Monday, September 16, 2013

A Fish Tale

This evening we said good-bye to a strange pet...but one that we've currently had the longest. Not exactly a cute pet, either. In fact, he was downright strange looking!
But through the years, he's caused no problems, never made a commotion, and faithfully helped clean our fish tank.

He was John, the algae eater.

Given to our youngest for her fifth birthday, along with an aquarium, he lived to see countless tropical fish that came and went over the years. Always minding his own business while he suctioned away on the glass, this strange looking guy eventually grew to be about a foot long. 
We're not even sure how old he was when we acquired him, but he lived with us for a whopping six and half years.

If you would have told me years ago that I would have gotten a soft spot for an overgrown algae eater with a face that only his mother- or another algae eater- would love, or that I would actually cry when I noticed for the first time that he seemed he might be dying, I would have said you must be crazy. But nevertheless, given the fact he was with us so long, our whole family is a bit sad.
Tonight, my husband put him a box and our youngest- now eleven- wrote his name on it. Tomorrow we'll bury him, probably nearby the two dwarf hamsters that met their demise earlier this year.
No, he is not like a dog, a cat or the like and we all know that. But he was a friendly fixture, and a memory of a time when our daughter was little.

In memory, here is the link the post on my old blog that I wrote when we got him and of my daughter's birthday. In fact, that whole blog is filled with incredible memories and details of when the girls were little and if I'm not careful, I can get misty reading it over it!
But here it is, written six and half years ago, with some wit and tongue in cheek.
Bye, John...we really will miss you!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Under His Canopy

The early morning world was still covered in darkness yesterday as my husband stepped out the door and headed the short few blocks to where his training would begin.


It's been amazing to think about..after eight months, my husband is back- being trained for a new job this week. This is a true answer to prayer! And although it is not his dream job, and it starts at part time for awhile before turning to full time, it has potential long term. He is grateful to be back in the work force!
But more than this, we are all grateful for God's provision during these eight months. He has faithfully taken care of us in so many ways. From just taking care of our sending neighbors and family around asking if they could hire him for household construction, painting and handyman and auto repair jobs. Some were loving, extended family...but others didn't even know he was unemployed! Throughout all of this, it was as though the Lord was gently saying, "See? I'm taking care of you."
I also had the idea- after praying- of having him teach auto shop one month to home school kids in the area. This proved so successful he may just do this again, just for the pure fun he had! He has loved tinkering with cars since he was a teen, but he was blessed with two girly-girls (three, counting me!) so turned out to be a great outlet for him, as well as a filling a need in the home school community.
Another positive that happened during this time was just some incredible family bonding time. He had previously been working so hard and so long at a stressful job that we never seemed to see him. (And when we did, there wasn't much left of him!) But during these past eight months, although he was busy searching diligently for work and doing odd jobs, he was primarily home and we were able to spend pockets of quality time together, which was a gift to all of us.
Another blessing in disguise was hopefully some life lessons that our girls have been learning through this. Learning to go without all the "wants" being met, learning to work for some of the things that were important to them, and learning how God takes care of us during every situation.
These are just some of the main examples, but I'm sure I could give more. And although there were human times when we felt the effects of a financial uncertainty looming over us, we never stopped believing that God was in control and taking care of us. We were under His canopy! 
It has been a great lesson is trusting Him one day at a time. Because when all is going perfectly and we feel completely self-sufficient, there isn't as much need to exercise our faith! But when we have to rely on Him- truly rely on Him to meet our every need, then the challenge really begins. We have to exercise our faith- which can be hard work at times. But with exercise comes strength. 
We still are having to live by faith, even now that he is employed. There's a long probation period and these first few months will be even tighter financially than before, ironically. But seeing how He has taken care of us this year is helping us know that He always will.

So we'll keep trusting Him, one day at a time!

 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Matthew 6:35-33