It's been a great few days for us. It's just proven to me over and over again that God is in control. Some people may look at what we call blessings and think we are insane for giving God the glory for it, but we KNOW who provides for us. For some others, what we call blessings may be insignificant. For us, we are grateful for the little things.
Adriana left an hour and a half ago on a mission trip. We are so excited for her and know this week is going to be amazing. Her heart is so huge and she is so mission-minded. I'm beyond thankful for God's provision for that to happen. I never dreamed that someone would step up and sponsor her. The most amazing thing is that we didn't even think to "ask". The registration deadline and parent's meeting had long since passed. I'm thankful for the lady that got the ball rolling and made that happen for her. It really has made Adriana (and all of us as well) see her faith in a whole new light. She has come under fire so much over the past few weeks because of the maturity of her beliefs. It was just a very beautiful moment to witness her whole being change when she found out she could go and that there was NO other way for it to have happened had it not been a "God thing". Yes, PEOPLE (that we are grateful for) may have physically and financially made it happen, but it was because God led their hearts. Thank you for all of you involved on every level.
That situation and everything that surrounded those few days has been very emotional for us. There was just something about all of it that touched us way deeper than just the surface. We've also had some other things happen over the last week or so that also showed us God's provision. I believe God provides even when it may not be in the most natural or "normal" ways. I just try to keep my eyes and heart open to seeing it. I've had people literally laugh in my face and say God has had nothing to do with it, but I know differently.
We wanted to have Bradlee a birthday party, but even the most very basic of activities was out of the budget right now. I enter contests, give aways, promotions, etc... on a constant basis. VERY seldom do I ever "win". I actually won a house party sponsored by Oscar Mayer. The date they requested JUST happened to be the exact day we had wanted to have his party. Coincidence? Not in my book! With what OM provided, I was able to do the rest for about $40. We had a great time socializing with our neighbors. We enjoyed it so much that we are already in the planning stages of our next block party.
It was a great day for Bradlee, but even more so for all of us. We were able to spend time with our precious neighbors that are in their 80s and can run circles around us. We've witnessed a sharp decline over the last 18 months and every chance to be with them right now is important to all of us, especially Adriana. She spends hours at a time visiting with them and listening to their adventures. She's happy to just sit and do jigsaw puzzles with them. We also got to spend time with a neighbor that has been great to us by giving us our very rare chances out as a couple. She's going through a rough time personally and very lonely right now. It was great to see her smile & relax. We loved getting to spend time with The Guinns and their 3 kids. We've been running so much this summer that I've missed getting to just hang out with them. Another neighbor came by and fixed plates for his family. His wife is in the early stages of pregnancy #2 and between the exhaustion and heat, she didn't feel like being out. Been there! He talked with Kevin & Jeff for quite awhile and he was excited to have had the chance for an official "meet and greet" kind of thing. They also are without family around and feel that loneliness we know first hand. They are both from Korea and language barriers have been difficult, but we were ALL AMAZED at the progress! The whole experience just made me grateful that we had the opportunity to spend that time all together. It was something I had wanted to do for a long time and God provided that for us in a unique way.
Another "small" blessing that meant the world to us was the opportunity to eat dinner out as a family. I say small because in many people's eyes it wouldn't be considered a blessing...just a daily "given". We received a COMPLETELY unexpected thank you card and a gift card in the mail a couple of weeks ago. We used that to be able to treat Kevin to a GREAT lunch after church to celebrate Father's Day. Otherwise, it wouldn't have happened.
I spent the last several weeks trying to figure out how to get him something great as a gift. I still wasn't able to get him something huge (like a WORKING MODERN TV that he would love or his own iPod) but I was able to find something meaningful for him. He was REALLY in need of a new Bible. They are just SO expensive. We had a new Family Christian bookstore open recently and I went in there. I kept looking around and couldn't find anything that fell in the $30 price range that I knew I could spend. I wanted a NLT one for him because even though we still go back to our NIV or KJV versions as the "standard", I have found a new passion for scripture by reading from the NLT. It just really comes to life for me and I wanted Kevin to have one. Anyone knows me know I CAN NOT stand being approached by sales people and I don't like to "talk" to anyone out shopping. This time God provided AGAIN----the lady saw me DIGGING through the clearance table of Bibles with a look of frustration. I couldn't find one and I knew I couldn't afford a regular priced one. At first she couldn't find one that fit my budget and "needs" (like we found a PINK one!) and I had given up on that idea. I had gone to look at something else when she approached me with one she just "happened" to find. (Another instance of God providing!). When it was all said and done, I walked out with a $65 leather NLT Bible that MORE than made us both happy....for $2 less than my budget! I didn't even have to settle for a paperback. It just happened to ring up on sale when she scanned it and she handed me a 33% off coupon that could be combined with sale prices! Oh yes!