{me, a chatterbox?}

if you have followed my blog at all you know that my heart has always been to share God's grace in the midst of human tragedy ... or what we perceive as tragedy.

i'm honored that this sunday, our pastor has invited me to share my testimony during the morning worship service ... i'd love it if you would pray for me as i share the richness of God's grace this sunday. i used to wish to have a story to tell, and after rickey's death, i feel i do have one, one of God's immeasurable grace towards us! as rick and i talked last night, i shared with him that i still feel so inadequate to share considering that i have truly had such a blessed life. when i think of all that others are facing in this world, death, destruction, homelessness, addiction ... my testimony seems easy. losing rickey was not easy by any means, but when you consider that my worst bad dream {rickey dying suddenly and unexpectedly} culminated in actually being rickey's BEST.DAY.EVER {he went to heaven}, well, that puts a whole new perspective on even that day, doesn't it?!

if you're local and don't have a home church or would like to visit the abundant life church/mission you are invited to join us for worship at 10 a.m. :) 

... speaking of which ...

i have a couple of things to share ... one of them is a "funny" or at least it was to us!

as rick and i talked last night, while he was wishing i'd let him fall asleep, i shared with him how i think death taught me to be more tolerant. 

you know, those little quirks that your spouse or your child or your best friend has, the little things that they do over and over and over {and over} that seem like they drive you crazy lose their importance in light of eternity, or at least they should!

some day, you may miss those little things. when they are gone or silenced forever, they may become the things you cherish. or, you may realize how silly it was to let them irritate you, because in the end, they probably really don't matter that much!

i told him that i think it has certainly made me less likely to become overly irritated by any of his little quirks that in the past may have become a stumbling block in our marriage.

he and i have both had some tremendous growth in Christ over the past year or so and he responded in kind and mentioned that it is funny how the things you find "cute" while dating, can quickly become not so cute when confronted with them day in and day out.

because i was pretty sure that he couldn't be referring to me, i asked him for an example which came very quickly 

... hmmmm ...

our conversation went something like this:

{to preface the conversation, we met online and for the first week that we knew each other our conversation was via facebook messenger and text message only}

him: "you know, like, oh, that is so cute, she is such a chatterbox"

me: "you thought that? you thought it was cute that i was a chatterbox?"

him:  "well, yes, i really never knew anyone like you. you could talk for hours, about nothing. even before we met in person, you chattered in our texts and facebook messages, i thought it was cute how you could go on and on. and then once we had met in person, i could always know that you'd send me a text telling me all about your day and then in a few minutes the phone would ring, so you could tell me the same thing over again."

me:  "but you liked it, right?

him:  "yes, it was cute, but sometimes a bit much, like the day you left work and before 10 minutes had elapsed, you'd texted 173 words, and it was only 7:00 a.m. AND you were driving!"

me:  "oh, yes, i remember that, but you still think it's cute, right?

him: "well, you are learning when i need you to be quiet so yes, it's still cute, most of the time"

anyway, yes, i'm learning, slowly. i'm quicker to look at what he is in the middle of before i burst into conversation, and usually i do pretty well. unless i'm really excited about something! i do try not to chatter ALL.THE.TIME! but sometimes life is just so exciting i can't help myself!

while this exchange was a bit humorous, there was a depth to it, a depth that i have come to love and cherish. 

Proverbs 27:17 says:

"as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another"

trust me, we've had some sharpening over the last 5 years and neither of us really likes to be sharpened, but God has done a remarkable job of it, and we have grown and learned and found a love for each other that at times so amazes me that i just have to step back and look up and say "well, i know that was You, God"!

all of this brings me to my second thing i wanted to share!

as most of you also know, i ended my relationship with lularoe back in august.  i'm still awaiting a large sum of money from them for the inventory that i returned, agreeing to take a loss on it as their numbers do not agree with mine, but we aren't willing to risk losing it all by arguing with them. a few things have come up with the new company i had decided to work with that i strongly feel are God telling me that this company and direct selling/multilevel marketing is just not where i am called to be right now.

since meeting rick, he has encouraged me that i need to "tell my story". sunday will be the first time i'm publicly doing that besides here on my blog and to get up and "speak" it is different than sitting down to write it for the {maybe} 10 of you who actually read and follow my blog! we are praying that this may open the door for me to share of God's grace in other ways, and that He will make clear if i am to pursue a few other things that i believe He has set before me.

rick and i also have a passion for the homeless shelter. again, to be honest, it started out more as his passion as he turned 12 in a shelter and has such a heart for others in the same situation as well as for veterans {which he is} and those battling addiction {which he has}. all things he knows first hand, and i've had to learn to have a heart and compassion for through him as i've never experienced homelessness, i'm not a veteran and i've never battled addiction in the true sense of the word.

we are currently in the process of discussing with our pastor how we can serve the shelter.  right now, it looks like we will assist {or possibly take over} fundraising efforts as well as being ambassadors for the shelter. what this means is we will be going to other area churches and organizations to present the work that is being done and to give updates on current needs, prayers and praises.

while the details are ironed out, we would covet your prayers! with me no longer doing direct sales of any kind, we are trusting the Lord to provide the direction of our finances and to bless this stage of our life. we truly want to honor Him in all that we do and this seems to be the direction we are strongly being encouraged to pursue. i promise to keep you updated as we continue to follow God's leading in our lives! thanks for following along on our journey!


{lucky 13}

the number 13 ... thought by so many to be "unlucky" but loved by rickey and embraced as his "lucky" number.

every year before bow hunting season began on october 1, he would have me write a #13 on an arrow of his choice ... the one he would reach for first when a buck came into shooting range ... and many years, that arrow brought home a trophy buck, other years, just some venison for the freezer, but either way, it was always rickey's request ... 

"here, write on my arrow"

and so i would ♥ 

 13 ♥ xoxo .... 

his love for the number 13 was carried on in his children as they wore the number proudly when they played sports and after he want to heaven they each had a tattoo created ... each one representing their own personality ... each one honoring their daddy/uncle!

{in this photo from top center, tessa's on her heel, nick's on his thigh, taya's on her inner arm, addie's on her shoulder and kajsa's on her forearm ... a forever tribute to a man who was well loved!}

thank you andrew for capturing this quick moment in time that is truly a tribute to a man who loved so well and was loved so dearly!

the amazing photographer at taya & justin's wedding captured the beautiful photo below, and i absolutely treasure it ... a private beautiful memory between taya & her daddy on this most special friday the 13th ... the day she married the man her daddy and i had prayed for since he was a little boy!

in taya's own words from her facebook page:

Unlucky or not, for the past six years, 13 has been binding.
A number my dad liked probably just because the rest of the world feared it.
I don't think he was fearless. Or Superman. Or above anyone.
He was simply human.
Loving and caring in a way that's inspired us and makes us want to remember a number.
Not only to my sweet husband on the luckiest of Friday the 13ths. But to family. Us who live on in the love one man poured out to us.

{she said it perfectly and oh.my.goodness. i love you my sweet taya jill}


So many changes ...

We like to tell people that we love Chattanooga so much we moved here twice! Since my last post in 2020, we spent eight months in Michigan...