To read the story of our precious Harlynn Renae, start here and follow the "next" links at the end of each post. Thank you for coming and sharing with us in this journey.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Lately, I have been swamped. Busy? Yes, absolutely. Aren't I always busy? But that's not what I mean today. When I say the word "swamped" - I mean I have been inundated with/by water. Swamped.

We live in Fargo. Perhaps you've heard about us lately on the news.....and our epic flood? We're running a little short on gopher wood!! The Red River (which is nowhere close to red, by the way, more murky ugly brown) swelled right on up to a record 40.82 feet. Let me tell you the significance of this. Flood stage of the Red begins at 18 feet. Major flooding begins around 30 feet. The river rose to 40.82 feet. Every time they announced how high the river had risen, I would just get a knot in my stomach. The river broke a record....but will it break a levee? Will it break the hearts of more people as it claims their homes? Who knows with the 15 - 20 inches of snow we've received since the river rose. So far things are staying mildly frozen...but when it thaws....Water Water Everywhere!

I will tell you this, though. Never in my life have I seen people - complete strangers - band together for a good cause, like I saw the residents of ND and MN band together to save homes and lives from the rising waters of the Red River. Never in my life have I seen such servant hood and such sacrifice. Never in my life have I been so proud to live in Fargo. To live in North Dakota. The state I swore once upon a time I would never reside in. To all the volunteers, to all the leaders, to all the people who joined with us to save our are amazing, and THANK YOU for the valiant effort you displayed. Kudos to the people who still understand what being a good Samaritan is all about!! The river is falling.....slowly. We're cautiously optimistic we will be back to normal by...oh...June? Water Water Everywhere!!

Our basement, which we have problems with every spring, decided even though we are a few miles from the river, it wanted in on the saturation action. Our walls sprung a few leaks, and several - and I mean several gallons of water in the shop-vac later, we're now without half of our carpet and calling for outside experts to come charge of thousands of dollars to fix our problem. This is by far the worst water problem we've had in our basement to date, and it's high time to fix it. I can't live through the disappointment and the stress of another wet spring and summer. And to all you homeowners out there - if I ever find out you didn't disclose water issues to the people you sold your house to....I will come after you and wallop a big thump on your head. I refuse to pass this pain on to someone else, and I wish the previous owner of this house had the same conviction to follow the letter of the law and disclose water problems to us. At least let us know what we're up against! I digress. We have to fix our basement, and we're working on finding that solution. I'm pretty sure the only way we can afford it is if I sell one of my kidneys and every ounce of my plasma, but we'll get it taken care of. Water Water Everywhere!!

My husband is presently up in our kitchen replacing our kitchen faucet. I just love it when he becomes my handyman hubby. Rawr. :o) But yet here we have this little device that we so grossly take for granted. Our "diverter" as the plumber phrased it, was not working. So we had no water pressure in our faucet. We had all the water pressure in the world in our sink sprayer, but we couldn't use it because the spray handle would get stuck and everything and everyone in the kitchen would end up wet. So Brent is now putting in our new Moen faucet - where the faucet is also the sprayer. Genius!! Water Water Everywhere!

So I have been swamped. Literally. Figuratively. Swamped. And hallelujah for it. Why? "He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters." ~ Psalm 18:16
"Whoever believes in me, as the scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." ~ John 7:38

Praise Jesus, that I might have water, water, everywhere!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

That's Life.

You will get sick of me referencing this over the lifetime of this blog. I do not apologize, though! This is the one thing that has really stuck with me from my teenage years. My best friend's dad sat across from me in their living room once and gave me the most profound pep talk I've ever had. "That's Life." I'll tell you more about it shortly.

Last week I was feeling very burdened about our finances. This is usually the case because I rarely feel secure when it comes to money. I pay our bills, balance our checkbook, buy our groceries, and I always feel tense about all of it. I have a hard time telling people "no" when they ask me to dine out with them, or go somewhere, etc. I rarely enjoy it fully because I'm always worried about the bill. I prayed a very lengthy prayer last week that God would just provide me with some stability and peace about our finances, and that we would be able to manage and be responsible with our spending. I went to bed trying my hardest to put my faith to the forefront of my mind. God has never let me down. Granted, I may have to suffer and sacrifice, and I need to be okay with that. But I've never been forsaken or abandoned. So why is it that when it comes to money issues, I think it will be a different story?

The very next morning I asked Brent, "Did you get the mail yesterday?" "No." I walked to the front door, pried it open and dangled my hand inside the mailbox. It was packed. Bills. More bills. Fliers. Invitations. Sales papers. Bills. I saw one from our mortgage company and immediately my heart sank. Last year at this same time we got a letter from them explaining they had under-estimated our escrow payments and our house payment was going up $250 a month. I opened the letter slowly, wondering if I could live on ramen noodles after this latest increase....

"We have over-estimated your escrow payments, and your house payment will reduce by $130 per month." Wh....wha?! I looked down at the bottom, and there was a check to reimburse us for the additional money we had paid previously. Are you serious?! I know this is hard to believe, but I got a little teary-eyed. I did, I got a little emotional over this piece of mail. It wasn't a piece of mail - it was an answer to prayer I was physically holding in my hand.

The week before, we were invited to lunch with some friends from church. We were in a Bible study with this couple once upon a time, and it was some time to reconnect with them. They treated us to lunch, which Brent and I both thought was so very kind. Before lunch was over, the husband leaned forward to tell us that for Christmas, he and his family had decided instead of gifts, they were going to give money to people instead. We had popped in to his mind. He handed us $50. Again, I know you don't believe me, I started crying. Immediately. At the table.

It never ceases to amaze me how God not only hears my prayers, but answers them before I even ask. This is not the first time this has happened. I know it won't be the last, either.

I put money in our emergency fund. I thought of all the prayers I've prayed about being secure financially, and all the answers that have developed. I couldn't stop smiling.

This morning, I woke up like any other day. I walked downstairs and turned the tub on to warm the water before starting a shower. The water got colder and colder and colder. I shut the tub off. I turned on the sink. Frigid water.

I threw a towel around my indecent self and walked in to the office where Brent was sitting doing some work on the computer. "Brent, we have no hot water."

Brent was upset. I was too, but Brent was really disappointed. Imagine expecting your wife to get ready for work as usual, when she comes in to the office with wicked bed-head, and no sweet-after-shower-smell. And to top that off, there is no hot water. Yuck! We had to call a plumber and he will be here sometime within the next three to six hours. :o) But you know what? I have money in my emergency fund (thank you Dave Ramsey) to pay for it. I could even buy the plumber lunch. It's just a water heater that needs a little TLC. There's no leak, there's no explosion, there's no burst pipes. We'll be okay.

Ten years ago I sat in the living room of Roger and Carol. My best friend's parents who saw more of me than they cared to, I'm sure! This night in particular Roger sat across from me and listened to me tell about a hardship I was experiencing. Let me tell you a little about Roger. Roger is a law enforcement officer for the county I resided in. Serious business. One time we were having a birthday party for a friend of ours, and Roger came out to the residence in his patrol car with his lights on. He spotlighted me and told me over his loudspeaker to put my hands up. I locked my fingers behind my head and shook my tush. "Oh you are under arrest, girl, that is one of the worst crimes I've ever seen." said Roger. I thought I had a nice tush-shake, but maybe not. Roger was -is- the silliest, and yet so down-to-earth dad. He is a hoot! He's always ready with a joke or a hug, depending on what the situation calls for. (And I was not really under arrest, by the way.)

Ten years ago I sat on his sofa and after he listened to me whine he said, "That's life, Val." I kind of nodded like, "Thanks for not caring." The last thing I needed was another adult to tell me how insignificant my problems were. He then continued. "You know what Life is? It's a magazine. You know how much it costs? Two fifty. I only have two dollars. But that's Life."

I don't know what or why or who or when or how....but at that moment, it all clicked. I got it. That's Life.

I have no hot water today. I can't shower, wash my dishes, or do most of my laundry. That's Life.

I also have a God who hears my prayers, who answers them even though I am so undeserving, and who cares for me more than he cares for the birds of the air, or the flowers of the field. (See Matthew 6) I have a God who takes care of me in all my times of need. He sends me a life lesson through a friend's dad. He sends me a plumber when I have no hot water. He sends me money to pay my bills. He gives me a husband who treats me unbelievably well. And on and on and on the blessings roll in.

And still I worry about things. I shouldn't. You know why?

That's Life.