Friday, March 20, 2020

Life Update // Job Loss, Neighborhood Gas Leak, and Pandemic - YET There is HOPE!

Hello, sweet readers and cherished friends.  It's been quite a while since we chatted.  A lot has been going on, so what better time than in quarantine to share a little update and hopefully offer some encouragement to you too! ;)

Pre-Pandemic Trials

February was to be a big month for my husband Jason.  He was to celebrate his 20th anniversary with the company he started working for when we were newlyweds.  It was a milestone month that we expected to be a wonderful one.  However, it took a turn we would have never anticipated.  Just a week before this anniversary all of the employees nationwide were informed that the company would be undergoing a complete restructuring which would result in the dismissal of many employees.  All changes were to be made by February 14th.  Happy Valentine's Day, right?

While we prepared for this possibility, in all honesty I was 99.999% certain that my husband's job was secure.  Not only because of his years of hard work and award winning excellence on the job, but additionally a couple years back his branch cut two out of three of the employees in his position.  Jason was now the only one in this important role left at their location.  Surely they needed him.  Surely he was safe.  Surely we had nothing to be concerned about.  Yet, we learned just one week after his milestone anniversary there, that life does not always go as we have planned.

On the morning of February 12th, a morning that seemed like any other, our life would completely change.  Jason got a visit from human resources and before long he was returning home with a box.  This big cardboard box reflected twenty years of his life - a mix of framed awards (meaningless trophies, as he called them) and keepsakes that our daughters had given him over the years which he'd proudly displayed in his former office.

We had mapped out our entire future with the assumption that he would continue to remain with this employer until retirement.  Our world was turned upside down, yet we took great comfort in the words of Proverbs 16:9, "The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps."  The notes in my study bible for this verse expound upon that, "Sovereign God overrules the plans of men to fulfill His purposes."  Our life taking what was an unexpected turn is difficult and has led to complete uncertainty as to what our future is going to look like - where and when he'll find work, what our budget will look like, and so on, yet it is also the best thing imaginable for our lives.  The God who created us and cares for us has a plan for where we are headed.  It may be unclear to us now, but I'm assured by Romans 8:28, "..we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."  How could I ask for anything more?  

Jason has spent the past five weeks job hunting, which has become increasingly more difficult as most companies aren't likely looking to hire new employees in this time.  Businesses are simply trying to stay afloat.  While having the sole breadwinner of our family out of work is much less than ideal, times like this (when it's made abundantly clear that we are not in control) bring about the opportunity to more fully understand and deeply appreciate that God is the One who supplies all our needs.  This trial has brought about further and more complete reliance upon our God.  Drawing closer to the God who created us, cares for us, and is forever faithful and trustworthy is a gift.  We will grow from and through this in ways that we wouldn't had we not lived through this trial.  Each passing day I'm increasingly more grateful for the true and lasting hope we have in our Savior!  No matter what other unexpected events are to come.....

What Would You Grab in 60 Seconds to Home Evacuation?

A few weeks ago we had an urgent knock on our door.  The night before my oldest daughter and I had enjoyed our traditional February 29th viewing of "Leap Year".  In it the question is posed, "Your house is on fire and you have just sixty seconds to grab what you want.  What would it be?"  We were about to find out our answer firsthand on this particular Sunday afternoon.  Someone from our local energy company was on our doorstep to ask our family to get out of and away from our home immediately.  The home of a neighbor a couple doors down from us was filling with gas.  We exited in a dash passing firetrucks as they entered our block.  So, when asked to leave our home a.s.a.p. with the threat of a nearby fire or explosion, what did we grab?  Each other.  Over the years my husband and I have talked about what we'd grab in the event of a fire.  We always mentioned photos and keepsakes, but when faced with an emergency exit we grabbed nothing.  Not knowing what we'd come back to when we returned to our block, I still had no regrets.  Instead my heart was full knowing that when it came down to that minute all I wanted to "keep safe" was my family.  One day, whether from illness or old age, we will all come to a minute when we will leave this life and every "thing" behind.  I was happy to know that my "stuff" didn't matter that much to me when it came down to it!  Furthermore, I'm happy to report that within a couple hours our block was clear and everyone remained safe and sound.


As for this pandemic, we are all in this together, aren't we?  These are unprecedented days of our lives.  There's a lot of uncertainty and an abundance of scary news to be read.  I'd like to recommend some Good News to read today - God's Word.  Pick up your Bible (or Bible app) and read the book of John.  Learn about the Savior whose resurrection we will celebrate next month.  Read about why He came, the news of eternal hope!  Looking for something to watch while self-quarantining?  If you've got Amazon Prime I recommend an excellent, true-t0-the-Word, representation The Gospel of John.

The Gospel of John can be streamed for free via Amazon Prime.  Not a Prime member?  You can rent it in SD for .99 cents or in HD for $1.99 (a download to stream film without having to leave your home).

Whether you prefer to cozy up with a soft blanket and read God's Word or grab a snack and click on this excellent movie dramatization, I highly encourage you to take a breather from the headlines of the hour and fix your thoughts on the only One who can bring you peace in this life and assurance about where you'll spend the eternity to come.

Sending a BIG virtual hug your way!  So thankful you stopped by the blog today!  Stay safe, dear ones!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Trip Repot Tuesday // Days 16 & 17 | Georgia Aquarium and Returning Home

Welcome to the finale of this edition of my Trip Report Tuesday series!  Today I'll give you a pictorial tour of the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta and share a snippet of our final day on the road homeward.  

Day 16 - Saturday, September 15, 2018

My husband loves aquariums, so working one of the world's largest aquariums into our road trip along the drive home was a must!

I loved this architectural view as we made our way there.

Georgia Aquarium

The big draw for us to visit the Georgia Aquarium was having the opportunity to see these massive whale sharks.  Seeing them in person did not disappoint!  It left me in complete awe of our mighty Creator!  We serve such an incredible and creative God!

They didn't allow photography or video recording during the Dolphin Celebration show.  It was an incredible show!  If you make it out to the Georgia Aquarium, be sure to check it out.

After a fun few hours at the aquarium we drove through the city and grabbed something quick for lunch.

We spotted our one of our firstborn's favorites, Panda Express, and picked up some yumminess to go.

On the road again...

Our last night of the trip we stayed at a Drury Inn.  We expected it to be basically the same room we'd had the night before, yet in another city.  However, Jason surprised us with a suite which gave us a little more space to spread out.  He's so thoughtful!

We love taking advantage of the free snacks when we stay at a Drury Inn.  Complimentary popcorn and drinks? Yes, please!

These pics don't do the best job at showing you the room, but it had a nice large living space where we relaxed a bit before making the final drive home.

If you've been around here for a while, you probably know we love Thai food!  We are always up for trying some well rated spots when visiting new cities.  On this evening we grabbed some from Thai-D.

My go-to Thai dish is a spicy chicken pad thai and egg rolls.

Day 17 - Sunday, September 16, 2018

Sunday we completed the drive home. 

I didn't take too many pics on this final drive, just a couple snapshots while passing through St. Louis. 

Cheers to shakes near our last gas station stop.

And just like that, we were back home sweet home!  We knew we'd be arriving home later in the evening and would likely be hungry by that point.  So, we decided to end our trip the exact same way we began it, with a stop at one of our favorite local pizzerias. 

We all changed into comfy pjs, put on a Disney channel show, and enjoyed one last "vacation mode" meal before sleeping soundly in our own beds!

Thanks so much for taking the time to read about our trip!  If you'd care to read previous posts recapping this vacation (or others) you can find direct links to each day in the Disney World & Disneyland Trip Reports tab at the top of the blog.  

I am officially on a blogging hiatus as we head off on this year's family vacation!  Destination: California!

I will likely return before year's end with Christmas greetings and I plan to share more trip report fun in the year to come!  Please be sure to subscribe (via the links below) and/or follow along on Instagram so you'll know when I'm back to blogging. :)  Thanks for being such awesome readers!  I sure do appreciate you!

Join me in the adventures to come!
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