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Aug 09-15

This Week

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Today as I woke up I was overwhelmed to see our neighborhood full of men, women and students, 40+ people were working to repair damage done by the storm and aftermath. It was a beautiful sunny day and it felt like a fresh start on the cleanup here on Main St. My children were busy helping here at our home, but also at other neighbors homes. My garage actually looks better than I remembered it. They removed truck loads of smelly, swampy smelling items and disposed of it for us. Then my older brother, Dave came from and with Geoff’s help, they got all the wet debris out of the basement and threw it on a pile over the deck. A student from an area Christian school spent the entire day at our home. He left to get his power washer and was out in our garage making it look even nicer. Emily had a friend, Hope over and they were a big help. The student stayed to help in Emily’s studio. He liked  6 of her paintings. We tried to give back to him to show appreciation. Next week Emily has a spot at our local Farmers market to share her paintings. She is very excited about this opportunity.
A big box of photo albums were in the garage and we have them out in the sun and fresh air to see what we can keep and what we can discard. It was a sight to see all the equipment and tools being used to help this community. Neighbors were sharing what they had to offer and the volunteers moved in sync as they conquered the jobs at each property. On walks, I used to admire landscaping at the homes along our block. After these storms ravaged the hard work of homeowners this week, it was so painful to be outdoors. It felt like a shock to see the disarray of the beauty. I was avoiding sitting out, as if the bewilderment and shock of it all was everywhere I looked. Tonight I sat out, with hope, with the sense that I am perhaps being changed for the better through this process. I realize that sometimes we all need to go through a process, often painful, to arrive at or comprehend the promises of God.  I’ve tried to bypass the pain but isn’t It sometimes all the little things that lead us to the lesson?. My life often feels mundane or humdrum, but as my life unfolds, I see that my purpose is part of a process of what God is doing. I’m a part of what a mighty God is doing in the circumstances and moments of the day. His mighty power Is perfected in those weak, vulnerable steps we each take by faith. .  
During the cleanup, our local LH Valley news, WFMZ came and I was interviewed, among others. When we saw the news, we were surprised to see that the news piece featured our family and our next door neighbor. I included it for those that do not live locally. They cut out the parts that I shared about God and His character. The news reporter was trying to question me about my fears, and questioned how God could have allowed. I remember sharing that God makes it clear in His word, that we are not exempt from pain and misfortune, but rather He is very present in our times of joys but also in our sorrows. He asked about my terror during the storm, but I was focusing on God’s reassurance. Since the past had times where I questioned God or doubted Him, where. I didn’t know what would happen, but the peace was present to help me wait it out. God’s faithfulness and provision is available when we reach for it, pray for it and accept it. I never want to take his love and mercy for granted. Many minial moments are what turn into the miracles. It’s all for His glory but I’m a recipient of the grace. I don’t think that God’s plan for everyone is to make them rich, completely healthy and to prosper them through the world’s standards. It is wonderful when this is part of a plan but if not, it teaches the necessary lessons to abide, trust and depend. It has taught me to surrender, to find joy in less, to let go of some of that complete self sufficiency  and expectations. 
I also added a picture of a rock collection that was found in a pottery dish In our garage. There was mud in there too, but when I saw this dish, I remembered what it was used for. In the year following the trauma and breakup of my marriage and the case that played out in the media, we made a thankful rock garden of sorts. On these rocks or pebbles we wrote what we were grateful for. At this time, being thankful was not an easy task for me and this concept for my children took lots of thought. It did not come easy, but we needed to learn. As I held and read these stones today, I was able now to let my praise be genuine from a heart that God has worked on over the years. On the stones were written, ...police, friends, teachers, car, God, forgive, church, Pinebrook (in Poconos) etc. Today my heart was so full as I look back and look forward. The praise on my lips comes easier than years ago. 
Thank you for praying, encouraging and listening to me as I seek to learn.

Psalm 31:1
“ I will praise the LORD at all times. I will constantly speak his praises“.
Psalm 33:22
“May Your loving devotion rest on us, O LORD, as we put our hope in You.”

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