Thursday, April 26, 2012

An Unexpected Blessing

I know it's been a very, very, very long time since I've blogged but I just had to share this.

It always amazes me how God blesses me with the desires of my heart in so many unexpected ways.  This being one of many:

We just got back from a last minute, very short and quick trip to Wasilla and Anchorage; about 6 hours away.  Randy had an appointment in Wasilla and asked if I and the girls wanted to go.  Since his appointment was in the morning, he said we could go shopping but will be driving back home soon afterwards.  There was going to be no overnight stay but he said the magic word: SHOPPING.  Of course, the girls and I said YES!  Amanda didn't think she could take off work with a few hours notice so she didn't bother to ask so it was just Amy, Jamie (a friend of the girls that moved back to AK and is staying with us) and I that went.

I was thinking that it would have been nice to have been able to go to the malls in Anchorage since we don't have any as well as don't drive there often (this trip wasn't figured out in the budget so probably a good thing we didn't go to any)  BUT where we did go....

My one rule whenever we go any where from home:  The only thing "allowed" is to go to places that aren't at home (unless it's absolutely necessary to go to a place that is at home).

We had breakfast at IHOP (Amy's request) before Randy's appointment.  During his appointment we had time to go to KOHLS and Target (a couple of stores that I always go to when "there"); also slipped into Sally's Beauty Supply Store too since had little bit more time to wait for Randy (AND THEY WERE ALL ACROSS THE STREET from where he had to be in Wasilla and we HAD FINISHED JUST BEFORE HE FINISHED).  We then drove into Anchorage since the store Randy had planned to go to on this trip was there.  He's such a sweetheart because the girls had mentioned wanting to go to Burlington Coat Factoryand he took us there FIRST and waited the couple of hours until we were finished.  Did I mention how thoughtful and kind he is because he's NOT a shopper.

Last, off to his "man store" to get a pair of overdue, much needed pair of hunting boots.  I tried to get him to get the other item he wanted but he said he could make due without it.  That man does not like to spend money on the things for himself that he'd like to have; even on the "practical things" that is needed/would be well used and get more than its money's worth out of it.  Didn't see the price or know if it can be bought here but I think I know what to suggest to the kids to get for Father's Day.  We rounded off our trip with a meal at Arby's (my request since Olive Garden was not fast food LOL) and ice cream from Dairy Queen (Jamie's request).

Nope this trip wasn't in the budget but I did have a gift card that was given to me awhile ago but didn't have the opportunity to use until now.  Amy argued it was suppose to be used on me but nothing "caught my eye" so I used it for the cute things I found for Samuel instead and the spending money I keep in my wallet for "things" that might say "buy me" was used for things I got for Nevaeh.  Yeah, my grandbabies are worth giving up to.  My mom once said to me many years ago: she had sent me money for a birthday and said to use it on me but instead I used it for something the kids needed.  When I told her what I used it for she said I was definitely a "real mom"; giving up something I need or want for my kids.  So it must mean I'm a "real grandma" now, right?  LOL  Besides, I had fun doing it.

A needed reminder and something to think about:
It may be something so minute that it's missed if I don't take time in my day to realize and appreciate all He actually does EACH AND EVERY DAY.  You know, if I would just take a little bit of time to sit and think and look, I'd see how He blesses me every day. What/Why is it that I am so busy doing that I can't see and appreciate all God does and is doing for me ALL the time.

With all that said, what I want to say is: isn't that just like God.  Blessing us when/where we don't or least expect it.  

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Bear Hunting Update

To anyone that was curious on how the bear baiting went.....

Last weekend was the last weekend for hunting bears off of baits so off  went the mighty hunters.  Randy had trail cameras at his and James' baits.  According to the pictures, James' had nothing but grizzly bears on his and it's illegal to shoot them off of a bait as well as even in the general area; because it would be hard to prove that it was hunted off the bait when reporting where it was shot.  So James took his tree stand down and put it near Randy's to take videos/pictures of any bears that did "come in".  I have to admit that they are fun to watch.  When I went with Randy two years ago (when I actually shot a bear!) I couldn't decide if it was more enjoyable to watch them or to shoot one; I'm still undecided.  I had thought about going with him this last weekend but since James went I decided not to.  Especially since Randy would take James to his bait then go to his which was 20 miles away.  No, he didn't walk the 20 miles, he drove 20 miles down the road but he did walk James to his bait, to make sure he wouldn't get lost (James kept having a hard time following/finding the trail.  I'm glad I'm not the only one who had trouble).

Randy didn't think he'd get a bear this year because the camera at his bait also had pictures of a grizzly but there were also pictures of other bears on it the previous weekends when he checked it.  Even though they were small there was one that looked like it would be "a good one", he decided that it couldn't hurt to stay and wait.  His patience paid off and he got it!  James got some good videos of the smaller bears but then "the good one" came in; and it was a cinnamon color black bear.  He also had black rings around his eyes--the bear not Randy or James!  It was gorgeous.  The pictures came out dark so if I can edit any, I'll try to post one.

Friday, June 17, 2011

I'm such a good wife ;-)

And I'm NOT #1 in my hubby's heart.  That's okay, he's NOT #1 in mine either.  Our Lord Jesus Christ is!!!

Last weekend,  Randy & I got to "get away" together--just the two of us.  It's kind of strange that we didn't have to make any arrangements on who was going to stay with the girls, take care of the critters, etc.  We were just able to let the girls know our plans, give them some instructions, then pack and get up and go. 

We went camping and to an archery shoot in Chulitna that Andrew had "put together"-- Bowhunter's Classic Archery Shoot (I think that's the official name....I think....I think....). This was the 2nd annual Bowhunter's Classic Archery Shoot that he did and I have to say that Andrew did a fantastic job with putting it together.  I was just planning on going to just spend the weekend with Randy, just to go, because I didn't feel like I was ready since I hadn't been practicing as much as I should have been but... he packed my bow and talked me into participating.  hmmmmmm, must be why he had me practice shooting longer distances..... Some of it was tough but I have to admit that I enjoyed it. The shoot was for two days and there were two different courses (shooting both courses each of the two days)...the second course was tough, as far as the "trails" to walk on to get to the targets. Well, okay, some of the shots were tough too--at least for me. I had debated whether to do the second course when Andrew warned me about it but Randy talked me into it. Both Randy and Kyle helped me (I was thankful that Kyle decided to tag along the first day on the second course as without his help I'm not sure I would have been able to make it) with going up and down the steep paths on the second course the first day (one pulling, the other pushing, I'm sure it was quite comical).  With doing only part of the course the second day (it was decide upon to do only part--many complained about the difficulty of the trails), it seem most of the harder, steeper trails were eliminated. Including myself, there were 4 shooters in our group the first day and 5 the second day.

Because of the challenge of the course, I have to admit that even though those trails were tough for me, I was actually disappointed that it was decided to do only part of the "harder course" the second day. I improved tremendously the second day when we figured out that my bow wasn't "sighted" in correctly so not only because of the challenge, the other reason I was disappointed for not doing the second course completely the next day was that I couldn't compare my overall score with the first day's. Oh well, it was getting late into the day anyways by the time we all finished shooting what we did the second day.  The guys were so nice and understanding about me having difficulty with my footing; well some was family so does that count? But all of them were so encouraging and praised when I did shoot, no matter whether or not I hit where I was suppose to.  They were also encouraging when I missed.

Kyle and Connie had gone to cook for everyone--lunches both days and breakfast for everyone on the second day.  It was so nice to not have to plan meals and prepare them.  Although when I do go on these kinds of trips with Randy, he does all the meal planning and cooking.  hmmmmmm, he had it easy on this trip.

I know most women wouldn't be impressed on what we did/went for our get-a-way but it's what Randy likes to do and I have come to enjoy doing so with him, as long as it isn't too frequently.  Hey, Randy does things he doesn't like with me whenever we go out of town to the "city" (Anchorage) or lower!  For example, when we went to Florida, he diligently went shopping with me.  He doesn't go into all the stores with me (which I am glad) but he did carry the pink Victoria's Secrets bag with the others through the mall while we went to other stores and did so patiently.  He's the man and he's mine.

It was a nice drive there and back.  We got to talk and had laughs.  We kept joking that this was our get-a-way for our anniversary (our 27th was yesterday, June 16); and in the busyness in today's world, how many couples actually get a chance to get away on an "odd" anniversary.  The last time we "got-a-way" was on our 25th.  Camping AND hunting that time.  We did go to the Bahamas on our 20th so I was okay with not doing anything extravagant on our 25th. Well, when our anniversary is in the middle of the week, we usually wait until the weekend to go out to dinner but it's June and well, it's bear baiting and hunting time.....  Randy felt bad, because of all the joking of the weekend being our getting away for our anniversary and it be doing something he wanted, when he asked if I minded if he went to the bear bait this weekend and we could go out for anniversary next week.  Hunting from bear baits is such a short season (just May and June--at least that's when he goes and we were in Florida for the beginning of May) and with having to work during the week and such a long drive, weekends were the only time he was able to go.  The season is soon over and he nor James hadn't gotten any bears.  The bears had been coming to their baits but not when Randy and James been out hunting at their bait sites (from tree stands). 

I'm such a good wife ;-)  Only because God blessed me with a good man that loves our Lord with his whole heart..

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Goodbyes are never easy

I said goodbye to by dear friend Terry last night. We knew this day would be here but with all the delays ("closed doors") It seem like it wouldn't ever arrive; so yes, I was in denial. Through the years as friends have been lead in different directions, we never thought that it would happen to us. I'm not one that gets "close" to people very easily, that I feel comfortable in calling upon any time day or night or/and talk to about anything. This has been hard on me as Terry was the "last friend" (if I could say it that way) in Alaska that I felt I could do so. I have other friends here but none as close as she after the others had moved. She has helped me, kept my accountable for staying close to God. We may not have agreed in everything--we had many debates--but it had helped me stop and think of what/why I believe the way I do and to search out the proof. (yes, she is a born-again Christian and her faith is firm or we wouldn't have been as close as we are).  We weren't able to get together as much as we had wanted/planned when they moved to North Pole but we chatted alot on the computer and we are looking forward to doing that again when they get settled in Iowa.

No, goodbyes are never easy but at least I know that I'll be able to pick up the phone and hear her voice again. I just won't be able to get together and actually see her with my eyes. It's like having to say goodbye to a love one that has passed on but at least I'll be able to pick up the phone and hear Terry's voice again but can't do so with my love ones that has passed on. I think those are the hardest goodbyes, when our loved ones has passed on, knowing that not only we won't see them but we won't actually hear their voices again. As I think back, it was harder for when my brother passed on than my dad because my dad had dementia (sp?) and didn't talk the last few times I was "home" before he died; but with my brother I was still able to talk with, both when I was "home" and on the phone. What makes some goodbyes a little easier as even though I won't see these loved ones or possibly these friends I'm thinking about again in this world, I know that one day I will see them again as they have all accepted Christ as their personal saviour as I, so I will see them again in heaven for sure. They are missed very much but I know I can always count on God for his comfort.

Having a close friend is a rare gift and having one nearby to see, to talk with, and spend time with, is even more of a blessing. A true friend knows all about you and loves you the same. A true friend is not afraid to tell you "how it is" when they know you need to hear it, even if it might hurt your feelings or make you mad at them. Terry is such a friend. I hope that everyone that was given such a rare gift that they won't take ever take advantage nor take it for granted of that rare gift that were given them from God because it is truly a blessing to have such a close friend that one can depend upon in both the good times as well as the bad times.

Cherish the friends that God has/have brought into your life and never take advantage of their friendship, no matter how long they are/have been in you life but thank God for them and their friendship.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Family Vacation

We had an excellent family vacation in the beginning of May in Florida.  Why Florida?  Because my oldest daughter was graduating from Pensacola Christian College and since all of us (Randy and all the kids, including Connie and Nevaeh) were going, we decided to make it into a family vacation!  Besides, going to Florida sure was a long way from Alaska as well as expensive so we wanted to make the most of it.  What made it even more memorable was the fact that not only my mom and oldest sister went, but also Randy's mom and sister.  Now if only my younger sister and Randy's brother could have made it....but maybe, just maybe there will be another time....I can hope, can't I?

I can't remember all the day to day details of when we did what but I can tell you what we did/went, just don't ask me exact days and times!

We were able to rent a house in Orlando so we had our own home away from home!  It was much less than staying at a hotel--that's for sure--and much more homey and comfortable for all; but the most important was that there were enough beds and bathrooms for everyone.  Well, Andrew did have to sleep on the couch for a few nights because I wasn't expecting him to stay as long as he did--still not the full time we were there but longer than he had planned.  He had just started a business (Precision Archery) and was only planning on staying for 3 days (and that included one night in Pensacola and travel time) but after arriving, he made some phone calls and was able to stay another 3 days.  I'm not sure who that meant the most to:  Randy, myself, Christine, the grandmas and aunts, or even Kyle, Connie and Nevaeh(!) but nevertheless, it touched our hearts.

Most of us arrived in Orlando on "Day 1", got settled into the house, spent the night then drove to Pensacola (all but Kyle, Connie & Nevaeh; because of her age, Nevaeh wasn't able to go into the auditorium).  We rented two vans and Andrew rented a silver convertible Mustang.  He asked for a yellow one because Amy keeps saying that's what she wants--a yellow convertible Mustang.  Poor Amy though; she rode with Andrew when we went to Pensacola and got sunburned very badly--she fell asleep on the drive down and it was so hot.

Meant Randy's mom, Don (a family friend), and sister in Pensacola (they flew into Pensacola but flew back home from Orlando).  Spent the night in Pensacola and then graduation was the next day. Yes, I cried.  I was fine until Christine gave a short speech and then I actually realized what a wonderful young woman she had become.  I mean, I know she had and is, but it was like I actually really saw it then.  Afterwards we went to lunch then helped Christine get her things together for her friend to take to North Carolina--where Christine will be working.  Then we all, except Don ((he had gone home from Pensacola) headed onward back to our home away from home in Orlando.  We just hung out at the house the next day; did do some shopping as we needed some groceries...too.

Randy's Mom and sister was leaving Saturday so before they left, we went to Red Lobster for his mom's 70th Birthday.  When we got back, we had cake and ice cream.  Yes, we did put all 70 candles on the cake.  I had thought about telling someone at the restaurant that it was her birthday but didn't know how she would react so I didn't.  She was surprised with the cake and couldn't believe that we actually put all 70 candles on it but I think that I can say she was pleased and happy that we took time to do something for her birthday--especially since this was "Christine's time".  We were also able to go to Cocoa Beach before they had to go home.  My mom, Randy's mom and I walked down the beach along the shoreline.  It felt so good to feel the sun shining on me and the water on my feet.  After we got back from our walk, Randy talked me into going into the ocean all the way to do some wave hopping.  I thought I was nuts to let him talk me into it but I have to admit that it was fun.  Me, who does not swim or like water because of it, actually did it AND enjoyed it!  Mind you, I told him I wouldn't go unless he kept a hold of my hand and sure enough, he was a gentleman and didn't let go.

On Monday, the rest of us were also able to go to Disney World for the day.  Have to admit that we were somewhat disappointed.  We picked the one park that we thought would satisfy everyone but what it advertised wasn't what it appeared to be, or maybe it wasn't what we had expected.  We wonder if the other park we had considered would have been better.  Because of our time, and what we wanted to do in Florida, we only had time to spend one day there.  If anyone asks us about going I would say, definitely do so for more than one day.  The kids said that they enjoyed Six Flags/Marine World better than Disney World, and we only went for one day there too on the three times we were able to go when "home".  When I asked why, they said it was the same things they saw and did from the time(s) before but it was just more fun compared to Disney World.  I have to admit that I agreed and all I did was walk around at Six Flags too; except the first time we did go to a few of  the "shows".

We did fit in some shopping too.  The first time we went to a Mall and I have to say that I think it was one for the rich.  Connie and the girls went shopping elsewhere one evening and Amanda and Amy were in "7th Heaven"....LOL  They did find a lot of good deals in their price range.  We did go to another Mall that was for us "normal folks price range" and I was able to get a couple of things I had wanted.  To satisfy the guys (mainly Randy), we went to a Bass Pro Shop.  That stop was scheduled in because Amanda and I had gotten him Bass Pro Shop gift cards for his birthday. We also went to an outlet mall but only went to a couple of stores as by that time we were tired
The restaurants we ate at:  Besides Red Lobster, we went to (do I dare say) two other places for dinner and the food was good but they were "bar type" restaurants, like the one Chili's have (the closet I can come to explaining it).  Amy kept saying how can she explain that we took her to two bars???  She was joking and I have to admit that it was kind of humorous when I realized that we had--but not on purpose!  We went to IHOP at least three times for breakfast.  Randy and I took Kyle and Connie out on a double date to Olive Garden.  We ate at the Food Court at the Mall.  I missed out on DQ ice cream because I choose Chinese but was too full to have DQ for dessert afterward as I planned.  We ate at Sonic for a meal too.  Oh yeah, when we had lunch at Pensacola it was a Pizza Hut but I guess that doesn't count because we can eat at a Pizza Hut here in Alaska.  I think that's all the places we ate but at every place we ate, we had such excellent and friendly service.  We couldn't believe how well mannered and how each waiter/waitress was "right there" constantly tending to our needs and was always asking if we needed anything.  You don't find that kind of service everywhere.  We were truly impressed and it wasn't just one certain restaurant but at each and every one we went to.

Did I mention that we had our own pool at the house!  We all took time out by or even in the pool.  Mostly at the end of the day for most.  Even the girls (including Connie) and I took a night after Nevaeh went to bed to go into the pool.  We opt out to paying extra in having the pool heated since the sun heated up the water during the day but we found out that it definitely cooled off in the evenings/night!  Randy even stayed up with us; he said someone needed to be around that actually knew how to swim while we were goofing around.  We were already in the pool and decided when he came out we were going to say how warm and nice the pool was to convince him to get in.  He believed us and jumped in!!!

It was a wonderful time to be together.  I was so glad that it worked out for the whole family (mainly Randy, my children-- and I) to be together.  I was thinking that with everyone grown up that no telling when this would happen again.  It was a special time for me.  More so that both our moms and sisters were able to come too.  We sure did miss Randy's brother and my younger sister though; it would have been nice to have all of our siblings together with our moms.  It was still a great reunion though.

In closing....Mornings were my favorite time to sit out by the pool (screened in), drinking coffee and enjoying the sunshine before the busyness of the day started.  It was so peaceful and a great time of reflection and spending time with my Lord.  I think it's important to take the time first thing in the morning devoted to God.  No matter how one thinks that they'd be able to find time later to do so, before you know it, it's the end of the day and "later" didn't come around.  It says in the Bible to give our "first fruits" to God.  I think it can be said that this includes our day--to start our day, first with God, before getting started with the rest of what is planned/needed to be done each day.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Surprise, surprise, surprise...... I am.  I wanted so much to be diligent in blogging but to no avail, I have not.  As I was thinking, a verse came to mind:

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:  Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.  But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you." ~I Peter 5:8-10

These verses probably have nothing to do with what I'm thinking so I'm not even sure why it came to mind, but I was thinking how I was doing this; meaning it seemed that I was going to and fro but yet not getting anything done that I could see.

As I was pondering on why I just can't or feel that I can't take the time to do so--blogging for the reason I started it:
"....the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour...." and when I looked it up to make sure I was quoting correctly, I got to thinking of the beginning of it, "Be sober, be vigilant..."  Am I being sober and vigilant (being serious about being watchful--my conclusion after looking up the meanings of these words from the concordance in my Bible and a dictionary) against sin and temptation.  Have I been falling into temptation of not being "...steadfast in faith knowing..." to be firm to accomplish my purpose (again, my conclusion of the meaning) of blogging even though I know how easy it is to fall prey when I felt lead to do this blogWhat I need to do is hold on to God's promise "But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, secure you." That the times I fail/fall it can be used for good, to conform me into his image (see Romans 8:28-29), to show me truth, to make me stronger, give me freedom from anxiety (combination of paraphrase meanings and my conclusion).

How often are we all guilty of being so busy that we fail to do what it is God wants us to do; missing the many rewards and blessings from him, if we would have only just slowed down.  Yes, as women, (no matter the responsibilities we have, whether little or much, whether we are single, married, a stay at home wife, a stay at home mom with one or more children, working or nonworking women with or without children--I think I covered it all.  Oh yeah, can't forget being a grandma), whatever "phase" we are in life, we are just plain busy.  I think I might have mentioned it before, if  priorities are in the right order, there would be time to do all of our responsibilities as well as doing what God would want us to do and still have time to do all the "extras" (ex. hobbies) our hearts desire to do.

Like I said, I'm not sure why these specific verses came to mind but thought I'd share them.  I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts, especially if you think I have taken these verses out of context.  That's what I like about God's Word.  There's one meaning but many applications.

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Realization.....

I can say that I might have gotten side-tracked or I've just been too busy or had to stay focus on my own responsibilities or ?  but I'm not sure what the excuse is for not having to not continue on here with the book review I had started as I had said I was going to do or into even blog anything at all.  I just haven't taken the time to is all because I did have the time.  I think also that my heart wasn't into doing it anymore but then I realized something the other night.  I did not get any sleep that night; I kept waking up every 45min./hour and when I finally went back to sleep, I was awake again soon after.  So what I did during those "awake times" was what I used to do when this happened; pray for whoever/whatever came to mind. Do you know what/who came to mind?  Me.  I came to realize that I wasn't being "A Woman After God's Own Heart".  Sure, I was going through the "motions" but my heart wasn't in it.  I was home alone that same evening with Randy working late and girls not home.  It was too quiet.  I didn't have anything that needed to be done except dinner but I was just piddling around waiting to hear from Randy of when he was on his way home as dinner wasn't going to take long to cook.  I felt lost.  I did have a "small prick of heart" that I needed to face some things but I wouldn't admit it, even to myself, that I needed to "take care" of some things in my heart.  It is so easy to go through the motions/routines of the day without paying attention to what one is doing because they have become habits, and that's what I have been doing.  I realized that this have been going on for a long time.  It seems that the routines I have, that I do, have just been that, a habit.  Good habits to have/do is a good thing but my heart just wasn't into doing them, into doing anything really.  I was just going through the motions.  This time of quiet reflections had made me realize that I had lost my first love for my Lord.  It was something I had not realized until I took the time to sit (or I should say lay in this case), be still, and listen during this "prayer time" with my Saviour.  After much time in prayer about myself, it ended up to be a sweet hour(s) of prayer and I am glad that I was able to have it.
I am now going to really pay attention to what I do and to get my heart to where I can be A Woman After God's Own Heart.  No matter what it is that we all have to do, be responsible for, we should still be doing it for the Lord in actions and attitude on how it is done.  What we do may seem minute to someone else but everything we are responsible to do, that needs to be done, should be done for the Lord.  For me, for example, just doing things around the house, may not be much for the other woman that has a career but I should still be doing it for the Lord because he gave me those things to be responsible for and the ability to do them--which is just as important for the other woman in God's eyes--and I should be thankful to be able to do those things and to do them with my whole heart for the Lord.  (I hope all that made sense)
I am going to start from the beginning of this book review, for myself.  As I go through, or maybe it won't be until I am finished, I will continue to post my review/comments/of what I learned.