Tuesday, December 8, 2015

my thoughts

oh my!!

I'm so sorry I've not posted in so long.  It's been a very long summer/fall and I blinked and it's December and I haven't posted since May!!

If you read my last post, my family was going through a rough time in late May.  That "rough time" turned into the hardest situation my family has ever been through over the summer.  To say it got better would not be the truth.  Each day brought new struggles, and more friends turning their backs on my family because of gossip being spread around.  It was a very,very hard summer.

We did have some high points though!  I was able to visit my friend Blaine and go on a work week trip with her church in Tennessee.  We helped out with a VBS for special needs adults, and helped a church with their outdoor chapel.  At the end of the trip, we were able to go white water rafting, which was fun.

I got home on a Friday after being gone a week, and the day after that we left to drive to Atlanta, spent the night there, then flew to my favorite place in the world....

San Francisco!!

Because we had had some hard past few months, my Dad wanted us girls to just get away from the drama and go have fun.  We were there for about two weeks.  I turned 17 while I was there, and it was just the most amazing trip with my Mom and little sister.

October we took our annual trip to Canada.  This year, we decided to drive with my Dad...it was good, but a long long drive- almost 2,000 miles one way.  I can't go into detail about everything that happened, but to give you a cliff note version...

~ saturday, the first day we were there, we were all starting to get sick. A bad cold and fever was running through the family

~monday- the first day my dad went hunting with our dogs, one of the english pointers, (dad's favorite) w.c., ran off. We have electric collars to prevent this from happening since our dogs are such big runners, but w.c.'s was a faulty collar (this was one of the first times dad had used it), and he was gone.  Dad loaded up and went looking, but there was no sign of him anywhere.

~tuesday-everybody is full-blown sick.  Cough, colds, fever, aches, chills...just everything.  still no sign of W.C.  at this point, the word had been spread that he was missing.  we go to a very rural part of Manitoba, so the farmland is just huge up there.  We were depending on the farmers who were harvesting to possibly spot him or hoping he'd run up to a farmhouse

~wednesday- we got some absolutely awful news.  Ripley, the father of our puppy, Fraulein, was out hunting with my Dad and a friend.  Dad has a huge covered trailer that he uses for decoys, and he was driving slowly out of the field, picking up decoys along the way after the hunt.  For some reason, to this day we don't know why, Ripley ran underneath that trailer, and Dad accidentally ran over him.  He broke his back and was killed instantly, without any pain.  Ripley was the sweetest dog we've ever had.  He didn't have a mean bone in his body.  It felt like I had lost a sibling when my dad told us, with tears streaming down his face, what had happened.  That was the worst day. I was able to kiss him goodbye and get his collar off before we buried him.
 Still no sign of W.C.  At this point, all of us are sure that something had happened to him.  He's a skinny bird dog, which the big coyote's up there could totally wipe out, not to mention he hadn't had food for three days and it was below freezing at night.

~thursday- I was starting to feel better, and needed to get out of the house to get my mind off of everything that happened within the first four days we had been there.  Dad felt the same, so we went hunting.  We had a wonderful time with each other and the dogs, and it was just great.  Dad shot really well and killed 4 ruffed grouse.  That night we had been invited for dinner at a friend's home.  Right before we left, my dad checked his phone and had three missed calls from an unknown number...again someone tried calling, dad answered, and all I remember dad saying was "where do I need to go?"  Someone had spotted W.C.! Us girls went to the friend's home to wait while Dad went looking.  We got the call about thirty minutes later, "WE GOT HIM!"  W.C. was found, safe, without a scratch on him, all thanks to God for keeping him safe and the amazing community for spreading the word and looking for him. My dad immediately took him back to the farmhouse and put him in our nice and warm insulated dog trailer and fed him a little bit.  

The next few days W.C. spent inside, slowly working his appetite back up and I'm happy to say that he is now his normal self again :) I'm so thankful for him.  It was a God Thing.

So by about Saturday all of us had gotten over our colds and started to see friends and visit places.  That whole next week we spent visiting and shopping and having a good time.  Then, that next Saturday, my Dad decided we'd leave the following Tuesday.  So we were packing as much in as we could!  Saturday afternoon, we had tea with friends at a fundraiser in town.  I had an egg salad sandwich and tea.  That night, we went to our friend's home for dinner, and I started to feel awful....

I had gotten food poisoning from the egg salad sandwich (literally typing that out makes me sick.  lol)  I was throwing up all Saturday night, and it was Tuesday afternoon before I ate half a sandwich.  I lost 7lbs the first night I was sick.

So, we drove back and made it home safe and sound.  Whew!!

This entire year has just been a whirlwind.  We've had a whole lot of bad mixed in with good. But I can honestly say that God is good.  God is good.

I'm thankful for my parents, my little sis, and all of our precious furry babies.  I'm thankful for our friends that have stuck by us through our difficult season, and also to God for showing me the friends that weren't on my side.  I'm thankful that God has protected us and has always been there, constantly.  He will never leave nor forsake us.

That's all for tonight!   I'm going to post pictures from our summer and trips soon!

Love you all!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

the cloudiest of days

I once remember talking to a friend of mine on the phone one evening. This friend was going through a very rough time, and I remember him telling me "Grace, one thing that I like about you is that you are so optimistic, even through the worst of times."

That was only a few months ago.

I don't think the same thing could be applied right now.

I told you guys about the struggles my family has had in my past posts.  We just moved back into our house two weeks ago, and I finally thought things would slow down and go back to normal.  That was definitely not the case.

My family was hit with one of the most hurtful and devastating things just last Wednesday.  One person that was very close to me and my family walked out on us...for good. We've since found out a lot of what this person was saying behind our backs about our family (as a whole and individually) and let me tell you...they are some of the biggest lies I've ever heard.  To say I'm hurting right now would be an understatement.

This person was someone that I told everything to, and that played a big role in my life.  It hurts that she doesn't ever want to come in contact with me or any other member of my family ever again.

Tonight I was brought back to what my friend told me- "You are so optimistic."

Believe me, the past week especially, the last thing I've been is optimistic.

Ever since last Wednesday, I feel like God hasn't been there.  I feel like this was one more blow against me and my family, and honestly I felt like I couldn't take it anymore.  I wish that our horse never went blind, that our house never flooded, that my grandmother was never diagnosed with dementia, and that this person so close to my family never walked out on us.

I've been so overwhelmed.

I've felt that my spiritual life has been dry the past week. I got to where I wouldn't read my Bible in the mornings like I usually did because I felt like I couldn't possibly read anything that would help me. Then I watched this video...

I was reminded that even on the cloudiest of days, the sun is still shining. Even when I don't think God is there, He really is.  Even when I don't necessarily feel His presence like I usually do, it doesn't mean that He walked out on my life.

I'm not saying that I've stopped hurting, and I'm not saying that it has gotten easier. I still feel like, because of what this person did to me personally, someone got a knife and drove it right through my core.  But I've found hope again.  Hope that God is still there, and that He is for me, He is with me, and He loves me, even when I can't feel it.  He's always there.

"I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence...
If I ride by the wings of the morning,
if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
even there your hand will guide me,
and your strength will support me."
Psalm 139 7,9-10

Sunday, February 1, 2015

new beginnings & roller coaster rides

"For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago."
Ephesians 2:10

I love the fresh, new feelings of a new year. It's a fresh start, a time to really examine yourself and purpose to change the things that need to be changed. 

In a lot of ways, the end of 2014 was like a crazy roller coaster ride. We got bad news right and left and it seemed like we were spiraling on a never ending, loop de loop roller coaster.  

The start of 2015 was like the part of the roller coaster where it ends- the slowing down, calm, and your head finally stops spinning part.

A fresh start.

A few months ago, I updated you guys on everything happening in our family. Quite a bit has changed since then.  Workers have started cleaning up water damage and mold issues. The whole north side of our house is in containment with plastic reaching 12 ft from floor to ceiling. We currently have no kitchen or laundry room. Workers are in our house all day every day, fans and de humidifiers running non stop. It's slightly crazy. But, thankfully we have our barn a few hundred feet away to retreat to during the day. We are able to do school down there and come back up to the house at night to sleep. An interesting thing is that we've had to eat out every meal since they ripped out the kitchen, so about five days now. I have to say that I've never missed home cooking so much in my life! But, I'm just glad this whole process finally started. It's going to be 8 or so weeks until the house will be normal again.

Some of you might remember me telling you about our blind horse Rooster. I have such good news on him. After searching and searching for a place for him to go to, it seemed hopeless. We were so discouraged and upset because no place that we looked at had room for him. We were about to give up when our vet encouraged us to talk to Auburn University, in Auburn, Alabama, and ask if we could donate Rooster to their Large Animal Clinic for research. This was the last option. If Auburn didn't take him, then we had no other choice than to put him down. He was getting too dangerous for us to have here. But God was SO good throughout this. Auburn accepted him and we were able to trailer him there (about a 3 hour drive for us) last week. It is a beautiful place and I'm so very happy for him. He's going to be so well taken care of there. 

With those two major events going on in our lives, it really did feel like a never ending ride- the kind when all you want is to get off, but there is no way you can...you just have to endure it and hold on.  I think one of the biggest things that I learned in the past few months is that 1) God is good, all the time. That was extremely hard to believe, and I still don't understand why we went through everything we did. But, despite this, God is good. 2) God taught me endurance. That was huge for me. It was so hard to get up in the mornings, knowing I had a day full of overwhelming issues to confront wasn't encouraging. But I had to. I had to believe that God was with me and helping me through the day.

So, if you are going through a difficult "roller coaster" season in your life right now, I would encourage you to find rest in God's Word. You can take everything the hard way by not relying on Jesus in your problems, like I did. Believe me- that ride is like being on your roller coaster ride with no seatbelt- you are on the verge of falling out! But Jesus is that seatbelt. He is your safety, your rest. He is your constant, never changing Father who will always be there no matter what loop de loop you are on in your life. We have to make the choice to rest in His promises of love and faithfulness to us. We have to put on that seatbelt. His love and rest is offered right there in front of us. He is just waiting for us to strap in and hold on tight on this crazy, loop de loop roller coaster ride of life.