Sunday, June 28, 2009


"And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus."
-Phil. 4:19

We're ready to "r-u-m-b-l-e!"

Weekend Warriors

The weekend got off to a great start! With all the materials in place, Bill and Todd prepared for the guys from PA to arrive. These guys took a few days off a few days to drive down from the Lancaster area, to lay the foundation of our home. Their actions speak to the foundations of our hearts as well.

Bill spent some sweet time with Ashley explaining the importance of a firm house building as well as in life building.

At first, our friend Mark was going to come down with a friend and lay the block and brick. He has been sharing our need with his church. Pretty soon, there were five guys that wanted to come down with Mark, to help us here. Including John Boy...who is 11. He and his dad took this trip together. These guys all worked like crazy!

We first met Mark when he come to do a Discipleship Training School at YWAM-New York, when Todd and I were there. Last year he brought his youth group, and his family, down to do Mission Adventures. It has been awesome to be reconnected. It is so special to have his handiwork, at a very foundational level, displayed at our home.

Two of Todd's brothers joined in the fun...Lance and Brad Ford.
Jackson loves being able to be a part of building his new house! It was so sweet, as the younger guys prayed over the meals during the weekend, they thanked God for "helping us to build Jackson's new house."

Thanks Bill, Barry, John, John Boy, Jansen, Kevin and Mark! Lance and Brad too! You guys blessed our socks off!!! All the work that you did here, as well as at the YWAM base. We are so encouraged and refreshed by your visit...and so thankful for the firm foundation that you have laid here (and all the other handy man tasks you did). Bless you guys! Can't wait for you to come again.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ready to Roll

Ready. Set. Roll.

Last Monday we got things rollin' around here.

Bill came in on Sunday with a "new to us" friend, Christian. We all had dinner together and then got right to work discussing strategies and preparing tools.

Just a few days before, Todd had been in New Orleans (NOLA) setting a few things up for our summer outreaches there. While he was away, the person who was going to dig our footings and level out the area had to cancel. Bummer for a few reasons...

1. Bill was already scheduled to be here, with a friend.
2. This person doing the job was giving us a really good deal
3. Todd was out of town.

"Lord, this is your project," I whispered in my heart.

Todd felt like I should give our friend Jerry (different than "Lumberjack Jerry") a call and explain the situation. The next thing I know is this...

1. Jerry will meet the Bobcat at our house on Monday morning.
2. We will have the use of it for the whole day, at no cost to us.
3. Jerry will operate it. Thank you Jerry!

The next two days were busy around here. The birds were a bit out of sorts with all the commotion. (They weren't the only ones!)

They say a picture is worth a thousand words...

Our patio, last summer.

Bill, triple checking measurements and markings.

These pictures cover two very productive days. Days filled with blood (Cookie fell out the back door and scuffed her nose on the new cement), sweat (100 + degree days, high humidity) and tears (we are overwhelmed with the kindness and generosity of the people in our lives, and God's goodness to us).

We are so grateful, and totally amazed, with what is going on around here. Only the Lord could have orchestrated something like this. We continued to be grateful for the way that our friends and family, and even a stranger or two, have surrounded us on this project.

We are forever grateful...

Monday, June 15, 2009

T-I-M-B-E-R !!!

We have so much shade in our yard, it is hard for me to have gardens. The ones that I have run along the sides of our fence and are shade loving plants. (No veggie garden for this girl. Coming from a family of gardeners, this is a "bit" sad for me.)

A few years ago, when I discovered that our pecan tree was a pecan tree, I was thrilled. I could harvest pecans! (note: pecan trees do not give a harvest every year. With this particular tree, I have a good harvest about every two or three years.) This last year was a great year for us. Those pecans are great in cookies, breads, muesli cereal, or simply roasted...mmmm!

With the addition to our house, the tree has to come down. Oh, the thought of no pecans. No! Wait a minute.

Pecans every few years vs. a place for shelter.

This addition will be a place for a young guy to know that he belongs and is cared for. A place for friends and family to gather, to celebrate and grow together. That decision becomes really easy, without regrets.
So in April, with house expansion plans approved, Todd and our dear friend Jerry, became lumberjacks for the day. Sort of.

It was a long day for the guys. The limb lacking tree looks so looming against the evening sky. It was a good tree. It served us well. I know for certain that the addition will serve us even better!
I have thought about this tree, and the lessons pondered. (I just love how God speaks to us through His creation!) I've thought about this tree through the years, and been disappointed when fall came and there was no fruit, nuts in this case. It causes me to reflect on my own life and the fruit I bear.
Am I bearing fruit? Is it good fruit? What is good fruit? Do those around me enjoy the fruit I bear? Is it fruit that brings glory to the Creator?
John 15, of The Message, says this...
"I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you're joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated can't produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is dead wood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is - when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples."
May my fruit be the fruit that is good and always in season, benefitting all those around me, causing them to give thanks to the Creator God!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Best Nest

Have you ever read The Best Nest, from the Dr. Seuss Beginner Books? Mrs. Bird is unhappy with her nest and demands Mr. Bird look for a new nest. After much searching and finagling, Mr. Bird finds a location that “The Missus” seems to like. After some food wrangling, Mr. Bird returns to find Mrs. Bird gone. Searching, he finds Mrs. Bird back at the original nest. She has discovered that really, their original nest is really what is best for them. (Sorry to ruin the ending if you have never read it!)

When Todd and I first got married, we did not imagine owning our own home. We thought we would be working and living at different YWAM locations around the world. It wasn’t until we started pioneering YWAM-Charlotte, and received a diagnosis of autism for Jack, that we realized things might look a bit different for us. We were amazed (still are) at the house that the Lord provided for us almost 12 years ago.

This 1910 bungalow is just around the corner from YWAM-Charlotte. We can see the YWAM property from our front porch! This bungalow housed the office and provided hospitality for our guest speakers when we first started. We know that it was a miraculous provision for us, and a real anchor in what God is doing here.

This past spring has brought with it a few changes in how we are approaching Jack’s future. Up until this point, we have focused all of our “training” of Jackson on learning and socialization. The educators and specialists that we see have recommended a change in focus to add daily living skills, independent living and job training. Of course, it is impossible to have this kind of conversation without bringing up “group home”, options for living and life. (This is where I wish I were talking about someone else’s kid and have a conversation with the Lord about broken dreams, expectations and His complete faithfulness).

Over the last few years, Todd and I have dreamed a bit with the Lord, regarding building onto our house. We need office space as we work out of our house, more space to provide hospitality for our staff and students and an apartment for Jack to live independently yet still under our roof.

At our last Christmas party, we were so glad to have our dear friends Bill and Bridgett Blatz here with us. They were here teaching in the Discipleship Training School, and were happy to join in on the Christmas fun. We have known Bill for more than 20 years. He has been a leader, mentor and dear friend to us, having worked together in YWAM-NY. Bill is a Grade “A” Builder in Virginia, and founder of the non-profit, Regal International, Ltd.

After the party, Bill pulled us aside. He asked us if we had ever considered adding on to our house. Well, as a matter of fact…

Bottom line, Regal International Ltd. has approached us about doing this home addition for us...designing and overseeing the project at no cost to us.

We are recruiting skilled laborers to come and give of their time and talents. We are also raising monies to fund this endeavor (building supplies, permits, etc). Please pray for us as we build this "nest".

We are so grateful for your prayers, love, gifts and talents. Watch for updates!