Giving thanks to God

Thanksgiving table at our house
Thanksgiving table at our house

I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving with your family and your friends this year. I’m so happy that our three daughters, Heather, Eden, and Leah, our son-in-law Craig, and all our grandkids (missing one!) came this year to eat the Thanksgiving lunch at our home–and we even had guests, Heather’s boyfriend Andy and his three kids, Kelsey, Kaden, and Eian his baby boy. This year we had a new family member join us–Craig’s and Eden’s new baby, Willow. Our family is growing!

Ray made his special, sweet holiday ham that our kids always request. As usual, it was a hit! I made the turkey, the dressing (there’s a debate if it’s called “stuffing” or “dressing”), and crescent rolls and everyone else brought a dish. 

Baby Willow
Baby Willow

 

Thanksgiving 2017 tablecloth, decorative plates, cups, & napkins
Thanksgiving 2017 tablecloth, decorative plates, cups, & napkins at our house

Here’s our oldest beautiful daughter Heather with her boyfriend Andy and his baby son Eian. The baby is about 4 months old and so cute! Heather adores him already. The green bean casserole Heather made for our meal was so good. I was busy cooking and serving, so I forgot to take pics of the yummy food, but people are more important anyway!

Heather, Andy's baby boy Eian, & Andy at our house
Heather, Andy’s baby boy Eian, & Andy at our house

Heather decided to also have a Thanksgiving dinner celebration at her house with her two girls and Andy and his kids. Heather’s table looks so elegant and pretty with the cloth green tablecloth, cloth napkins and napkin rings, blue plates, and decorations. They enjoyed ham, potatoes with gravy, mac n cheese, sparkling cider juice, and buttered rolls. They look happy here. 

Heather & her two girls Andy & his two kids Heather's Thanksgiving meal
Heather & her two girls Violet & Annabelle
Andy & his three kids, Kaden, Kelsey & Eian
Heather’s Thanksgiving meal

Here is our middle beautiful daughter Eden with her husband Craig. Their toddler daughter Piper is a busy bee, so it’s hard to get a picture of her being still!

Eden & her husband Craig
Eden & her husband Craig

 

Piper is a busy bee!
Piper is a busy bee!

Here is Ray with our youngest beautiful daughter Leah, and then me with Leah. I love this pretty plum-colored blouse on her. She made home-made pumpkin rolls for our meal and they were delicious! The kids loved them!

Ray & Leah at our home for Thanksgiving 2017
Ray & Leah at our home for Thanksgiving 2017

 

Me & Leah at our home for Thanksgiving 2017
Me & Leah at our home for Thanksgiving 2017

All our grandkids except one, our grandson Jacob, were able to join us this year for Thanksgiving. We were able to see him today at Eden’s house. He’s so adorable and getting so tall!

Our adorable grandson Jacob
Our adorable grandson Jacob

Heather and Andy bought me some beautiful, fresh flowers for the Thanksgiving family meal. I had been wanting some flowers lately, but didn’t buy myself any. They didn’t know that, but God did! What a sweet surprise.

The beautiful flowers that Heather & Andy bought me
The beautiful flowers that Heather & Andy bought me

 

Orange lily, rose & other beautiful flowers
Orange lily, rose & other beautiful flowers

I’m so grateful that all our family was together this year. The food was delicious, but God and family are what really matter.

“I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.”–Psalm 9:1, NIV

How did you celebrate your Thanksgiving? Leave your comments below.

Thanksgiving napkins
Thanksgiving napkins
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Our 25th silver wedding anniversary & home purchase party

Ray & me at our party
Ray & me at our party

Ray and I recently had our 25th “silver” wedding anniversary and bought our home. I wanted to celebrate with our children, grandchildren, and a few friends who prayed for us to buy the house.  God answered my prayer and our 3 beautiful daughters were there. Our grandchildren being there were the cherry on top, and I believe it is what God wanted, displaying His glory of what He has done for us. 

Table set for party
Table set for party

I was so happy to have our three beautiful daughters and four precious grandchildren (with one on the way) at the party. This made my whole day and filled me with joy.

“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” – Isaiah 55:12, ESV

Our family, from front to back, L to R: our grandson Jacob, granddaughters Annabelle & Violet, our daughter Leah, Our daughter Heather, granddaughter Piper, me, Ray, daughter Eden, Ray's parents Charles & Sue Jones
Our family, from front to back, L to R: our grandson Jacob, granddaughters Annabelle & Violet, our daughter Leah, Our daughter Heather, granddaughter Piper, me, Ray, daughter Eden, Ray’s parents Charles & Sue Jones

 

Since the party was on Mother’s Day, I gave our daughters a hand-written, floral note card and little yellow roses inside a teacup that reads, “Live, laugh, love” to tell them how much I love them and thank them for the honor of being their mom. I’ll post more about Mother’s Day and the gifts they gave me in a separate post.

Me giving our daughters their yellow roses & card
Me giving our daughters their yellow roses & cards
Pretty yellow roses I gave our daughters
Pretty yellow roses I gave our daughters

Ray’s dad and his stepmom Sue Jones drove in from N. Little Rock, Arkansas for the party and to visit us. We enjoyed their stay.  I’m not so sure his dad enjoyed it as much, as he was busy fixing things around our house, like installing an electrical plug by Ray’s work bench in the basement (he’s a licensed electrician) and helping Ray reattach the evaporator to the furnace, which had fallen off last week suddenly (this was quite a job!). Sue blessed me so much with encouraging words to minister to my heart. 

Ray's stepmom Sue & his dad Charles Jones at party
Ray’s stepmom Sue & his dad Charles Jones at party

I bought wedding bells, silver and aqua decorations at Dollar General for our “silver” 25th wedding anniversary. I thought they were really pretty. I still have the original cake couple topper in white and red that was on our wedding cake, and set that out, too. 

cake topper
cake topper
wedding bells
wedding bells
silver plates
silver plates
silver and aqua napkins
silver and aqua napkins

I also set these out as decorations, too, on the bar at the party:

  • my wedding album and original wedding guest book;
  • the blue roses carried by one of my bridesmaids;
  • my black garter (now faded black and purple);
  • the 7 silver, one-dollar coins a friend gave us as a wedding gift;
  • a gorgeous sunset-colored rose I received at church on Mother’s Day with the other women from the pastor;
  • a white candle and anointing oil from Jerusalem, Israel, that Ray’s friend sent us as a house-warming gift;
  • and the Mother’s Day gift Ray gave me, an “Our Home” picture.

I asked our guests to sign the original wedding guest book, and said that if Jesus tarries, guests can sign it again at our 50th anniversary! (Grace, God!) I also bought bubble wands for our grandkids to play with at the party. 

Wedding album, guest book, rose & Our Home picture
Wedding album, guest book, rose & Our Home picture
The rose I received at church for Mother’s Day
Ray's gift to me on Mother's Day
Ray’s gift to me on Mother’s Day

The “Our Home” picture reads:

“God chose this very house for us, to be our special home. A place that we can fill with love and call our very own. This house will hold our memories, our laughter and our tears, and it will be a place that’s safe to talk about our fears. And so we pray that God will make this house into a home, and we will give our praise to Him, Our Cornerstone.”

Our children bought us beautiful cards and gifts: a card on papyrus paper about the hummingbird, a large flip flop picture, white candle with a shell, and shell picture for my ocean-theme bathroom upstairs. The papyrus paper card was very pretty and unique!

I love the flip flop and shell pictures and candle; they went perfectly with my bathroom colors! The pic reads, “Life is always better in flip flops.” Amen! Although I love high heels (which I wore to this party), I am a sneakers and flip flop, beach kind of gal!

Papyrus paper card
Papyrus paper card
Flip flop pic that our children gave us
Flip flop pic that our children gave us

 

shell picture
shell picture
Shell candle
Shell candle

My in-laws bought us a beautiful silver and purple card with money inside and a lovely glass 25th wedding anniversary picture frame with a picture of Ray and me when we were by the Sea of Galilee on our Israel trip several years ago.

silver purple card
silver purple card
silver anniversary picture frame; Ray & me in Israel
silver anniversary picture frame; Ray & me in Israel

Our friends Dan and Liz bought us a really pretty silver card  with red hearts (I love hearts!), with an Olive Garden gift card inside it. OG – yum! Ray and I will have to go on a date soon! 

silver card
silver card with red hearts

All of these were very thoughtful gifts and I loved them!

Here’s some pics of us with our guests:

Piper feeding her mom Eden at party, haha
Piper feeding her mom Eden at party, haha
Jacob at partry
IOur grandson Jacob at party
Ray with our friend Dan Zacharias
Ray with our friend Dan Zacharias
Our friend Liz Zacharias with Ray's stepmom Sue Jones
Our friend Liz Zacharias with Ray’s stepmom Sue Jones
Dan getting food, me making sure all is ready, Ray
Dan getting food, me making sure all is ready, Ray
Our daughter Eden talking as usual, lol, Ray, our granddaughter Piper handing Ray his pushup handles
Our daughter Eden talking as usual, lol, Ray, our granddaughter Piper handing Ray his pushup handles
Ray holding our granddaughter Piper--precious!
Ray holding our granddaughter Piper–precious!
Us singing happy birthday to our granddaughter Violet & friend Dan
Us singing happy birthday to our granddaughter Violet & friend Dan
Violet opening her birthday gifts
Violet opening her birthday gifts: a pretty summer dress, an anklet & toe rings, and daisy flower hair bands
Violet not knowing what an anklet is, lol
Violet not knowing what an anklet is, lol
Violet in her dress
Violet in her dress
My friend Liz opening a gift from me at the party
My friend Liz opening a gift from me at the party: a decorative box & pretty necklace
Our tall granddaughter Annabelle (standing) and our 3 daughters with Piper
Our tall granddaughter Annabelle (standing) and our 3 daughters with Piper
Our 3 beautiful daughters with their yellow roses in the teacup I gave them
Our 3 beautiful daughters with their yellow roses in the teacup I gave them
Me giving Ray his gift - sterling silver cuff links
Me giving Ray his gift – sterling silver cuff links
Me & Ray opening gifts at the party
Me & Ray opening gifts at the party
Me & Ray - 25 year silver wedding anniversary & home purchase party
Me & Ray – 25 year silver wedding anniversary & home purchase party
Ray & me and our 3 beautiful daughters, Heather, Leah & Eden (and Piper, our granddaughter)
Ray & me and our 3 beautiful daughters, Heather, Leah & Eden (and Piper, our granddaughter)
Our family
Our family: I’m so thankful they all were there! Thank you, Jesus!
The party cake with a silver border & purple flowers. It reads, "25 years & a home. This is God!"
The party cake with a silver border & purple flowers. It reads, “25 years & a home. This is God!”

The cake says it all. It’s been a long, hard journey. But by God’s grace and mercy, Ray and I are still together, married 25 years, and we are now home-owners. This truly was the work and miracles of God!

*******
You can read about our very difficult marriage in my book on our marriage, Stained Glass & Marriage: Reflections of Light & Hope by an Imperfect Wife, at Amazon that is on sale now for just 99 cents, by clicking here:

 

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We bought a house! Praise the Lord!

Our new home!
Our new home!

About nine years ago, we moved to the tiny, rural town of Butler, Missouri (which means it’s out in the sticks!); I always say not willingly, but ONLY because my husband Ray got a great job there as a paramedic at Bates County Memorial Hospital. We wanted a house located close to Ray’s work, so we wouldn’t have to fight Missouri’s winter snow and ice driving him to work (we have one car and I usually take him to work).

Initially we lived in a small, brick rental home, and then moved to a larger house in Butler, that was built in 1960 and the landlord who bought it inexpensively remodeled it beautifully. As soon as I saw the ad in the paper to rent the house, something in my spirit leaped.

Couple leaping
Couple leaping

When I met the landlord to go look at the house, and she told me that she flips houses for a living, as soon as my feet stepped inside the back door, I sensed that God wanted to bless Ray and me with this home to buy it, for us to improve it a little, and then us flip it, too, for a profit after several years.  I just felt that the house was mine.

Ray and I knew from the start of signing the year-long lease that our landlord intended to sell the house at some point. She had worked hard on remodeling it and she preferred to sell it to us, because she knew we loved the house, especially me, and that we’d take care of it.

The house is my personal taste and style, with the original wood floors stripped and polished, arched Spanish-style doorways, a sunroom like many homes in Florida have, and many other nice features. 

Image resource: https://katjacoby.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/this-week-is-national-pay-your-bills-week/
Image resource: https://katjacoby.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/this-week-is-national-pay-your-bills-week/

Ray and I have had a LOT of financial struggles during the 25 years of our marriage, including a home foreclosure, filing bankruptcy, and bills going into collection agencies (such as Ray’s medical bills), because we were living hand to mouth, just trying to survive and pay the basics each week.  Because of all this, Ray’s credit score wasn’t high, which is usually necessary to buy a home. 

Marines in war
Marines in war

When our landlord decided to sell the house after we’d lived there the first year, she offered it to us first since she knew I really liked the house. Ray served over 14 years in the Marines military, and wanted a VA (Veterans Administration) loan, because they don’t require any down payment.  He applied several places, but was turned down due to his credit score.  The VA usually requires a minimum credit score of  620.

Ray immediately began working to improve his credit score. We prayed and asked our family and our friends to pray for God’s favor and a miracle to buy this house.  

Our landlord generously allowed us to sign another year’s lease as Ray rebuilt his credit.  It took longer than expected, and then she allowed us to sign another year’s lease while God worked behind the scenes on our behalf! This is God’s FAVOR!

“”For he who finds me finds life And obtains favor from the LORD.”–Proverbs 8:35

The landlord also added a rail to the steps outside the house, which the VA required, and made repairs (paying for them  herself), including a new roof, hiring plumbers to fix a major plumbing issue, repainting,  and other expensive improvements to the home.

When God speaks, it shall be

Two of my friends gave me prophecies that we were going to buy the house, as well as people I didn’t even know—prophetic vessels of God’s on Periscope. When God speaks, it shall be. 

“So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” –Isaiah 55:11, AKJV

Ray applied for a VA loan and his application was again turned down. He said it looked like we’d have to move, which we both dreaded as we have moved a lot in our marriage and own a lot of stuff! I began searching the papers for a new rental house, but wondered about the prophecies. Like Mary the mother of Jesus, I pondered these things in my heart. (Luke 2:19) Had all those people simply missed it and given a false prophecy?

Then one morning in town, I met a woman at the post office as we waited in line, and admired her beautiful silver bracelet. She said her daughter bought it for her from Tiffany & Co. It turned out that she was a realtor, who knew a lender. This turned out to be a Divine appointment and the lender had a VA lender contact, who made it possible for us to buy this house! Look at God go!

Our house: God did it!
Our house; God did it!
Back door & sunroom
Back door & sunroom
Detached garage
Detached garage
Pink azaleas blooming in our yard
Pink azaleas blooming in our yard

You can see pics of the INSIDE of the house by clicking here. I have made some changes to the decor and furniture since I wrote that blog post. 

I’d told Ray that a VA loan would involve a lot of red tape, and I was right. He was about to pull out his hair from all the paper work he had to keep filling out and the information he had to get in order to process the loan. At times it still seemed “iffy,” but I continued to stand on God’s word. While I struggle with faith in the area of our children and grandchildren, I did have FAITH that we were going to buy this house, and at times I had to encourage Ray to BELIEVE and TRUST GOD!

My friend Stephanie Carter, one of the women who prophesied we’d buy the house, encouraged me to do something as an act of faith that the house was our own, so I planted wildflower seeds outside with Ray as we waited to hear for the response about the loan.

“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” –Hebrews 11:6, NASB

Stephanie urged me and Ray to ONLY speak words of faith over this house and the loan, and go to the four corners of the land, praying silently over it as the people of Israel did at Jericho before the final victory. (Joshua 6) She said tell everyone I knew that this house was ours, even strangers, lol. I did all this, and I dropped the communion elements of bread and wine at each of the four corners. (Matthew 26:17-30)

I also buried a mustard seed which was inside a heart charm for a necklace of mine, at my friend Shelley Valasek’s encouragement, right beside the wildflowers. (Matthew 17:20)

Here’s a picture of me planting the seeds, and Ray and I holding a green stone that says “Faith” on it that I found at the Dollar General store. 

me planting wildflower seeds
me planting wildflower seeds
Ray & me Holding our "faith" stone, as we wait for final approval of the VA loan for the home we're buying this year
Ray & me holding our “faith” stone, as we wait for final approval of the VA loan for the home we’re buying this year

Here is Ray in the picture below, signing the papers with the attorney and our landlord at the attorney’s office. 

God gave us favor to not need a down payment, AND our landlord even paid all the closing costs! Praise JESUS!

Ray signing papers at the house closing
Ray signing papers at the house closing
Landlord signing papers at house closing
Landlord signing papers at house closing

After the papers were signed, Ray and I went out to lunch to celebrate at Olive Garden! All the glory and praise goes to Jesus Christ! This is a miracle, with our financial problems in the past and Ray’s previous credit score. God did it, halleluah!

Ray & me toasting at OG
Ray & me toasting at OG
Ray's green apple Sangria
Ray’s green apple Sangria
Me with Italian Moscato red wine
Me with Italian Moscato red wine
OG bread sticks and salad
OG bread sticks and salad

I’m so happy to tell you that we are now proud home-owners! Ray and I prayed over the house, the land, our marriage, our children, our grandchildren when we bought this house, breaking any curses over it and asking God to bless us and our home.

Me & Ray at 25th "silver" wedding anniversary & home purchase party
Me & Ray at 25th “silver” wedding anniversary & home purchase party

We had our 25th “silver” wedding anniversary and home purchase party on Mother’s Day 2017, which I’ll share about in another blog post. Thank you to all who prayed for us to buy this house; it wouldn’t have happened without YOUR prayers!

GOD DID IT! PRAISE THE LORD!

What are you believing God for in your life? What miracle do you need? Leave your comments below.

Are you needing more faith? Read my book on praying in faith at Amazon by clicking here. 

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