Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Rest of the Story

I have to share one reason why it was so cool for Wendy and Jack to invite us over for Thanksgiving (other than all I've shared). You see, we felt compelled to give up our own Thanksgiving meal to a family in need. Our church was hosting "Thanksgiving-in-a-Box." We encouraged families to decorate a box, and put all the major ingredients for a Thanksgiving meal in the box, including a turkey. We had already made one box, but felt like we needed to give away our own food too. So we took 2 boxes to be delivered to needy families. We were blessed to get to deliver 4 of the 17 boxes our church put together, and got to interact with the families receiving the boxes. They weren't families who knew how to "use the system" but families who just needed a little extra help. Many were multi-generational. We took a church member who speaks Spanish with us to interpret for us. She did a great job! Two of the recipients asked Russ to pray for them, and Dehlia interpreted as he prayed. It was a special time.

God blessed us in a special way-He made sure we had a Thanksgiving meal. Just an hour after we decided to give away our own meal, the invitation came to share the day with Wendy and Jack.

God is the great provider! He provided for the needs of these Hispanic families who wouldn't have a turkey dinner without "Thanksgiving-in-a-Box." And He provided us with not only a turkey dinner, but with the family interaction we so greatly needed our first Thanksgiving in the Rio Grande Valley.

I'm glad I listened and obeyed to that little nudge to give away my dinner. It might not have been the 5 loaves and 2 fishes that fed the multitudes, but God worked in a special way, none-the-less!

Thanksgiving Day

Did you have a nice Thanksgiving? We spent the afternoon with new friends Wendy and Jack in Harlingen, and their families. Jack is an orthopedic surgeon, and his family comes from Mexico. They have a beautiful home, and were very gracious to open it up to several from both sides of their families, as well as us. It was a perfect blending of Mexican and American cultures of several generations, except the food was All-American Thanksgiving. I was introduced to Jack's cousin Pillar (sounds like pill and rhymes with car), from Mexico City. I said, "Como esta, usted" and she said, "Mui Bien, et tu?" and I said, "Mui Bien, Gracias." I said it with all the correct Spanish accents. Then Pillar thought I was fluent in Spanish and/or was Hispanic and she started a long conversation in Spanish before she caught her breath. I had to explain I didn't know much Spanish! She thought I did pretty well-but now I'm determined that I need to learn more!

My contribution to the yummy meal was a recipe from Paula Deen. No offense, Mom, but it's called Not Yo Momma's Banana Pudding. It is delicious. I changed it up just a bit from the original recipe. In a mixing bowl, I mixed 1 pkg of cream cheese, reduced fat (it's smoother and blends better). To that I added: 1 large pkg. jello instant vanilla pudding, 1 cup half-n-half, 1 cup milk, and 1 can sweetened condensed milk. Then I added 1 regular container of Cool Whip, extra creamy. I put one layer of cookies on the bottom of the casserole pan. The cookies are by Peppridge Farm and are a shortbread cookie with the chess game figures on them. Then I layered 3 sliced bananas and the pudding mixture 3 more sliced bananas and the rest of the pudding mixture, and ended with another layer of cookies, pressed into the mixture. YUMMO!

It was great to spend our first Thanksgiving Day in the Rio Grande Valley with families who love each other and embrace life with gusto!

Thanksgiving-A Look Back

I continue to pinch myself and praise God for the direction our lives have taken over the past 15 months. I would have never DREAMED we would be where we are today last Thanksgiving. We've had several issues happen over the past year-circumstances that would fall into each of the "major stressors" categories. Illnesses, surgeries, betrayals, disappointments, being bullied, homelessness, joblessness, lack of direction, strange new surroundings, rejections...heartache of all kinds.


Through each trial, God has been faithful.
Through each trial, we have grown.
Through each trial, God's strength has been sufficient.
Through each trial, peace that supersedes all human understanding, permeates the heart and mind.
Through each trial, God reigns supreme.
Through each trial, my relationship with Jesus has been strengthened.


A ministry with opportunities to use what God has been equipping us for all along.
A home with more square feet than our last eight dwelling places.
New friends to love, who love us back. Old friends who prove their loyalty.
God's networking to connect me to clients.


Opportunities to pay it forward-to help others, using the resources with which God has entrusted us.
Womens Ministry as an open door for me to show ladies the love of God.
A new culture to learn and embrace.

So much for which to be thankful. The trials aren't over, but even still, we can testify...


Friday, November 09, 2007

New in the Neighborhood

The last 11 days have flown by since I first arrived in Texas. It feels good to be home. I told my mom I would not complain in the least if I became like one of those root-bound plants. You know the kind. A potted plant that really needs to graduate to a bigger pot, with its roots all wrapped up in the dirt-more root than dirt. Okay-obviously I was kidding-a little bit. I only want to live where God wants me to live. But my heart's desire is for us to serve longterm here at First Baptist Church/Raymondville.

The unpacking was slowed a bit because I've been fighting bronchitis the past 3 weeks-it's all better now. I guess I was just supposed to know my limitations-something I might not have recognized if I had felt better.

Last week I paced myself between unpacking and resting and getting to know my new surroundings. A church member became a widow, so the entire community showed up to show her our love and support. I got to see the surrounding area in its finest hour-being there for someone during their time of need. I knew then that I would fit in just fine! And of course, part of this outpouring is a testimony of how much Robin had been there for everyone else in the community during THEIR times of need.

This week, I've added getting back to work with my freelance job during the day (and some nights) and finding homes for items from unpacked boxes during my off hours. This home has no shortage of storage space! And just last night we finished buying window treatments for the 6th room of the house. I still have the laundry room and one bedroom to go (and maybe a color change for the master bath). I'm celebrating buying my first REAL drape, and having REAL curtains and not just mini-blinds in my windows. How's THAT for putting down roots?

Today we stocked up the refrigerator. I've gotten referrals for: accountant, pedicurist, hair stylist, doctor, housekeeper, and restaurants.

It's all coming together! And soon, we will enjoy entertaining our first guests. I can't wait! I'm so excited to start having people over, that I've already drawn up seven different menus to start with for guests.

And Sunday I substitute teach Sunday School for one of the women's classes.

I'm getting plugged in. And you know what happens when you get plugged in-you get energized!