Welcome! This is where it all began. I no longer post on this website and some of the content reflects former convictions and understandings. Some of these posts are hard core on issues that I am softer on these days. I deleted many posts that I feared would lead people into legalism, so if you find a missing hyperlink that may be why. These days I write at Covered By His Hand.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

A few new pics

When I post pics I am mainly doing it for my family - I use pictures as bribery to come to my blog!

My Dad (in-law) taking a much needed break.
Nelson rode a horse for the first (and second, and third) time this week. Here he is being led on Doc, a quarter horse - pulled by his Uncle Gregg.

My handsome, hard-working husband.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Job search update

A quick note to let you all know that Paul passed his first test with the MO Dept of Corrections. In mid-August he will take the physical portion of the testing. I am guessing that if he can throw a bale of hay 7 tiers high onto a waist-high trailer that he ought to do ok on the physical fitness test. Looks like Paul may be working for the prison come September!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Moving tips and more

I'm at home this week, just very busy! We were able to bale up some hay on Monday night before the rain began Tuesday morning. Since we can't work in the rain, we drove back home Tuesday afternoon. I have been packing every available minute! I am rather an expert packer, but maybe I was feeling a little proud of my capabilities. Maybe I thought that I could do the impossible (and put off packing till the last 3 weeks). My husband has been here every day to help me pack and carry boxes into the garage. Only problem is that it is very hard to pack up books when you have two book lovers saying, "I may want to read that..." I have a stack of about 15 books that we didn't want to pack away (not including Bibles, Psalter, and hymnals).

We still do not have a job or home lined up to go to... Yet, we still know that we are doing the right thing. Unfortunately, knowing that we are doing the right thing doesn't make this much easier! I still have dozens of boxes to pack (most of which will need to be in the last week - think pots, pans, pantry, clothes, cleaning supplies, etc).

Just for fun, here are a few packing tips:

- label, label, label!!! A few extra seconds to label your box may save hours/days of searching! I label the room the box is to go to, as well as anything important in the box. For example, the box may say "Books: Calvin's Institutes, Christians Reasonable Service Vol. 1-4, Lexicons" I am VERY specific on the book box labels.

- clear out one corner of your home (we are using the garage) to stack packed boxes and keep them together. Your loaders will thank you!

-Keep mirror screws/bed screws in their holes, just twist them back in after you disassemble.

- Once inside the truck do not leave empty room inside furniture. Load book boxes inside the bookshelves, small boxes in dresser drawers, light toys, clothes, or towels in the toy box, and lamp shades in the washer and dryer.

- Disassemble beds the night before and sleep with your mattress on the floor.

- For long moves you can use dry ice to keep your cooler cold for days.

- Throw out all the excess junk... outdated pill bottles, McDonald's Happy Meal toys, and other such useless junk - and Goodwill would love to have all those clothing sizes you are keeping "just in case"

- keep disposable cups on hand for drinking the day of the load.

- keep diapers, wipes, and a changing pad accessible

-keep out an outfit for your stinky husband, because he will want a shower after loading all day

-Lastly, I have found it very helpful to keep a laundry basket of items I need the first night of the move - clean towels, toilet paper, tea towels or paper towels, soap, shower curtain/liner.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

On the farm

Paul and Lydia take a minute to snuggle.
Rebecca and Paul go for a ride.
Paul's dad throws a bale on the trailer. Can you believe he's 70?!
Trying something different with the camera... I was driving trying to capture Paul stacking bales on top.
Nelson spends most of his time climbing mountains of hay bales, the boy has no fear.

Joshua turned 1!!!

Joshua turned one yesturday! Bring out the cake and ice cream, make that Angel Food for Joshie.
Grandma Karen with the big kids.
My very silly husband.

Place creative title here...

For the last three weeks we have spent weekdays in Boonville, MO and weekends here in IL. We have been helping my in-laws with their first cutting of hay. Since we have been there so much, I have not been here to pack at all! I do not have one single box packed, and I move in 3 weeks! We still do not have a home to move to. Paul is applying with the MO Dept of Corrections for a job at one of the prisons. He has applied and has had one set of testing, but he has more testing to do before he is actually hired. The second set of testing is not until August 13th...

In the meanwhile, we are all still sleeping in one room at Paul's parent's house. It is very cozy, and (I will admit it) kind of precious. I will never forget these days! Last night Lydia could not sleep in her bed alone, because she has been sleeping so much with her sister and brother. The three of them sleep on a skinny mattress on the floor (each with their own blanket). This morning when Rebecca got up she found Lydia asleep on the floor, poor thing! This transition is hard on all of us!

I am still at peace and quite content. The Holy Spirit is still real and powerful in my life. I am a woman whose life has been changed!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Our family is moving

It is official - our family is moving again. We will be moving to Boonville, MO to be closer to Paul's parents. Paul has always wanted to move to be near his family, but I was always very reluctant. I USED to be jealous of his family. He loves them so much and they are all so tight-knit. Honestly, I hated the competition... There was no way that I would ever go there! But, God has changed all that now! Since God's Holy Spirit changed my life, I actually look forward to going to see his family. And, when we visit there I make great efforts to love them and be lovable. (This is no easy task, because I have been so unapproachable for so long.)

Paul put in his resignation at the church last night. He made it clear that he wants to be closer to his family and this is not about moving away from the church... there was a time that that would have been the motive, but not now. He will preach through August 10th, then we will be finished here. We hope to find housing and employment in Boonville soon.

I have said in previous posts that moving used to be a sort of escape for me, that I loved moving because I loved the change. The problem was that the old Bethany I hated so much followed me everywhere! I never could escape myself! As a result we have moved more times that I can count and looked in many corners of the US for contentment. I never could find contentment in a place! I never understood that contentment is only found in a person. God, through His Holy Spirit has granted me more contentment that I could ever dream possible!

I no longer need to move to try to find happiness! We are moving simply because it is the right thing to do! I see this being a permanent move. Sure, there may be changes in renting/buying etc, but I think we will probably stay in the Boonville area forever. I am finally submitting to Paul in this matter of his family.

Friday, July 4, 2008

The New Me

If you have not yet read my post called I am a new person - My Testimony, you will want to start there.

I have had almost three weeks now to see the transformation in my life as a result of the filling of the Holy Spirit. I still can't get over how EVERYTHING has changed!!! It is the most amazing thing, especially since I never even knew that it was something that I needed! I had friends in college who were "charismatic" and tried to tell me about the power of the Holy Spirit. One of my best friends, Mandy, would pray with me and for me on a regular basis and I knew that she was different from me. But, I kind of pushed it aside thinking it was a personality thing. And, there was a short time that I dated a young man who was always asking me if his family could pray over me to receive the Holy Spirit. I told him the appropriate baptistic response, "That is totally unnecessary. I am already a Christian, I am already filled with the Holy Spirit." NOW I can see that he knew from looking at me that I was powerless. NOW I can see that it really is something that a person KNOWS when he/she has experienced it! It is NOT just head knowledge.

I mentioned in the original post that my husband, Paul, was not sure what to think at first. After all, I had said before something had changed.... but it didn't last. How could he know that this time was totally different? He kept saying, "time will tell." Let me tell you, if the Holy Spirit had not done a work in my heart - I would not have been able to stand under his skepticism! But, God's power made me able to walk in such a way these past 3 weeks that Paul is no longer unsure of my claims!!! Let me explain (though it will prove to be mortifying for the flesh, because I am going to expose some more of my past sins that I wish no one would ever know.)

Eight years ago, I married Paul after knowing him only a few months. We barely even knew each other before we got married, but what's more - we didn't know each other's families at all!!! Paul and I come from families that are polar opposites in personality (though all 4 of our parents are believers - and Baptist). I just did not know how to get along with Paul's parents at all! They are so light-hearted and laid back! And, Paul's Dad always teases and I took great offense to that. For these silly reasons and many others I did not want to spend time with his family at all! And, every one of them felt it! I was miserable when Paul forced me to go, and I made everyone else miserable too! (I am not bragging, I am totally ashamed of myself!!! I am explaining this only so you can identify and rejoice with me as the story continues - that God will be glorified).

For eight years we visited as little as possible. Paul was honestly afraid to take me there, for fear that they may see the real Bethany. He was protecting both me and them. I think we probably saw them for about 15 visits during 8 years. There were many times he had to go alone, because he missed them so much and I was so defiant.

I told Paul after Memorial Day that I felt like we needed to spend more time with his family. He didn't believe me, he blew it off. Well, I kept pressing him to make plans to go down there for his sister's birthday (June 21st). He was probably dreading the visit or wandering when I would back out and change my mind. But, God touched me on June 16th, and it changed everything!

Paul said to me and to others that if I was really changed as I said I was that the real test would be going to his parents on our week-long vacation last week. Well, it was an amazing visit! I have never enjoyed his family so much! I loved chatting with his mom and working with his dad. I did not come out and tell them that I was different, I knew that they would see it, if it was real.

The second night we were there Paul's dad referred to the "miracles" in our lives, "first Lydia, now Bethany." He knew I was different! That opened Paul's eyes too, I think. Since that trip, Paul has been believing that my experience really happened.

I used to think that feeling/experience, in and of itself, was a bad thing! As I Reformed Baptist, I shy away from words like experience and feeling. But, now I see that there is place for some of these things SO LONG AS THEY GO ALONG WITH SCRIPTURE!!! I can't wait to tell you more about what is going on with me as time goes on... I am so blessed!