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In April, 2012, we had one disaster after another hit. First, my husband ended up in the hospital with 190/130 blood pressure.  That was scary, and it was enough to cause us to make some major life changes.  We started eating better and exercising more.  The changes were sudden and drastic, but we did it.  However, don’t tell him he was overweight.  You DO NOT want to get him started!

Two weeks later, the freestanding garage that housed our business burned to the ground.  In one hour, we lost our pottery business and my husband’s tools.  In 60 minutes, we lost a good 2/3 of our measly little income.  We were already living on a shoestring, and that fateful hour cut the string.  We also lost the ability to make ends meet when they weren’t, because my husband always did odd jobs to meet the bills.  We thought we would be okay for a while, because it was tax time and we were expecting a big refund.

A week later, we received word that someone had stolen my social security number and our tax return.  (And might I say, “Shame.  Shame on them!”)  Our joke in the whole thing was that whoever did that had just inherited worse credit than they already had.  That’ll fix ‘em.

So, in less than 30 days, our sad little world had caved in.  I had two choices.  I could curl up and go to sleep, or I could get up and put one foot in front of the other until things got better.  For the sake of my kids and my husband, I did the latter. 

Through dealing with the issues that came, I learned many things and I was reminded of many things.  I won’t list them all, because you would surely lose interest way before I finished the list. (I know..”Don’t call me Shirley.”)  So, for the sake of time and your need for a social life, I will just name 5 things that God taught me through April 2012.

1. God will not let us starve to death.  My butt is proof of that.  It is just as fat now as it was at the beginning of April.  (Okay, maybe not quite as fat, but that is because of the major life changes we made after my husband’s trip to the hospital.)  We have not missed one meal.  We have not missed one bill.  We lost 2/3 of our income, and we had our bills paid sooner in May than we normally would have.  God will (and did!) provide.  He always does. Matthew 6:25– 34 and John 14:27 were verses that I focused on.

2. A church family is a good thing to have.  We were so tremendously blessed by our church family during our hard times!  Over the course of 3 weeks, we had close to $2500 handed to us by members of the church.  Besides that, we were given buckets (literally!) of tools.  It was unbelievable how much God blessed us through our church family.  Galations 6:10 and 1 Peter 2: 9-10 are two verses that talked about this.

3. It is what it is.  That may seem redundant or confusing, but it’s true.  It is what it is, and I can’t change it.  I had to quit obsessing over things I could not control and just focus on who was in control.  Through worry, I accomplished nothing.  If I had listened to worry, I would have gone to sleep in my bed and not gotten up.  I would have wallowed in my self pity and focused on no one but me.  I would have been angry at God and angry at myself for being angry at God.  That would have done no one any good.  Instead, with God’s help, I let it go.  I realized that it truly is what it is.  Since there was nothing I could do about it, I just looked upward instead of around.  Read Proverbs 12:25, Luke 12:32, Psalm 55:22 and Philippians 4:6-7.

4. Kale is gross.  Oh wait. That’s a different subject.  I’m not sure God taught me that, but our little side trip to the hospital sure did!  I don’t care how you cook it, juice it or season it, kale is nasty.

4. (really) I am not in control.  I don’t have much to say about this one, but it is probably the biggest lesson I learned.  I...am….not...in...control.  Until I stopped trying to control things, God let me flounder.  As soon as I relinquished control, life started to improve.  Focus on Psalm 46:10.

5. God has big plans for me.  I don’t know what they are yet, but I know He does.  How do I know?  He told me in Jeremiah 29:11-13.  Do I believe this?  Absolutely!  If I believe God’s word, then I have to believe this.  He was speaking to the Israelites, but I believe this was also for me.  I take comfort in that, and it scares me to death all at the same time.  What does God have in store for me?  Who knows.  I may have to go through many more struggles to get there, but as the old saying goes, “If He takes me to it, He’ll get me through it.”  He hasn’t failed me yet, and I don’t believe he will.

6. (Okay.  I lied...there aren’t 5.)  He will work it out.  How?  I don’t know.  When?  I don’t know.  Where?  I don’t know.  With whom?  I don’t know.  I’m not sounding very convincing right now, am I?  It’s true, though.  There are so many times in my past that I can look back at and know that God’s providence was there and He worked it out.  It’s those times in life that make us strong and give us faith.  So, if that’s what it takes to mold me into the person I need to be, bring them on!  I would like it if I could just have it easy for a little while, but, for one last cliché, I know that no matter what tomorrow holds, God holds tomorrow.  Read Romans 8:31 and Romans 8:28.

If you are having an “April” kind of month, just hang on.  This too shall pass in time.  If you are having a good month, enjoy it and be prepared.  We all have an April eventually.  There is no need to fear it, though, because God already has it covered.    
-Al


 
 
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I’ve been chewing on the idea of writing a blog for quite some time now.  I can’t admit how long.  That would tell you what a procrastinator I am.  However, I will tell you that I could have gestated and birthed a baby or two (or maybe three) in the time that I have considered writing.

So, here is the question: Why am I writing?  I really have no idea, other than for my friends.  My friends tell me I should.  They say, though I doubt them, that I am a good writer.  I know I am a good editor.  I do that for a living.  A good writer?  I’m not so sure.  I will let you read my writing and determine that for yourself. 

A friend of mine told me the other day that she thought I was wise.  She almost said it with a straight face.  I laughed out loud, because I am anything but wise.  I have no wisdom to impart, so don’t expect any.  I feel like I am plugging along in this world just like you.  I don’t have answers.  Sometimes, I don’t even know the questions!  I fail.  A lot.  I am pretty good at laughing at myself, though.  I think that came from the failures.  You either laugh or cry, so I laugh. Crying makes me look all swollen.  It isn’t pretty.  Plus, if I cry, my mother can detect it for weeks after the fact.  She’ll say, “What’s wrong with you?  You look like you cried last Thursday.”  She always knows. 

Here is the other question:  Why are you reading this?  I can’t answer that for you.  You may have quit reading long before now.  If not, why not?  You won’t find wisdom here.  You won’t find guidance here.  You may not even find good writing here.  What you will find, I hope, is that I am real.  I am honest about my struggles and fears.  I do not pretend to be put together, or ‘with it’ or even well accessorized.  I’m just me.

This is not a religious blog.  It does have religion in it, though, because it is about me.  I have God, so my writing will too.  I can’t leave Him out, because He is central in my life.  So, hopefully, you can tolerate Him.  I hope you’ll get to know Him a little better through me.  I don’t intend to preach Him to you though.  You’ll have to see Him in my life for yourself.

I am a mother.  I am a wife.  I am a Christian.  I am a homeschooler.  I am an editor.  I am me, and I am Not Your Average Al.    
-Al