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Easter in Heaven

Easter in Heaven

Today, I find myself wondering what Easter in Heaven is like!  What is mama doing today? Do they celebrate Good Friday?  Do they worship differently this weekend than they would any other week or day?  Do they sing different songs, or do they just continue magnifying the Lord as they do every day?

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Doing the Impossible!

Downtown Marianna Florida

Downtown Marianna Florida

My heart is so full now that if I don’t begin getting this down, it may just burst!  Oh that moment when you know you are involved in something so much bigger than yourself or anyone else. So much bigger than man can fathom or do alone.  That moment when  you realize the almighty God who created this entire Universe and keeps it in motion loves you so personally and cares about every single detail of your life and others lives.  It is so mind-blowing!  Couldn’t resist sharing! 

So this past week, some precious friends of ours have begun relief efforts for Hurricane Victims.  The devastation is so wide and so deep you guys!  Each time you help someone you see the depth of the disaster caused by Hurricane Michael!  The restoration is way beyond our scope of reach! Way beyond any of ours…alone that is!  But together!!! Now we’re talking!  And with God’s help…The Impossible is Possible!  It really has been absolutely amazing to watch God work in providing for needs.  People are donating money, supplies, time, generators, trailers, whatever is needed to help others!  Oh these people whose lives were turned upside down in this storm…oh if they could somehow know how they are loved and how often they are thought of and prayed for! But wait…maybe they will…one small group at a time!  And that’s where our friends come in.  They began the Country Bumpkin Disaster Relief Group. Whoop Whoop! Just a couple of humble servants desperately wanting to help.  And these people have the gift of influence and have contacts everywhere!!!! That is so helpful and needed in a time like this!  Allen and I (and many others) want to help but don’t always know how or who.  That’s where our friends come in again.  They just reach out to people and God puts these needs in front of them. Then they ask for help and people step up! It’s just a chain reaction.  Then others hear about it and want to do something so they either give or organize their own group and go serve as well! It’s so cool!!!!  It is the most beautiful thing to be a part of!  Words can’t describe it!  It’s exhausting and exhilirating at the same time!

So much has happened in the last 8 days, but let me share a tiny bit about yesterday!  I (Carol) went to Panama City with a  friend to visit her parents and take some supplies.  She had not seen them since the Hurricane and had very little contact with them, due to lack of cell service and power and such.  We are finding that most people we talk to literally have not left their neighborhood in a week. They are just trying to dig themselves out and put tarps on roofs and figure out how to survive until help comes.  It’s really that desperate!  So after delivering a few supplies to her parents who faired well (it’s all perspective…their “well” is this: huge trees uprooting and lifting up their concrete patio in front of their house - so it now sits at an unsafe 45 degree angle that they have to walk across all day long; massive trees down in their back yard and  almost resting on their house, wind and trees that demolishing their steps to their canal in their back yard that they just built, major water damage in house, no power for at least a month, etc…and they’re the lucky ones!).  So …after seeing them for a bit, we went on to deliver supplies to some other harder-hit areas of Panama City.  We weren’t really sure what to expect but what we found what heartbreaking!  Houses demolished…nothing left but the foundation…and a wooden rocker that survived. That image will forever stick in my head! Ugh!  As we delivered supplies, everyone was so grateful for small items like a small bag of ice, a loaf of bread, protein bars, cereal, peanut butter.  Most of these people have not been to the store since the storm or if they have, they realized the stores will only take cash. So then there’s the realization that they just wasted their precious gas to go somewhere that was in vain.  Can’t imagine.  So that was yesterday. Feel free to see my facebook post for more details.

Today, yall!!!!  Today is my day at home to homeschool, wash laundry, dishes, cook dinner for my family, clean up, and get ready to do it all again when the Lord provides the opportunity.  I was so excited when a friend called and needs help delivering supplies again soon. How grateful I am to have time to do this.  She texted saying she needs lots of “trash bags”.  This seems to be the big need right now.  Ice, Gas, trashbags, baby food, bread.  Does it seem desperate only to me that those are peoples biggest needs in our surrounding communities?  This alone should help us understand the magnitude of disaster this area has faced.  So as I was doing my “housewife/mommy” stuff around my powered, AC, comfy home (so so blessed), I just thought, well I don’t really know how I will gather a ton of trashbags today.  Let me just do what’s in front of me (breakfast, lunch, dinner for my fam, etc) and then figure it out.  Said a quick prayer (should always be my 1st response to a need but duh!  I totally forget sometimes. LOL).  A few minutes later, I get a call that  a church nearby wants to be a resource for us and actually has…wait for it….trashbags!!!!  Oh my goodness yall!  I had to finish my conversation quickly so I could hang up and ugly cry with thankfulness!  I was so very grateful!  The church also said that the Red Cross Workers they are housing said the way we are helping is the best way to do this…one contact at a time!!  I cried over that affirmation too, as so many of us wonder if we are making a difference or even putting a dent in the devastation.  These communities need us and we will keep loving them and giving to them!  Yes, we all have families and jobs and schooling and every day life, but these are people in such desperate situations.  Here it is a week after the storm and some of them are still needing to be cut out of their homes.  Absolutely Unbelieveable.  But I had to take a few minutes and share how good God is and how NOTHING is IMPOSSIBLE with our GOD!  He is an abundant God and not limited by this storm or resources or anything else! 

Our prayer is that He will be Glorified in this and that those affected by the storm will not only have their needs met but thru these supplies and hugs and smiling faces and prayers, they will FEEL the tanglibe love of Jesus Christ and KNOW that their lives matter and that they are loved and cared for!

So…with that said…let me encourage you that you can help too. No matter where you are or how small your resources are…every little bit helps.  My friend said in the beginning, not to overthink it. Just get out and do something to help if you were spared and your area is not a disasaster zone,  like so many are around us.  It’s amazing how just making yourselves available opens up so many doors of opportunity to love on others.  So just give a small donation (ummm…or large if you prefer :-), say prayers nightly for these people (and for the safety of those helping), and/or come help. There’s so much to be done: Handing out supplies, organizing donations, cutting people out of homes, cleaning up debris…the list is endless.

And thank you, thank you, thank you to all who have helped already by giving, praying and going! Seeing the gratitude on the faces of these people as you hand them a bag of ice or loaf of bread is the greatest reward!

Love keeps no records... | Marriage Mondays

Forgive a lot, then forgive again and again.

Choosing to forgive in marriage is crucial!

Choosing to forgive in marriage is crucial!

Yes, we are blessed with an amazing marriage. But we both would be the first to tell you that it hasn't come without its struggles. We have both messed up, numerous times, and had to forgive each other...over and over again.  Sometimes it's the little things we have to forgive  (or sometimes overlook - like the small irritable things)...things like leaving the lights on all the time, or forgiving scratches on vehicles when one has parked too close to the buggys  at Walmart  (oops). Other times, it's the bigger stuff. The times we have unknowingly and unintentionally hurt each other.  Sometimes looking back, we don't have a clue how the little things could have caused such deep pain, but acknowledging that in each other & choosing to forgive has been part of the glue that has held us together.

Sometimes the words "I forgive you" have come out when we least expected it & certainly not planned it.  But something deep inside forces out those words...knowing forgiveness is a purposeful choice and without it, healing can't take place.  I don't know where we would be without forgiveness in our marriage.  Certainly not here...adoring each other more than ever and pushing through hard times to make our marriage stronger. Sometimes one of us needs forgiveness more often than the other but neither of us keeps track. Lord help us, if we did!  We just keep on saying it  (many times after we have hashed it out, communicated well into the night, and come up with a plan for next time)...over & over again and making the choice to give grace & forgiveness ...knowing the other one of us could be in need of it at another time.

Now we also are aware that at times there are much deeper issues that may require intervention and require more time to resolve.  We are certainly not saying that the words "I forgive you" fix everything.  We know that they don't, but  we have also learned that when those words are said, healing can begin.  And as you say them over & over, your heart begins to actually believe it!  It's a strange thing really.

We also want you to know that we know full well that those 3 little words are not easy to get out at times. Seriously yall, sometimes we even feel like we are going to choke on them, but we are here to tell you that every time  you say them, it gets a little bit easier and then lo and behold, it begins to come naturally after awhile.  Crazy, right?

So hang in there & keep saying those words as you hash things out - even if you have to choke them out at times. haha

 Forgiveness makes our marriage stronger & sweeter and it will do the same for yours. Just keep at it!  

Dont forget that we are here for you, to encouragw you in your marriage & cheer you on! You've  got this ! Also, If you want to be sure to get our #marriagemondays posts, one of the following ways should do:

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We can't wait to cheer you on!

Enjoy the Journey!

ALLEN & CAROL