What’s up?…HIS promises.

I can’t believe it has been more than 6 months since I last wrote. It has been a time of many adjustments for our family. John is adjusting to working just one job. That sounds like it should be an easy thing, but it has actually been much different than he imagined. I like having him around more. Katie is adjusting to working 3 jobs (piano teacher, substitute teacher and waitress).

I have taught 2 – six week Bible Studies using, “What Happens When Women Say ‘YES’ to God”, by Lysa TerKeurst. I have worked for 2 different companies since October. Both jobs have been working for call centers; not exactly what I imagined myself doing. The hours at the first company were not ideal, so when I was offered a position with better hours at Blue Cross Blue Shield of SC/Tricare, I took it (after I had made it through National Security Clearance…). I am in my 7th week of training with 2 more weeks to go.

I am not sure why God has me where I am, but I am working hard to trust Him in this – it is often a struggle since I really miss being in a school.  I went to Code Orange Revival with Lindsey yesterday to hear Christine Caine.  While singing and worshipping with the “masses”, I heard God (in my head) say, “Let go and trust me – remember Jeremiah 29:11.”    So, I will move forward, remember that verse and trust.  Christine Caine spoke about God’s promises having no expiration date; that my “due” date is not His appointed time, but He who promised is faithful. I am claiming that.

I pray the last 6 months have found you seeing God at work around you. He wants to reveal Himself in so many ways – open your eyes and see.

 

 

 

 

Hallelujah! I can B-R-E-A-T-H-E again!!!

When we left our weary packer/mover/traveler she had just returned to NH to tie up lose ends with her daughter, Katie’s, dental implants; as well as sinus surgery for herself.  Here is the scoop:

  • Katie’s crowns went off without a hitch and she flew back to NC–>SC on 6/16.  The crowns were put in with temporary cement.  Unfortunately, on 6/18 one of them decided it didn’t like Katie’s mouth and popped off while she was eating salad and pasta!  Thankfully, new friends gave recommendations for dentists and the tooth situation was resolved on 6/20
  • Our packer/mover/traveler—turned patient survived her surgery with the help of an amazing Doctor and a very special OR nurse (aka Carolyn Small Plummer – LOVE YOU CAROLYN!!)
  • Saturday, however, the patient became VERY ill — NOT pretty at all and discovered that Percoset does not agree with her stomach
  • Sunday, the patient was MUCH better; although not back to her usual self; however, still in PJs, but showered
  • Monday, the patient had improved more and was once again clean, but this time in REAL clothes and got to try out her new-fangled “water-pick” as prescribed by her Doctor and shipped, with medication, from California—>just think water pick for the nose ;-P  (It actually made a huge difference, but is still kinds gross.)
  • Tuesday, a clean, contact-wearing patient spent 5 hours applying for jobs online and NO Nap!!
  • Wednesday, a clean, contact-wearing patient spent another 5 hours applying for jobs online – again no nap!
  • Thursday, where we now find our packer/mover/traveler/patient exhausted from very little sleep last night (anxious); however, MANY friends were praying and there was no pain with the splint removal and she was told she had been an excellent patient!  (She will have to return in 4-6 weeks for one more checkup.) WooHoo!! She can breathe and when she talks people can understand her – it’s a beautiful thing!  To celebrate, a 1/2 broccoli cheddar soup and a 1/2 bacon turkey bravo were ordered for lunch from Panera!  Once again the packer/mover/traveler/patient has been looking for and applying for jobs, but has decided she NEEDS a nap.

Tomorrow the packer/mover/traveler/patient will be transformed to the traveler/patient who will eventually be the UNpacker/patient.   [Hilary and Laura have been watching Dr. Who nonstop - thank you Netflix - so if she had a TARDIS she could get home quicker...guess US Air will have to do.]  Since she cannot lift anything heavy or have her head down too much for another week, SHE gets to tell everyone else what to do AND get away with it!!! There are some rewards to this surgery thing :-P

Thanks everyone for your support, love and prayers.  Some day there will be pictures of the house, but me thinks that there is a lot of work to do. It seems  storage is an issue and we still have too much “stuff”; so, it’s time to get creative…AND visit IKEA!!!

Whose plans? HIS plans…

During the past month I have been saying this verse over and over…

Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
   but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.   Proverbs 19:21

I like it when a plan works.  I like it better when a complicated, logistically impossible plan comes together.  I have had successes with some of those in the last few months, but the past few weeks many of those plans have fallen apart and I have switched to Plans B through Z.  Through it all I had to remember that God is in control. Whether I like what is happening or not; HE is in control.

  • Katie’s crowns to finalize the dental implants did not come in before we moved
  • I need sinus surgery; found out 4 days before we moved
  • Loading day had it’s challenges – a) first U-Haul windshield cracked right before John pulled into our yard and he had to go get another truck, b) 2-1/2 hours into loading the truck it was evident that with the boat, 2 kayaks and all of the woodworking tools John bought to build the boat we would NOT be able to put everything in the truck, c) a trailer was rented to pull behind the truck, d) for the first time ever I did not have everything completely packed and ready to go when the truck arrived (very frustrating for me), e) John had no a/c in the U-Haul
  • We knew on the Monday before the move that the renovations on our house would not be complete when we got there on Wednesday -  a) Friday was “if-y”, I could live with that and we packed through Sunday, b) the house was not ready until today , c)  6/15 things are moved into the house and the interior is almost complete, d) the outside is next
  • Monday I chipped a tooth

There are blessings in all of this; although I will admit at times it has been hard to see and I have felt discouraged.

  • God’s logistical timing for Lindsey to meet Katie in MD over Memorial Weekend, when they both just “happened” to be there, was impeccable – she drove Katie’s car as far as NC for us
  • After much discussion and prayer we decided it made much more sense for me to fly back to NH and have the Doctor who has been treating me do the surgery instead of starting from scratch in SC
  • My friend, Carolyn, an OR nurse, just “happens” to be scheduled to be in my Doctor’s OR room the day of my surgery :-D
  • Katie’s crowns were to arrive today, so she flew to NH with me
  • Tomorrow Katie gets the crowns and flies back to SC.  I have had my pre-op appointments and will have surgery in Dover on Friday. I will stay at Hilary’s until the 24th; there will be a recheck at the Doctor’s on the 22nd
  • My dentist repaired my tooth today

I would have preferred to NOT have surgery, not have to fly back etc., but I know God has a plan I cannot see. During the week we were in limbo and “homeless”, God provided a wonderful family to take us in.  Katie and I have had time to look for jobs; we have begun to find our way around our new “habitat”.  We are learning to love our new family.  I get extra time with Hilary in NH.  I did not unload the truck — we’ll see where John has put things by the time I get back.  Lindsey will be able to come down tomorrow and help for a few days.

In Sunday School this week we read about God constantly telling Joshua, “Do not be discouraged…” – those were words I needed last week.  I told someone yesterday that it is good God is in control because I seemed to have lost control somewhere in this process.  I said it jokingly, but I realize that is the BEST place to be.  Maybe all of this was to get me to the place where I could let go because I couldn’t do anything to change the circumstances; just accept them, learn to be joyful in them and believe that HE has a plan.  I pray that I will always be able to lose control of my plans and let go when HIS plan is much better (even when I can’t see it).

 

 

Trust His Heart…even when…

The past few months have been a busy, but blessed blur.  During this time we have visited South Carolina and believed that this is where God wants us to move and call the Savannah AC Church family “home”. John has told the church here that his last Sunday will be June 5th and I did not sign my renewal contract at school.  John’s resignation and my letting the school know I was not coming back were difficult things to do. We are excited about all God has in store for us, but right now feel like we are living in two worlds. Trusting His Heart.

This has been a year of non-stop sinus infections for me. Reader’s Digest Version – after antibiotics since September I saw an ENT. More antibiotics, CT of sinuses, follow up today. ONE MONTH OUT OF SCHOOL is the only way to get the infection out of my head – the kids I love are keeping me infected!

A MONTH!!! I know many people would be jumping up and down at the thought of a month off (thankfully I have sick days, so I will still get paid). As for me, that’s just not how I work.  I am at school no matter what. I have called in sick once in all the time I have been there. I take 1/2 days for appointments – I am just always at school.  The thought of a month not there is still hard for me to comprehend.  It totally makes sense that this is why I have been so sick all year.  I understand it in my head, but my heart is having a hard time.  I love my job and the kids and staff I work with.  I do, however, want to feel like myself again. SO, I have had to quote a lot of Scripture to myself tonight.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

And I’m not sure where my “MORE” verse fits in all of this, but I have to trust that it does.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, Ephesians 3:20

I am going to have to continually trust HIS heart. I know HE has this all under control and that none of this was a surprise to God, even though it is to me.  SO, for the next month I will continue to pray and trust Him during this unexpected change in life.

This song came to mind – “Trust His Heart” by Babbie Mason

All things work for our good
Though sometimes we can’t
See how they could
Struggles that break our hearts in two
Sometimes blind us to the truth
Our Father knows what’s best for us
His ways are not our own
So when your pathway grows dim
And you just can’t see him,
Remember He’s still on the throne

Chorus:

God is too wise to be mistaken
God is too good to be unkind
So when you don’t understand
When don’t see his plan
When you can’t trace his hand
Trust His Heart

He sees the master plan
He holds the future in his hand,
Don’t live as those who have no hope,
While our hope is found in him.
We see the present clearly
But he sees the first and last
And like a tapestry He’s weaving you and me,
To someday be just like him

(Chorus)

He alone is faithful and true
He alone knows what is best for you

(Chorus)

When you can’t trace his hand
When you don’t see his plan
When you don’t understand
Trust His Heart

Shout, Sing, Praise!

Each day I am reminded of how much God loves me – all of us. His Word is such a delight and the fact that He wants to have a relationship with me is such a blessing. This week I was reading Psalm 66 and these portions caught my attention.

Psalm 66NLT

1 Shout joyful praises to God, all the earth!
2 Sing about the glory of his name!
Tell the world how glorious he is.

5 Come and see what our God has done,
what awesome miracles he performs for people!

8 Let the whole world bless our God
and loudly sing his praises.
9 Our lives are in his hands,
and he keeps our feet from stumbling.

I love to sing and listen to Christian praise – it draws my heart to God. I have so many things to thank and praise Him for. Do I take the time to do it? Verse 9 really struck me. How blessed I am to know that my life is in His hand. No matter what I am going through – the highs and lows – I am in His hand. I am not just in His hand – He keeps my feet from stumbling! He is worthy of  praise!


And there is MORE – abundance…

Well, my locket arrived a few weeks ago and I love it. It is now part of my header.

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It has been a month of more. There are so many things God is doing in my life right now and I am grateful. He has blessed beyond measure and I am thankful.  When I prayed for MORE and claimed that verse, I also knew it could mean more of “unexpected” things.  I have been dealing with a few “surprise” health issues this last month, yet, through it all I know HE is in control.  I have been reminded of one Mark Lowry video we have.  He talks about Christ coming to give life more abundantly(John 10:10)…

but then he goes on to talk about the verse, “And it came to pass…” and says, “It didn’t come to stay…it came to pass.”.  That’s where I’m at  right now.  God’s question to me has been, “Do you trust me?” and knowing that I do; I have had peace.  I do have surgery scheduled for 3/25 and will be out of work for about a week, but hey…it came to pass…  In the meantime, I have seen God work and show me things in new ways and I have seen my heart changed in areas in the last few months.  I was at a prayer breakfast at Hilary’s church Saturday and one of the women prayed for me and said, “God, just remind Joy that all of this is just a distraction.”  I loved that – that is exactly what it is, so my focus needs to remain on Him.

How are things for you today? Great/abundant? Praise God! OR are you struggling?  Just remember – life will be abundant, but the down times have also “come…to pass: :-)  Know that HE loves you and is in control.

And the word is…

I have never been one to make New Year’s Resolutions. I guess I figured if you need to change something, you don’t have to wait until the beginning of a new year. I have goals that I would like to accomplish this year, but they are not resolutions. During the last few weeks of December one particular Bible verse kept coming to mind; it is one of my favorites.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)  Every time this verse came to mind one word stuck out – the word MORE. I don’t know about anyone else, but I so often sell God short and in my finite view of things limit what I think He can do.  I began to really want to take this verse to heart and ask and believe for MORE than I could ask or imagine! Think about what that would look like.  So, I am making MORE my word for the year and claiming every word in Ephesians 3:20.  I believe that what God promises, He will do. I wonder how much I have been missing by not believing for MORE; not because I deserve it, but because He has promised to do MORE.  I am so convinced that this word is for me this year that I have had a special locket made with the word in it. It is being handcrafted by lizlamoreaux at her etsy shop and will arrive in 3-4 weeks. I’ll post a picture once it arrives.

God did much more than I imagined in a particular situation this week and He did it in light speed! I think it was His way of showing me that He really does want to do MORE in my life. I know I want to know MORE of Him, love Him MORE, serve Him MORE and live my life MORE fully than I ever have before. Hmmm – reminds me of another verse, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10b. (Ask my girls and husband about Mark Lowry’s interpretation of this verse…haha).

Ready for MORE and to live abundantly.

Busy with Bountiful Blessings

It is absolutely ridiculous that it has been so long since I have posted anything on this blog. I have thought about, had great things to share, but have not made it a priority. I have decided I need to plan to write each week; not because I think there is anyone that reads it (except maybe family and a few dear friends), but because writing reminds me of how God is working each week in my life.  God has blessed beyond measure, and even though I have shared it and thanked Him, here is a taste of what has been happening around here.

We are fortunate that Hilary lives only 2 hours away. She came home for Columbus Day weekend and we went to the Sandwich Fair and then to Castle in the Clouds. We’ve lived here 8+ years and had never been there. It was beautiful. After posting a few pictures on Facebook I discovered that a friend and his family had lived in the gatehouse there when he was a child; pretty cool.

November was busy with Katie’s Senior Vocal Recital in PA. It was great to have family and friends there to celebrate her hard work over the last 4 years. It was a whirlwind weekend, but SO worth it.  If you want to hear any of her recital you can find me on youtube under joyagg1 and all of the recital is there.

I also made a trip to NC to spend time with Lindsey and Melodie and to continue our now annual tradition of going to the Southern Living Christmas Show. Melodie and I used to go when we were in High School and enjoyed it, but what a treat to be able to go as adults and to have my adult daughter with us. I am hoping that the other girls can join us next year.

December was Christmas and family. I am so glad I did not participate in One Voice; God knew there were other things and people in my community that needed me.  Katie has been home for almost a month and we have enjoyed that. Lindsey came home for 12 days and Hilary was here for 5.  John and I are very aware that the day will come when we won’t have all of them here for Christmas so we took advantage of every moment they were here.

Right now Katie is dealing with the recovery from some oral surgery. She has been a trooper; there will be more to come ahead, but it will be worth it.

Many people make resolutions at the beginning of the year. I have never done that. I did set some goals for myself and chose a verse. I plan to write more about that and my “word” for the year later.  If you would like to see photos of what has been happening in these posts, check out my Facebook page. I will post future pictures here, as well for anyone who doesn’t use Facebook.

May God richly bless you as you prepare to being another week and bless you with bountiful blessings.

 

 

Recent Sightings

I live on one of the main highways heading to Conway, NH – White Mountains, Outlet Malls, Hiking, Ski slopes, etc.. This means tourists and traffic.  Even as busy as Route 16 is, I still see wildlife every now and then (besides the stupid squirrels and gigantic groundhog).  A few days ago there were 12 of these guys outside my window.  They went from my house, through the cemetery and over to the church parking lot.

Today the sun was finally shining and I decided to drive to Jackson to take a few pictures of some of the scarecrows.  It always seems like a long drive up there, but a short drive back.  On my trip today I had Johnny Cash singing in my head…“I’m going to Jackson…” Here are a few of the scarecrows.

 

The Red Fox Tea Party

Recognize the characters?

For Lindsey

For Katie – the scarecrow has a camera in his hand

Cooking up memories.

I went apple picking yesterday – 1/2 bushel of cortlands and 1/2 bushel of macs.  This afternoon I made a HUGE apple pie for John.  I remember when we first got married I threw away about 6 pie crusts before I could actually get one to stay together and go in the pan. I knew I needed to learn to make apple pies because he was always talking about his mom’s pies. I have come a LONG way since those days (31 years of practice) and he now says I have 99% mastered his mom’s apple pie.

While the pie was baking I began preping apples to make applesauce.  When John and I first got married we lived in an apartment that was a converted motel room…small.  I decided I would make sure he had something made of apple in the house at all times, so I went apple picking and came back to make applesauce.  I had never made and canned applesauce, but I had made stewed apples and fried apples with my Grandma Isma and my mom.  I peeled, cored and cut apples with a small paring knife. I had a large pot that I cooked down several batches of apples and added sugar and cinnamon when they were almost done. I washed and then used the same pot to water bath a few jars at a time.  I was really clueless as to what I was doing, but I knew if I heard the “pop” the applesauce would be fine.  The 12 jars a made were stored in a box under our kitchen table. We had wonderful applesauce all winter and my sister still talks about the applesauce I made that fall.  I have come a LONG way in the applesauce department too.  I have an apple peeler, corer, slicer. I have a HUGE non-stick pot, an immersion blender, a dishwasher for sterilizing jars and a pressure canner to assure I hear the “pop”.  With the 1/2 bushel of macs I made John’s pie and got 4 quarts (minus the bowl I ate) of applesauce.  I will turn the 1/2 bushel of cortlands into applesauce too. THEN, I’ll go apple picking again so I can have my favorite apple crisp and use the wonderful recipe I got from my friend, Kristin Brown, last year. It is the BEST I have ever had.

I will have to admit I have a lot of memories that have food in them.  I guess that is because my Grandma Isma and my mom did a lot of cooking and I love to cook.  It is joy, not a task for me.  I have made lots of memories with John and the girls while we were cooking and baking.  Those would be called delicious memories.  Why don’t you go stir up some memories in your kitchen this week.

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