Friday, July 7, 2023

The Holy Trinity of Updates- Part Three: Blessings Through Hardship

Blessings are only sometimes seen once you've been through the rough stuff. It's like a geode; You don't see the good until you crack them open to see what wonders are in store.

God was readying my wings for flight, but I wasn't ready to fly yet. Just a month before my raise and benefits would come, maybe wait until the end of the year, after the holidays, or even Spring, when the farmers markets would open. I could then quit and help with the bakery as I established myself as a fabric artist...

God had other ideas.

I was let go last week. I was shell-shocked. Within fifteen minutes, my life plans changed, and I was driving home in tears.

When bad things happen, I tend to spiral down into a depressive misery that takes weeks to recover from. I was finding it hard to breathe as I drove home, but the Spirit in me started to speak, and I decided to listen this time.

You were already thinking of quitting. You wanted to establish the bakery and work from home as a sewist. Isn't this an opportunity in disguise?

I realized with surprise that it was. So why was I crying to the point of not breathing?

Because someone else decided when I would stop working. I was not given time to adjust. I was my family's primary source of income and had yet to establish my business.

I was still trying to control my environment instead of letting God handle things.

So I pulled over, calmed myself, and started talking to God. Not a prayer per see, but telling Him I would let go and trust Him in all things, including being newly unemployed.

He provided before. He could provide again. Duh. Why do I keep forgetting that? And I thought the Israelites were forgetful...sheesh!

I still had bouts of tears on the way home, but there was also relief. I could spend time with my family again. I could start sewing what I wanted and write what I wanted. When I returned to blogging, I realized I was a week shy of a year since my last post. Yikes!

But what about the money? Yes, we would need it, and I still don't know where it will come from. I got my last paycheck today, but beyond that, I have no idea. Usually, I start obsessing immediately about money when hardship happens. This time it took almost a week before I began to spiral, but instead of remaining in silent misery as usual, I decided to call a family meeting and share what was happening in my head. 

I needed prayer and reassurance to keep me from shutting down into a depressive state.

As I confessed my worries, they assured me this was a blessing in disguise and things would be okay. I was encouraged to continue sewing, and we'd pray and let God tell us what to do concerning the bakery.

Then my husband started playing on his phone, or so I thought.

At first, I was annoyed (no phones during discussions, please!), but he showed me a listing for a home-based double oven. And after asking about it, they offered a flat-top stovetop as well. We rushed all over the house, gathering all the loose change, raiding our wallets and the donation jar for baked goods he's been testing on the locals for the past few weeks. 

After counting up everything, we not only had enough, we had three dollars left over without touching the bank account. (I traded the coins at the local store for bills- I wasn't paying them with all that change and singles!)

They were ninety minutes away, and we zipped off in the truck to bring home our bakery booty. We told them about our bakery, and they were happy to hear their renovation benefited us.

Something weird happened next.

I did something I never did. I moved my husbands' hand truck out of the way. He did something he never does. He forgot to put it in the truck. In fact, he felt God prompting him to get out of there as fast as possible. So we did.

We were almost all the way home before he realized he left the hand truck behind. I confessed to moving it, and when we had a signal (there's no internet in the mountains), we found the family had tried to contact us in every way possible to tell us about the forgotten hand truck.

But something else was weird. The time stamp on the messages was only minutes after we left their house. We had an internet connection for forty-five minutes before we lost signal. So why didn't anything get through?

We arranged a time for me to go get it on the fifth since the next day was the fourth of July (my daughter and husband were working the fifth), so I made the solo drive, mad at myself for moving the darn thing in the first place, but glad to be able to bring them a sample of our baking as a thank-you.

As I pulled up, I was greeted by the kids, that squealed with delight as I brought out the cake box. Before I could hand it off to the mom, she stuffed something in my hand before I could let go of the box, telling me it was for the cake.

The cake she didn't know I was bringing.

It was money. She said she was refunding me for the stovetop because they wanted to support us in our bakery adventure. Before I could reply, she also asked if I was interested in a venting hood for the stovetop.

Gobsmacked, I blurted out that yes, I'd be interested. She told me they ordered a new one, but it arrived dented, and the company told her to keep it- they'll send a replacement. So she offered it to me. I accepted and offered to give her back the refunded money for it. She refused.

I was expecting their old one (since they were renovating), but when she mentioned the new one with a dent, I said the thing could look like Quasimodo for all I cared, as long as it worked! We both laughed, and she brought it out so I could put it in my trunk.

It's a good thing that one of the kids remembered to bring out the hand truck- I'd almost forgotten it again!

After loading up and waving to Mom and the kiddos, I drove home, resisting the urge to call my husband at work to tell him the great news. I started singing hymns all the way back home. Let him open the trunk when I arrive and be surprised!

Now we know why God told my husband to leave right away! It also explains why we could only communicate with them once we got home. Isn't God amazing?

I'm still not sure how long it will be until we can work as a cottage bakery, but we're definitely on our blessed way!

How has God worked in your life that seemed terrible initially but became a blessing? Tell me about it in the comments!

The Holy Trinity of Updates- Part Two: Open, Closed, and Hidden Doors

It's hard to know which doors are opportunities and which doors should be shut, locked, and have a HAZMAT label. That's why we need to trust God in all things.

In my last post, it seemed like life was kicking me to the curb. But there were blessings between all the bad stuff; this post will reveal them.

We were sixteen weeks without internet. If we were any younger, this would've been a disaster, but it was more of an inconvenience- like losing our favorite tool. We could deal without it if we had to, and sometimes we had a lot of fun!

There was no TV, so we watched DVDs and played card and board games instead. We talked with neighbors and got to know them. We had a landline, so if people needed to speak to us, they could. Once a day, we'd drive a few miles to find a connection and text our correspondence, and once a week, we'd go into town with our laptops to access things not on our phones.

I wound up closing my Etsy store almost immediately after opening it, simply because I couldn't fill orders daily. I didn't want my customers to wait a week or more for me to respond to their requests.

So I found a job.

During the job search, we started having engine issues with the van. We discovered a recall on our van engine, but they refused to replace it, stating we were the second owners, not the original buyers. We only had the 2016 Kia Sedona for a year and a half, but they wouldn't budge.

Then my husband hit a deer, and though there was a lot of body damage, we could still drive it. We put in an insurance claim and asked about the recall issue. They would get back to us.

A week before my new job started, the van engine died. Little did I know this was a blessing in disguise!

Local friends helped me to get back on the road via borrowed vehicles, and I was able to get to and from work for the first few weeks. 

We could not afford another vehicle and ran out of cars to borrow. We made a request to our internet friends, and one of my writing buddies had a 2000 Toyota Camry she was willing to give us if we wanted it.

Woohoo! We went on a two-day trip and came home with a great car. We returned the borrowed vehicle with many thanks and some home-baked goodies. We gave everyone who helped us home-baked goodies. That's how we roll!

In the meantime, the insurance company sent an inspector for the dead van, and they decided to total the vehicle. When we came home, there was a surprise check in the mailbox! 

We got my husband a 2000 Chevy Silverado truck with the money. We not only had two vehicles now, but because they are older models, he can do all the basic repairs and care for them!

And because we have two vehicles, he found a local job that desperately needed his skills. God provided! 

Why am I always surprised about that?

With both jobs, we could stay current with the bills and get what we needed to do some much-needed test baking. Unfortunately, I had to put my sewing business aside, but I was steadfast in my prayers for a way to work from home via the bakery and my side hustles of sewing and writing.

Honestly, I was still going back and forth between writing or sewing as my primary business, and I believe He used the job to help me figure things out.

I hoped for a regular forty-hour week, but the hours were so irregular I had no idea when I'd be home. I could leave anywhere from two hours early to two hours late, making it hard on the family since I was still trying to intermittent fast and eat dinner with them. But when the hours started going into the fifties and sixties, I gave up fasting because I was getting dizzy and would often wake up on the other side of the road on the way home from work.

I stopped losing weight but managed to maintain most of my loss. But that's for a different post on my weight loss blog.

The job was also a time of tempering. I hadn't worked a full-time job since starting my family over twenty years ago, and though I did work, it mainly was self-employment as a contractor (Uber, Lyft, Medical delivery, etc.). This was a new ball of wax, and I had trouble adjusting initially.

I had a fantastic boss. She was patient and willing to answer any questions and talk to me about work etiquette. She was bilingual and would teach me Spanish, while I would teach her a bit more English than she already knew. The workers would let me practice talking with them and correct me if I got something wrong. 

It also tempered my muscles. Sewing twelve hours a day on a fifty-five-year-old body takes its toll, and I went through several packs of Bio-Freeze pads before I stopped aching. My sewing skills also improved, as well as my speed. Though I admit, those industrial machines did spoil me. I especially loved the auto thread-cutting feature!

Eventually, I got into the swing of things and adjusted to the feast-or-famine hours, though I started feeling like God was trying to strengthen my flight muscles for my fledgling leap into the world of self-employment. 

I was faster and better than I used to be, and I was confident I could sew for twelve hours at a time if I had to. I also learned to be flexible with my time and adjust to interruptions- two things I've always struggled with.

But where did God want me? What was He setting me up to do?

That and more in the next post!

I hope this encourages you that He has a plan no matter your struggles, even if we don't know His end game. Keep praying without ceasing- He hears you!

The Holy Trinity of Updates- Part One: When the Devil Wears Cleats

You know you're going in the right direction when Satan jumps on you with both feet- in cleats.

In our case, it started with an involuntary sixteen weeks off-grid. Yes, you read that correctly. Sixteen weeks without internet. There's only one provider here (so far), and they decided they didn't need to fix or provide services until we called the FCC.

I was starting an online business. Was. With no internet, I couldn't maintain a store on Etsy, so I had to look for work. I found a job as a sewing machine operator. Little did I know this job would become my life for nearly a year.

A week before the job started, our only vehicle died.

Local friends helped me to get back on the road via borrowed vehicles, and I was able to get to and from work for the first few weeks.

The job itself had its shortcomings, including irregular hours. I was either asked to sacrifice hours and have very short weeks, and other times I was working so much overtime all I could do was wake up, go to work, come home, eat, and sleep. Some days my family only saw me for fifteen minutes before I had to fall into bed, sore and exhausted.

The drive was an hour and ten minutes one way, so at the end of the week, I spent nearly twelve hours on the road. When you add fifty to sixty-hour work weeks, that time adds up! I often had to call friends for as long as the signal lasted to stay awake on the road home.

We finally entered the slow season two weeks ago, where we were asked to sacrifice hours again. I was glad because the busy season lasted a whopping five months, and I was ready for a break. Next month would be a year at the job, and I would qualify for a raise and benefits, including vacation pay.

Last week, they called me into the office and let me go.

If I left it at that, you'd think I'd be depressed. I'm not. I just told you all the bad stuff because these things happen for a reason, and though we don't always know what that reason is (in fact, God can be pretty tight-lipped most of the time), we need to remain faithful because His plans aren't ours. In my case, I need tempering before I can be the sword He wants me to be.

He is preparing me for greatness. He's preparing you too. 

I divided this blog post into three parts, so you didn't have to read a novel-worth of text (a blog-vel?...Nah). Keep reading- it gets better!

Thursday, July 14, 2022

The Holy Trinity, Explained

For years I had trouble with the concept of God being three separate beings, yet one being. It just never made sense!

I'm an out-of-the-box thinker (possibly autistic), so I put my brain to work to understand this nearly unfathomable concept. Then, a few years ago, it hit me.


Photo by Tobias Bjørkli

Wait a second, I hear you say. What does water have to do with the Three-in-One?

Good question. And now, I can hopefully define the answer.

Water can be broken down into three separate entities yet still be what it is-water. So you have water, ice, and vapor. God is the water, Jesus is the ice, and the Holy Spirit is the vapor.

Let's break this down a bit further.


He is everywhere and in everything. Too much water and we're overwhelmed; too little and we're thirsty. No water at all, and we're dead. We need water to survive, just as we need God.


He is the physical manifestation of water-ice. It can be seen, touched, and has a presence you can feel. Ice can also be broken and crushed by us. Once shattered, it melts, goes back into its natural state (water), and can be remade into ice.

Holy Spirit:

This is vapor. It protects us from the sun (so we don't burn up), and when breathed in, it's absorbed by the body, making us a part of everything around us. Once condensed, it returns to its natural state (water, in the form of rain).

God is there whether we want Him there or not. He's all around us. First, however, we must actively breathe Him in to make Him a part of our lives.

I hope this post helps you understand God a little better. I know it helped me a great deal when He showed me this concept a few years ago. 

So breathe deeply, my friends. He is there. Always!

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Saving Snakes and Pear Trees

It's not easy being a hero.

When our pear tree lost a primary branch, our family gathered cuttings, and I'm trying to bring all nineteen of them back to life. Spiders were caught and released into the wild. The same goes for mice (if the cats failed to do their jobs), flies, ladybugs, and even stinkbugs.

But the other day was the most interesting save yet.

My daughter called out that there was a black snake ever-so-slowly crossing the road in front of our house. It came from somewhere under our house, so I have no idea where the thing was sleeping, but the weather warmed enough that it awoke and was looking for a place to warm in the sun.

Image by Storme22k from Pixabay 

The middle of the road isn't the best choice, snake-dude.

Traffic here in the boonies is sparse but not so light that a snake can sunbathe without getting hit. So my daughter, terrified of touching it, was trying to coax it across the road with a stick.

The snake wasn't having it and stayed put. It was still a bit torpid and didn't lash out, but it didn't move across the road either. So I told my daughter to just pick it up by the back of the head and near the end of the tail and carry it over before someone came down the road.

She looked at me as if I lost my snake-pickin' mind.

Now, this is a young lady that can make a bucking, twelve-hundred-pound horse follow her like a puppy in less than ten minutes (truth- I saw her do this!), but she squealed when she was required to pick up a three-foot black snake this is neither poisonous nor venomous.

At the tender age of five, this same child dropped a little white mouse into the tank of a friends' boa constrictor and giggled when the snake got the mouse. Did it matter that she was playing with the feeder mice before this? No, of course not. But sixteen years later, she decided snakes were off her 'cool and touchable' list.

Mom to the rescue!

She backed away as I approached, picked up the snack gently by the back of its head and near the end of its tail, and carried said rabid python of doom to the other side of the road.

The snake barely even reacted to me, and I forgot that snakes are all muscle. It was weird holding its body as I felt muscles flex under its leathery skin. I let it go on the other side of a small ditch next to the road, far enough away from the asphalt in hopes of deterring it from the street. 

Just in time too, because a car was coming.

As I came back across the street, my daughter, dumbfounded, gave me a high-five and exclaimed how impressed she was at my snake-handling talents. It felt so good I thought about sewing myself a little cape and playing the Superman theme.

Okay, maybe not, but it still felt pretty awesome.

Spring in the boonies has been an adventure so far. I wonder what the summer will bring?

Tuesday, March 22, 2022


Sometimes you need to pursue what you want in life. In this case, it was the deed to our home and store.

In October of last year, we were supposed to sign the papers for the property and move in. Unfortunately, there was a mix-up, so the document signing was postponed until November.

However, we'd already made plans to move on October 9th, and we couldn't get out of it because the day we were moving out, the new owners of our old home were moving in.

Luckily, our property owner said we could move in for a security deposit that would be taken off the total purchase amount of the house and store. So we agreed and moved in.

The following month, we signed the documents, and the attorney said we'd be mailed the deed as soon as it was surveyed and registered with the county.

We waited and waited. The locals warned us to not call the county because that would delay things further. So we bided our time and wondered if we would ever get our bakery up and running.

Finally! The surveyor showed up in January. Excited, I went out to speak with him. Unfortunately, the news wasn't good. He told us they were backlogged, and we wouldn't see our deed for another six to nine months.

Months. Not weeks. Not days. Months.

We had to come up with a new plan. Repairs and a few renovations were made to the home, but we had to have the deed to get the grants and loans needed to make any profound changes. The sale of our old home allowed us to pay off all debt and avoid a mortgage on the new place but didn't leave much left once the necessities were purchased. Nearly three months after the move, the money was running thin.

Our daughter got a job. However, during our employment search, we got The Virus, and after recovering, my husband badly sprained his foot. That double blow knocked us out for over two months. During that time, we did a lot of searching for ways to get the bakery started. But it all fell on the premise that we have a deed first.

My husband is a patient man, but this delay was even wearing his patience thin. My patience was almost non-existent from the start, so I kept looking for loopholes. I wanted to call the county, but my husband discouraged me due to the advice of the locals. They know how things work here, and we don't. I complied.

For about two weeks. 

My husband found a job two weeks ago. Last week, they were both working. Being unsupervised, I decided God gifted me with a big mouth and tenacious nature for a reason, and I would call the county while they were at work, thanks to a neighbor who gave me a name and number to speak to at the courthouse. 

I'm also gifted with being polite and tactful (she said humbly), so I knew better than to get on the phone and yell. All I wanted to know was how much longer we needed to wait, so I could make plans to have all our ducks in a row as soon as the ink was dry.

Unexpectedly, the county clerks were super friendly and really helpful! A fifteen-minute phone call clarified everything, and there was some surprising news. Our deed was already registered. It was recorded in early December.


Apparently, the real estate attorney in charge of sending us the deed dropped the ball. Had they sent it in December like they should have, we could've gotten a three-month jump in getting the bakery started (despite covid and his sprain).

Deep breaths, people. Deep breaths.

Sure, we could get mad and badmouth the attorney that made the error, but to be honest, we'd rather put that energy into getting the business started. Much more positive and productive!

Last week when my husband came home from work, I told him the good news and why there was a delay. The next day he stopped by the courthouse on his way home and got our deed. 


Sometimes being a big mouth pays off. 

We have a lot of work ahead because our ducks aren't in a row yet. We got distracted with things like jobs because we needed heat and food and other stuff not bakery-related, trying to keep ourselves afloat. Sigh.

The good news is we just got a mentor two weeks ago from SCORE (retired business people mentoring new business owners) who is helping organize our ducks. So now we finally can apply for the funds needed to rebuild the store into our dream bakery cafe and an advisor to help us avoid making dumb mistakes. 

I don't know about you, but I can't wait to start!

Hoofin' It

Some say living in the country is boring. I disagree. In fact, a lot more goes on around here than you think; but unlike the city, these adventures often include our four-footed friends with hooves.

Deer run rampant in the mountains and sometimes wind up on the roads. Unfortunately, many get hit, especially around dusk and dawn. That's usually when people are traveling to and from work. 

Not good for the deer, but a mixed blessing for the driver.

You see, out here in the sticks, if you hit a deer, you can take it home for meat. The upside is that you get enough meat to last a few months; however, the downside is that deer can damage your vehicle when you hit one.

Our neighbor hit a deer on the way home, tossed the five-point buck in his truck, and drove another thirty minutes to get home. He put the deer in his shed and went inside to eat dinner.
After dinner, he and his wife went into the shed to butcher the deer (yes, many people around here are farmers and butcher their own animals for food.)

No deer.

They looked down the road, and their dinner was making a run for it. Talk about fast food!

Apparently, the buck was stunned unless we have zombie deer out here. They let him go without a fuss. If he could walk away, he earned a second chance. Just stay off the roads, buddy!

A few weeks back, I missed an incident with cows, even though it happened right across the street. A cow decided to play freedom fighter and managed to escape the fence by opening the gate. No one knows if the cow unlocked it or if the gate was accidentally left unlocked, but the heifer and a few others made a break for it and took off down the road.

Luckily, they got them back before they got too far. I still can't believe I missed that!

Spring is springing, and as the weather warms, we hear new sounds all around us. Unfamiliar birds chirping, the cries of hawks and eagles, and the occasional farm animal letting farmers know they're hungry.

The other day, I was at my desk and kept hearing my phone go off. I had the phone muted, but the vibrations were on, and every few minutes, I would hear my phone vibrate. But there weren't any messages or notifications.

Frustrated, I restarted my goofy phone. Again, those low, rumbling vibration sounds, but the phone was in my hand, restarting this time. It wasn't vibrating. What gives?

It took me a minute, but then it dawned on me. That sound wasn't my phone. It was a cow.

It was a low, soft moo that sounded exactly like my muted cell phone! I called my daughter downstairs to tell her the story and listen out the window; we both had a good laugh.

Spring is coming. The crocuses are popping up, as are the daffodils. The sun is out, and on warm days, I sit outside and read a book, enjoying the fresh air and gentle breezes. Sometimes I stop reading just to listen to the birds, chickens, and the occasional moo.

I know it was a cow this time because I'd left my phone inside the house!