster oven! Thanks for all of your concern and prayers. We will have to replace some furniture items according to the mold guy. We will have to replace the mattresses (1 king, 1 double, and 2 twins) a large majority of our regular furniture has to go (2 sofas, and some chairs) and anything made of particle board (both entertainment centers) - but, we get to be in the house, that is the blessing, all of the other stuff can be replaced. As we've found out, it's hard to replace a home. Again, thanks for your prayers.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Step In The Right Direction

Lucie finally heard back from the insurance company this morning. I have spoken with Dewayne (contractor) twice this morning. He has also spoken with the insurance agent. The insurance agent is sending out a mold specialist. He told Dewayne he hopes to have someone out here before tomorrow (Friday) to get an assessment of the situation and possibly begin taking out the mold areas before Thanksgiving (I'm not counting on this, simply relaying what we have been told). IF, the mold is removed and the house treated before Thanksgiving, we will be able to get in the house. The kitchen, of course, would not be functional, but we can deal with that. The contractor said he would do everything he can to get us functioning in the house within two to three weeks (before Christmas:)

Great things have happened these last few days between me and Chris while camping out. Truths were spoken that I don't think would have been discussed if we hadn't been in this situation.

I'm trying to figure a way to roast a turkey over a camp fire. I wasn't going to cook at all this year, but have decided I can't let satan steal my passion for cooking and feeding people. I realized I have given satan too much leverage by speaking too much negativity. Shame on me.

Just got a call from Lucie. A mold guy will be here at 9:30 tomorrow morning!

It's CiCi Pizza night for Christopher's school; so we will do our duty and order "white pizza" (Alfredo) for the kids. It's their favorite.

More later.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Electric Blankets Are My Friend!

I have never slept under an electric blanket, until last night. Oh I loved it! We layered the kids last night, put on their beanie hats and layered the blankets on them, kept the space heater running all night, and cranked up the electric blanket and stayed toasty warm! It's been cooler this morning, but we are glad we didn't go stay at my mom's. We had countless phone calls of people concerned for us being here with the temps dropping, but we really are glad we didn't lug everything to some one's house and then have to lug it all back.

Chris just called, we missed the bus. We were late getting there this morning. Chris is taking Christopher to school. I cook today at Pine Summit. I'll be by myself as Kayla is sick.

Thanksgiving is next week. I honestly had no idea. Days and time seem to be running all together the last few weeks. I just can't believe it's a week till Thanksgiving! Normally I am excited and have planned a complete menu and have my Christmas decorations planned in my mind.... but not this year. Normally I do the turkey and dressing and green bean casserole and ...everything. This year, we get to be the guests. Normally by now I have a complete list of Christmas gifts and have a Christmas plan. This year, nothing. Black Friday is my favorite day besides Christmas...this year, not sure what I'll do. Might sleep in for a change. While I still love the Christmas Season because of Jesus...., I am just not getting into it. I guess that's a good thing because I am forced to constantly remember the reason we celebrate Christmas....again....Jesus. Every year I hope and pray to stay focused on Him, and every year, the day after Christmas, I ask forgiveness for getting so wrapped up in the hustle and bustle. This year will be simple, and strangely, I am OK with that.

The water is boiling for hot chocolate and Chris should be home soon from taking Christopher to school. I've had lots of interruptions posting this morning. I think I'm going to make a small fire and go read my Bible by the camp fire.

Oh, one more thing, didn't hear from the insurance company. My mother-in-law will call them today. Will keep you posted.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Low's Tonight, Upper 20's/Lower 30's.

Life has been busy. It's hard work having to plan ahead for every meal, clothes, and even bed time is a chore with baths. There is no more quick and easy meals for us it seems. We seriously considered going to my mom's tonight as it is supposed to be in the upper 20's/low 30's tonight. I'm still not sure what we are going to do. It's very stressful packing up clothes, blankets, pillows, food and toys for just one night for a family of five. I think I'm going to throw blankets on the camper floor so the floor won't be so cold. Chris is going to run another cord from the house for a 2nd space heater and I'm trying out the electric blanket today. I have no winter clothing at all. The girls and I went to Wal-Mart this morning and I got a sweat shirt and pants so I will be warm. We also had to get some gloves...2 pair for $1.50...good buy! Picked up more hot chocolate and breakfast foods too. Kayla is sick. Had to get her some medicines as well as some for the younger two. In such tight quarters, I'm sure it's going to go around. (I was even supposed to clean a house this morning and had to cancel.)

When we got home, I noticed the awning on the camper was on top of the camper! Two of the metal poles were in the front yard and the others were scattered about. If our van had been in the driveway, the poles would have harpooned right through the windshield. (Good thing I needed some sweat pants!) The wind is blowing so hard Kayla and I couldn't even roll the awning up. Chris had to come take care of it or we wouldn't have been able to come in or out of the camper.

Much to do before getting Christopher and doctor appointments this afternoon. The camper is shaking from the these things flip?!

More later.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Silver Linings

We got the power back on to the camper today. Kayla helped me get things set up. A friend from Sunday School took our laundry and washed for me. Another friend picked up lunch for us and came and visited. Chris dug a pit for a fire today. We did S'mores. Kayla and Justin took apart wire coat hangers for us and put the marshmallow's on those. Memaw and Uncle Craig came over and roasted marshmallows and made S'mores too and enjoyed some hot chocolate. It was nice. It was then, sitting around the fire, that I saw a silver lining. It's called quality time. It was nice for Justin to be over here hanging out instead of Kayla always being at his family's. It was just nice. We took a few pictures of us all sitting around the fire. It might be a few days before I can post those as we are having to depend on other peoples computer right now. Another silver lining I experienced tonight...the stars. I can't tell you the last time I have looked up towards the heavens and just gazed. Tonight, walking back from Memaw's, I looked up and saw the most beautiful picture...creation. I have been too busy about stuff that just doesn't matter. I've been to distant from people who want to be close and I have missed out on too many family opportunities.

I sure don't know where all this is going and I sure don't know how long we are going to be able to camp out, but this moment, I am thankful the Lord allowed me to experience a glimpse of Him tonight. I don't understand His mercy and grace and after the doubt and confusion that I've experienced, I sure don't deserve what He showed me tonight.

My husband has been a real trooper through all this. He's not one to go camping, and I know he feels responsible for all this, and I know he is hurting right now, but I can honestly say if these events had not occurred, he and I would not be doing as well as we are right now. For me, it's been like a rekindling of romance.... oo-la-la! It's been nice.

Time to get some rest after not sleeping last night.

More later.

What Will Be Next?

In my mind I had set up how we would set up the pop up, a tent to put our clothing and food items in, and an outside patio table with chairs for us to have a place to eat at. I was ready! The table and chairs that were outside were given to me from my mom. When we pulled in the yard, I noticed the table had been tipped over. I had left the umbrella up, the wind literally picked the table up and pulled the umbrella out of the brick, tipping the table over. I prayed, please don't let the glass top be broken, please. The closer I got I could see the shattered the pieces covering the grass. I lost it. I started yelling, "You've taken everything else, couldn't you leave me a table to sit at with my family?! Just take everything why don't you!" I just don't get it.

Eddie and Lynette came and set up the camper. My mom and Kayla helped Chris put the tent up. We loaded the van and mom's car. We plugged in the two space heaters (it was in the 30's last night) and wham! The fuse blew. Chris tried flipping the switches, he checked int he house to see if it tripped the breaker in the house (yes, he wore a mask!), couldn't find anything wrong. Eddie will be out this afternoon to look at it. We are at Memaw's right now. She had coffee ready, let me use her oven for Cinnamon rolls and fixed ham steaks. Maybe tomorrow we'll have power to the camper and I can cook over there. It was just too cold this morning to try it outside on the Coleman.

In the midst of it all, my husband did remind me that we have it better than some. We are together. I know he is right. I know hundreds or thousands across the United States slept under the interstate last night, we were protected from the wind on all four sides and had a space heater running from the house to the camper; I know thousands and thousands of people across the United States go to bed hungry every night, we went to bed with full tummy's at least; we had the luxury of cramming in the van before going to bed to use Memaw's "facilities" and not having to use a tree; and we also had a warm place to come this morning to all get showers. So, if I have so much more than some, why am I so ungrateful right now? I don't know.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hi, Ho, Hi Ho, It's To The Zoo We Go!

Well, this is the last morning my children will be able to wake up their Grammy at 5 a.m. Yeap, for some reason my son has an automatic alarm clock in his body that just won't let him sleep past 5/5:30. Crazy. If he would whisper and stay calm, it would be one thing, but my son likes to be loud.

We are taking the kids to the zoo today. We bought season passes with our income tax return this year. This is our third or fourth trip, so they have more than paid for themselves. It's nice and cool this morning. My husband would say, "It's cold, this is Florida. It's not suppose to be cold in Florida." It's only in the upper 50's right now. Perfect weather for camping! Ha-ha:)

I ran into Wal-Mart last night and bought the kids some of those fleece pajamas that zip up and have feet in them. They didn't have that kind for Kayla, my 16 year old, but I did find her a set of fleece pajamas with Eyore on them! They are cute. The pop up camper has a small space heater in it, but once we are heading to bed, that thing will be turned off! Wal-Mart also had some rectangle clothes baskets on sale, I bought some of those so we would all have a basket with our clothes in them to put in a tent that will be set up for getting dressed in. I had to buy a $9 clothes rack to hang Chris' work clothes on. The Bledsole's (the people that are letting us use the pop up) have linens for the beds and pillows we can use. There is also some plastic plates and utensils in there we can use. There's a skillet and pot as well. I have a Coleman stove I plan on using.... I just love camping, my kids have been wanting to go for a while also, so they are thrilled. I am struggling with the pride thing though. It's one thing to go camping at the camp grounds, but in your own yard?! The one thing that keeps coming to my mind is the scripture that refers to Jesus not even having a rock to lie his head. Kind of makes everything OK.

Kayla has spent the week at a friends house on a farm. She'll be home this afternoon. I needed her to not have to deal with the adult issues at hand. It has been quite an emotional few weeks, she needed some fun in her life.

I have had several people mention my book lately. I've done no writing with all the events that have taken place. I don't know when I will have the book completed, but hope to get back to my writing once we get settled in the camper.

I will post pics of the zoo trip later, as well as of the camper and our little "set-up." We'll have to use the "facilities" at my mother-in-law's and do laundry there or at my mom's. I've roughed it before camping, but will not be building a latrine this go round!

The oven is preheated and the kids are ready for breakfast. I sure appreciate all the comments on my blog from Marybeth's post. I treasure your prayers. I believe in the intercession of saints and I know the impact it has on ones life!! Thank you!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Home Owner's Insurance

My mother-in-law finally heard back from the insurance company. They did a phone interview this afternoon. She will know by Tuesday if and what will be covered regarding the repair of the house. Unfortunately, since Chris and I are tenants, they will not pay for us to stay at a hotel or reimburse us for the loss of personal items. At least we don't have to worry about furniture right now though. Once we know what the insurance company says on Tuesday we will know how long we'll be doing the camping thing and if we will have to begin looking for another place to live. At that point and time we can begin dealing with no furniture. I can only deal with today, today.

I had a really cool devotional come across the computer yesterday. It was from the Proverbs 31 Ministry. It was about "Home." I am copying and pasting it below. It was very appropriate and spoke wonders to my heart. I plan on printing it out and taping it to the door of the camper as a daily, hmm, maybe moment by moment reminder, of what a home really is. I hope it puts things in perspective for you as it has me.

November 12, 2008

Home: More than Just a Word
Marybeth Whalen

“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.”
Romans 12:10 (NIV)

I opened up my email to discover another one of those forwards we all get from time to time. I almost hit “delete” but my eye landed on this acronym for the word “Home”:

Honor the Lord
Obey His Word
Minister to one another
Establish walls of truth

I was glad I took a look at this forward, because it made me think about whether or not these four components are present in my home. When looked at it in this light, the word “home” means so much more than just a place to live. Isn't that what we want all of our homes to be? More than a place to sleep and eat and occasionally clean, we want our homes to be a place where lives are shaped into God’s design. This little acronym zeroes in on four important goals we should have for our home. The exciting thing is, no matter who lives there, or what problems we are facing, or what limits we feel like we have, with effort and intention our homes can be places where these four things happen.

Honor the Lord: We can honor God with our lips, but yet our hearts can be far from Him (Mt. 15:8) — and the people who live with us will be the first to know when we do this! Let’s seek to honor Him behind the closed doors of our homes, living out our devotion to Him in a visible, gentle way as we realize that our families are watching.

Obey His Word: Obeying His Word at home is not always easy. The Bible tells us to be submissive to our husbands, to love others more than we love ourselves, and to pick up our cross (as we pick up after our children, or care for our elderly parents). When we do these things with humility, those we most want to impact will notice. More than that, they will file it away in their hearts, and our lives will echo in theirs in ways we can’t possibly foresee.

Minister to one another: Ministry requires us to love others, to reach others, and to lay down our lives for the sake of those God has placed in our sphere of influence. This must happen at home first. And yet, if we’re honest, it’s usually the last place it happens. We go out and give the best of what we have to offer to others, then give our leftovers to the people we profess to love the most. Let’s minister to those in our own homes first.

Establish walls of truth: When I first read this, I will confess that something prickled in me. Establish walls? How is it Biblical to establish walls? I questioned. However, I soon realized I was thinking of walls as a means to keep people out. When in actuality, we need to be building walls of truth—God’s truth, designed not to keep others out but to guard our hearts and give us a safe place to retreat and to rest. These walls of truth make our homes into fortresses—a place to run to when our daily battles wear us out.

These are not things we can just do once and move on. They are daily requirements, regular sacrifices, and even personal struggles. We won’t ever do it perfectly and there will be days we feel we are taking one step up and two steps back. But with God’s help, we can keep working to make H.O.M.E. mean so much more.

Dear Lord, make my home a place that includes these four components. I want my home to be more than just a place to live in—I want it to be a place where lives are impacted and relationships are strengthened. Lord, I need Your help to do these things. Thank You for Your promise to always help me when I ask. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pop Up Camper

After nearly signing on the dotted line to move to Milton, changing Christopher's school, and dropping out of the MEW meetings at Pine Summit, the Lord has provided a pop-up camper. It will be set up on Saturday. It will be tight quarters, but it will keep us on the property and with our pets (saving three and four trips a day to check on them, feed them and let them out), will keep Christopher in the same school and even allow him to start riding the bus again, will keep us from having to transfer utilities, will keep Chris close to work and us close to church, will allow us to keep Kayla in tutoring at Pine Summit, will allow me to stay involved with MEW on Thursday nights and Kayla can keep her job with the childcare, and it will give Lucie some "lot" rent. This is not an ideal situation, but when we write all the pros and cons out, the pros definitely outweigh the cons (as long as I don't let my pride get in the way!). The insurance company has not returned our calls in three days. We still do not know if they are going to pay to make the repairs or even treat our furniture.
Thanks for all the prayers, phone calls and emails of rental listings. We appreciate each of you.

Milton House, Pine Summit MEW, Tutoring, Gas....?????

Haven't posted in several days, just been swamped. My days consist of daily Internet search, daily paper reading, daily phone calls and driving all over from Pensacola to Milton trying to find us a place. At one time we were closed to moving to Pace or Milton because we didn't want to change Christopher's schooling; however, the only thing we can afford that is decent in Pensacola is a 2 bedroom trailer....(that will let us keep our pets); while we are willing to do that, if we can find a 3 bedroom in Pace or Milton (we have found one in Milton and walk through tomorrow) to make life a little better, we will do that. We are praying the Lord will meet the needs for transfer/new connection fees as well. The home owner's of the house in Milton are willing to work with us on utilities until we can get them in our name. Another thing to consider, if we make the move to Milton, I'll have to drop out of Thursday's Most Excellent Way meetings at Pine Summit and Kayla would then have to quit working in the nursery on those Thursday nights (childcare for meetings). It's too long of a drive and would kill us on gas. She would also have to quit tutoring because of the drive over there (she gets free tutoring at Pine Summit on Monday's). If we have to make that move to Milton, we won't be moving back into Lucie's house...she's not getting our rent money now, this affects her income to pay her rent. We still haven't heard back from the insurance company. They were supposed to meet with us on Monday, never called until I called them and then was supposed to meet us Tuesday, never returned my phone calls or my mother-in-laws. We are are frustrated. I can't make that move to Milton and change Christopher's schools and then move him again when/IF the house is repaired. I feel like I am carrying not only my family's burdens, but Lucie's as I know she is struggling. There's just so much to go through and ponder. It has been exhausting. I have been in bed before 9:00 almost every night because I can't keep my eyes open.

We had a family gathering at LaHacienda for Chris' birthday on Monday. I have pics of him wearing the sombrero and will attach them later. I haven't even finished uploading them.

We would appreciate your continued prayers in making the right decisions. Please also pray for my mom. She's been a trooper, but I know this is taking a toll on her. She's dealing with screaming, obnoxious kids, an emotional teenager and an overwhelmed, emotional me. That's enough to push anyone over the edge!

I'll be cooking at Pine Summit today. Not sure how long before I post again, but will post when I know more.

More later.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Kaitlyn's Birthday Party

We decorated the hallway at mom's for Kaitlyn's birthday.

My little Princess.

Kayla decorating at Memaw's. (Christopher is over-seeing:)

Daddy taking my picture

Both my princesses!

The card is singing to her. She loved it!

"Ooooh, so this it was it looks like?!

Aunt Julie

Uncle Derek

Christopher and Cousin Rich

"There's no place like home, there's no place like home."

My Cinderella.

Kaitlyn still thinks it's her birthday. I don't know how to get her to understand. She gets very upset when I tell her it's not her birthday today, that she has to wait a year.
Chris' birthday is Monday. He'll be ..... older:)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Wasted Days And Wasted Nights.....

What a wasted day. I have been on the phone all day and I am exhausted. Every avenue leads to dismay and crumbling houses at outrageous rent prices. We just don't know what to do. If we move to Pace or Milton then it affects my son's schooling in specialty classes. He is not adjusting well to the changes and living situations as it is, do we change his entire school county? If we do that, do we then move back after (if) the house is repaired. It cost money to transfer utilities, even in the same county; changing to another county are different companies. I just don't know what to do. There are so many decisions and so many more questions on top of those decisions that it is physically and mentally making me sick. I just don't know what to do and am not hearing from God about it.

My care group leader from Sunday School had me and Chris and the kids over for dinner today. Oh it was a much needed break! I had a great time. What was even better was they had movie passes and they gave them to us! We got to go see Fireproof at the Ridge in Pace. We hadn't had a date and/or a few hours just for us without kids hanging on us in a looong time. I am thankful for the afternoon of fun. My kids had a blast too. They had a piano and keyboard and played and played, well, banged and banged and danced and danced and sang and sang! All three of my kids love music.

I still have to add the pictures of the baby girl's birthday party. I'm just so tired. This is all taking a toll on me. I haven't been in church in weeks and am anxiously looking forward to being in Sunday School and church tomorrow. Maybe there I'll sense the Lord's presence and get some answers. As hard as I search for Him, the further He seems to be. A friend of mine gave me a bag full of feathers the other day. A cool thing happened. She had been walking and decided to cut through another area. She looked down and was surrounded by feathers. It was obvious there had been a bird fight. She said, God's word to me is that "He is fighting for me." I'm clinging to it. I'm clinging to it.

Change In Plans

We aren't going to be getting the house on Pine Forrest....please keep praying.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Kaitlyn Turns 3 and Moving....Again?!

My baby girl turned three today. She woke up with the hallway decorated with streamers and balloons and she loved it! She wore her princess crown most of the day and asked about her birthday cake all day long! She even helped me put the sprinkles and letters on. We had a great time at my mother-in-law's tonght for her cake and icecream party. Lucie made homemade icecream...oh yum. Kaitlyn decided that she didn't want to share her birthday cake and icecream though! She got so upset and started crying huge tears. It broke my heart, but was cute. Once she understood that she was going to get some too and that we are just sharing it, she seemed to be ok. Derek and Julie were there with Richmond. He'll be one this month. It's amazing how time has just flown by. It was a great day celebrating and seeing the excitement in Kaitlyn's eyes. She got lots of cooking stuff from her Aunt Julie and Uncle Derek, oh and an apron with mits too, and princess dress up clothes from Memaw and a princess doll from us and money from the great-grandparents. There's a great picture of her looking at the money as if she has never seen a bill before! It's hillarious! I have about 50 pictures to upload, but I'm so tired right now I just can't do it. I will post them tomorrow though so I hope you'll check back. They are so good!

I think we are going to go with the house/apartment on Pine Forrest. I'm going back out at 10:00 to walk through it one more time and get the key. He needs to advertise it if we aren't going to get it and I feel I can't let it go since he is willing to not charge deposits. I'll get it cleaned up real good and we'll go from there.

I am meeting with Lucie and the insurance company on Monday to do a recorded claim. Hopefully the insurance company will reimburse us the extra money we are having to spend by renting this place? Maybe they'll even reimburse us the transfer fees for utilities? We'll just keep praying about that one!

We'll plan on cleaning the apartment on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and moving over on Saturday. Won't have too much since we can't get our furniture out of the house yet. I sure hope we have made the right decision! I'm nervous. The yard is a mess and not clean for the kids to play in and we'll have to put fancy on a chain to go potty since the yard isn't fenced all the way around; we have a lot of work to do, but with the deposits waved, no pet deposits, and a rent reduced from $775 to $650, I think we better walk through this door and be grateful!

Will update more later. Me.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

USAA/Habitat for Humanity/Kaitlyn's Birthday

We heard from USAA today. Unfortunately, none of our "stuff" will be covered through our renter's policy; however, Mike is going to have someone call me tomorrow to review our polices and see if we can make any changes that might cut some cost for us during the next few months, and that's a good thing. As emotional as the days have been, I know the Lord is in control and He has a plan. I don't know what that might be right now, but I know He does have a plan.

We were supposed to attend a meeting for Habitat for Humanity tonight. It was a crazy night though, Christopher was bouncing off the wall, we were late getting home, and we kind of want to see what Lucie's home owner's policy is going to do.

Tomorrow is Kaitlyn's birthday. She will be 3 years old! Kayla made her a calendar to start counting down two weeks ago. I can tell you, she has net missed a night, until last night she fell asleep in the van when Chris was bringing me home from work! When she woke up this morning, it's the first thing she asked about! She's excited, and we are too. When Kayla gets home from working tonight we'll decorate the hallway with streamers. We are having cake and ice cream at Lucie's tomorrow night. Will attach pictures afterwards.

Hoping to get some rest/down time tomorrow. Looking for places to live is exhausting!


Be Compassionate

The last few days have been tough emotionally. I know the truth and I know the Lord is in control of all things. I've been having a tough time finding rest in that though. I worked yesterday cooking at Pine Summit. First day of "normal" I have had in 7 days. While cooking, my cell phone rang. It was USAA (our renter's insurance). A gentleman named Mike Cox wanted to talk to me and get more information. He did a phone interview with me. While it looks like nothing will be covered, he gave me hope. He is going to be reviewing my policy and is going to see if there is anything USAA can do for us. Whew. I'm asking everyone to pray for Mike. Pray for clarity and wisdom while he is reviewing our policy. I know this is going to sound crazy, but him just taking the time to talk to me, to be compassionate and just listen, meant more than anything. Even if he calls me today and says, "I'm sorry Mrs. Paden, there's nothing we can do." I'd be OK, and for two reasons. One is, I know that no good thing will be withheld from me. If the Lord wants me to have it, nothing any one can do will stop it. But the other reason I would be OK is that Mike Cox took the time to call me, listen, to me and was just compassionate. Somehow, that just seems to make it all better.

We have a lot of schoolwork to catch up on today. Oh, we also have a possible month to month place to live. We'll find out today. We didn't want to make a move because we are still trying to recuperate from our last move financially. To transfer utilities and then in a few months transfer again, it's going to kill us, especially with Christmas just around the corner. Oh, one more thing, we found out we might qualify for a house through Habitat for Humanity! I got an email yesterday after inquiring. We are going to a public meeting tonight to fill out an application.

Be compassionate to someone today and be blessed!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Over It

I am having a tough time being grateful today. I am hurt. I am angry. I am tired. I want my own house. I don't care if I have furniture, I just want a place to call home. I'm tired.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Survival Mode

Have really been in a survival mode this last week. We are still praying and looking for a camper to borrow/rent that can be put on the property until we know what the insurance company is going to do. We just can't afford to keep moving and paying transfer fees. We are still trying to recuperate from our last move. You'd think staying with my mom would be cheaper, but with the gas going back and forth to take care of the pets, trying to set money aside to pay my mom for the above and beyond she would normally have in bills and keep paying our bills, it's tough. What really makes it bad for my mom is that November is the month the water company reviews water usage in order to set sewage rates. With us here during this month, she will be billed a much higher rate than she normally has. We found a 1999 Windward (?) 30 foot camper for sale. She's selling it for the cost of the repairs she is needing to make on her home, $5600. It's in such great condition the plastic is still on the microwave. It just seems every avenue we take, we get turned around. We can't get the financing for it. Mom is being a trooper with all the chaos. We are having to keep a watchful eye on Christopher and Duke. For some reason Duke has an eye on him.

Yesterday seemed to very emotional for me, Chris and Kayla. I guess it has just set in we are homeless. I hurt for my kids; I hurt for my husband. I just don't understand. I just don't understand.

Today is election day. I'll be casting my vote for McCain/Palin. I'm also voting YES on keeping marriage between one man and one woman. This election has already made history in many ways; money spent for campaigning, early election turnout and then, of course, record numbers are expected for today.

Please continue to pray for my family. I'll be contacting USAA today about our rental coverage. Every time I leave the house, I smell like mold. It's in our clothes, it's in our furniture, I can even smell it standing on the porch. This morning I rolled over and smelled it in the pillow I've been using at my mom's. It's frustrating.

Now, enough about all that, GO VOTE!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

More Homecoming Pics

Okay, Kayla said that Ms. Jomarra said, "Steve, (that's Justin's grandad) make sure you get their shoes and all." So...he got their shoes:)

Homecoming '08

With five peoples clothes crammed into two rooms at my mom's, we seemed to somehow pull off getting Kayla ready for homecoming! Here are some great pics of Kayla getting ready, of Justin, and then the two of them together. I'll be getting more pictures later today or tomorrow of Justin and of Justin with Kayla from his house, and will post those as well. She's a beaut!

What a beautiful smile!


Even Duke (mom's bulldog) was panting hot and heavy!

Justin just arriving:)


So cute:)

A perfect gentleman!

Okay Mom, You can stop taking the pictures!