Looking for a needle in a haystack? For God, no problemo

Looking for a needle in a haystack? For God, no problemo

We are celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary here in Puerto Vallarta. Since we spent our honeymoon here, it seemed a fun idea to return. In twenty years, much has changed. Puerto Vallarta is a thriving city of 250,000 people. We are amazed and delighted every day that we are here by the cleanliness of the city, and the industriousness and the graciousness of the people. We were told that this is a very safe city…everyone works and no one has time for crime. That certainly seems to be the case. With the growth of the tourism industry, there are jobs for everyone. We were told minimum wage is low and workers count on tips to augment their income.

Upon arrival at the airport, we were welcomed with an offer to get some free tours and gifts if we would attend a presentation. It seemed like a good deal, so we accepted.

In the morning, someone took us to a resort destination for the presentation. We did not purchase anything that was offered, but we were treated with kindness, graciousness, and utmost respect by everyone. One of our gifts was a 4 hour fishing trip for Dan. Ernesto handled the details for us and told us he would meet us on Friday and take Dan to the boat. Since we didn’t purchase any vacation time, we wondered if Ernesto would still meet us this morning. He had told us to meet him at the OXXO minimart, but the paperwork said “El Faro”. We arrived at 7 a.m. at El Faro and couldn’t find him.  Just when we were getting concerned, we saw Ernesto coming toward us. He had guessed we might have been confused and looked for us.  I commented to Ernesto that we wondered if he would come for us. He said, “I am a man of my word.”

Dan had a good fishing trip. He was the only guest, plus the boat operator and the guide. When I met Dan afterwards, he had a sack of filleted fish and was feeling like he wished he had been able to give the gentlemen a bigger tip.  We had also wanted to tip Ernesto, but had no contact information for him.

We went to an ATM machine and got some more pesos.  Shortly thereafter, we went out for a walk around the marina and the shops, had some lunch and made our best attempts to find the fishing people and Ernesto. But not to be. No one was able to help us. As we were walking back to our resort, I commented to Dan that it would be like looking for a needle in a haystack to find Ernesto in this big city. Then I thought to myself, we have a big God. If God wants us to find Ernesto, nothing is too difficult for Him.  Within seconds of having that thought, a white pickup truck turned down a side street that we were on. I commented to Dan, “Wouldn’t that be something if that were Ernesto’s truck”. Then we saw Ernesto waving at us.  Only God!  We ran to his truck and thanked him again for his kindness and handed him some cash. We also gave him some to give to the fishing gentlemen. He seemed overwhelmed and very appreciative.

Ernesto and the fishing crew are a perfect example of how Puerto Vallartans have treated us while we have been here.  And our big God is paying attention to us wherever we are.

FYI,  Ernesto works for vidanta.com


In the Center of God’s Will

The Siskiyou Pass on Friday, January 6, 2017

My cousin is very ill.  She lives alone with her mother, my  93-year-old amazing Aunt Donna.  It is a 10-hour drive from my home in Oregon to their home in California.  My brother and I made the trip last week and helped out with our cousin’s care. My brother, Claude, did some household repairs.  But we had to return to Oregon.

Once I got home, I had a nagging concern that I needed to go back and help. But we had many details to take care of.  A big one was finalizing the details of a rental house sale, which I described in my previous blog.  How could we get all of these details taken care of and free  myself up for several weeks to return to help my cousin and aunt?  And would the weather allow another trip?  Just a few days ago, the I-5 was closed at the Siskiyou Pass due to blizzard conditions.  And here in Oregon, we were having one unusual cold spell after another.

Again, I put the details in God’s hands.  My husband gave me his blessing to return to my aunt’s home.  I knew that if we did not have our details all accomplished by Thursday, I would not be able to go.  The weather report showed bare pavement on the Siskiyou Pass for Friday, but a new storm coming in on Saturday.  Snow and freezing rain was expected in Salem and down through the I-5 corridor through the Siskiyous. I packed my bags in anticipation that the details of finalizing the house sale would somehow be completed by Thursday.  As only God can do, every detail came together, which freed me to go.

On Friday morning, I got up early and left our house at 4:20 a.m.  The temperature was below freezing, but the roads were clear.  As I drove over the Siskiyou Pass, there was fresh snow all along the sides of the road, but the pavement was bare.  The temperature on my car gauge showed -3 degrees.  I prayed that I would have no car problems since it would have been treacherous to get stranded in such weather.  Again, our Father is so good.  I had no troubles and made it to my aunt’s home by 2:00 p.m.  Today, when I called home to talk to my husband, he reported that he woke up to below freezing temperatures and several inches of fresh snow.  Freezing rain is expected to follow the snow today.  Yesterday was the only day this week that I could have safely made the drive.

The situation with my cousin has gotten more complex and my help is clearly needed. I do not know how long I will need to stay, the our Heavenly Father does.  I have an incredible peace that comes only from Him.  I know that for this season of time, this is exactly where I need to be.

Trusting God in the Details

We have been trying to sell our little rental house to our son and daughter-in-law who have been living in it for many years.  It took a couple years of trying before our daughter-in-law was successful in obtaining a loan.  But she finally did!

Then came the many hoops that she and we needed to jump through to get to the end of the process.  The inspector revealed many issues that needed repair or updating. We worked on those items and thought we were almost to the end of the details.

A few weeks ago, the lender discovered from the county that some final inspections on a garage conversion twelve years ago never happened. This was something that we were not aware of.  The general contractor who did the work is no longer in business, so we were feeling pretty stressed as to how to resolve the issue in a short time…within the timeframe given to our daughter-in-law in order to keep her loan.

We scrambled to find three contractors who would be willing to back up the work (as per county requirement) for structural, electrical, and plumbing work that they had not originally done.  In each case, the Lord provided amazing answers…three contractors who were willing to review the work and provide their CCB numbers to the county for final inspections.  In each case, we thought we had things in order and scheduled an inspector for Tuesday.   Our daughter-in-law’s lender had given her until Friday for these final details to be resolved.

With eager anticipation, I met the inspector at the site on Tuesday.  As he looked around, he cited 10 items that were not up to code; thus he would not grant any of the approvals.  As he listed each item: additional electrical outlet and ground fault breaker, steps on side exit door, drywall repair, drainpipe repair, CO detector, cut hole in floor for inspector’s observation, an authorization of work on letterhead from the plumbing company, and a few more….my stomach went into a knot.  I said to the inspector, “I need a miracle.  Can you come back tomorrow afternoon and I will see what I can do.”  He agreed to come back the following day.

I said a prayer to God and started making phone calls.  As only God can do, details began to come together.   Our electrician found time in his schedule to come out the next day.  The plumbing company sensed the need and arranged to send a plumber out the next morning.  I went to the store and purchased a CO detector and installed it that evening.  My husband and son did the sheetrock repair.  My son-in-law agreed to build the steps first thing in the morning and cut the required hole in the floor.

It seemed we had a chance to get it all done.  I went to bed, but woke up in the middle of the night stressing over each detail.  Again, I said to God, “If it is Your will, this will all come together.”   In the morning, as we prepared to head into town, my husband and I looked out the window to see several inches of fresh snow which had accumulated overnight.  We deliberated as to whether we dared to try driving down our hill to get errands done.  We went ahead on faith and carefully made it down the hill and into town.  I met the plumbing company and received the letterhead authorization.  He said he would send a plumber out at 11:00 a.m.  I headed to the house and met the plumber who took care of two plumbing details.  Thank you, God.  Then our son-in-law showed up with the supplies to build the steps.  He also cut the required hole in the floor.  Finally, the electrician showed up at 2:00 p.m. to install the outlet and breaker.

At 2:15, the electrical inspector showed up.  He said, “I see the receptacle is in place, but the ground fault breaker is not. I will come back tomorrow.”   A quick panic was replaced by a question.  “Can you wait a few more minutes and it will be done?”  Our electrician echoed with “I can do it in 10 minutes.”   The inspector waited, and promptly issued the inspection approval.  1st piece of gold.  A short while later, a second inspector arrived.  He looked things over, giving his approval to the plumbing, and printed off a second final approval. 2nd piece of gold. Meanwhile, as Jason was finishing the steps, I said, “I wonder when the structural inspector will arrive.”   I called the county to inquire.  She looked up the information and told me, “It’s already approved.”  The inspector who had issued the plumbing approval had also issued the structural approval!  Apparently, he had observed the work on the steps and considered it satisfactory and printed off the second approval, which I had not recognized.  3rd piece of gold.  Every detail was completed within 24 hours!

Our daughter-in-law quickly scanned each document and sent them to her lender. I promptly called our escrow representative and asked her if we could sign papers before Friday in order that our daughter-in-law would meet her lender’s timeline.  She told us to come in the next day.

How rare is it for that many details to come together in such a short time?  How difficult is it to find all of those vital people available to help us on out in such incredibly short notice. How grateful we for the kindness and expertise of these many genuinely caring human beings. What seemed like an impossibility, came together in perfect timing…not a minute to soon.  Nothing is too difficult for God!







Honor Your Parents

I visited my mother on Friday. She is 85 and aging beautifully. She has been a wonderful mother. I am the oldest of 7. Mom counted on me from an early age to be responsible and help out with the younger ones. Just before Mom’s 25th birthday, the twins were born, making her the proud and busy mother of 5. And I was only 5 1/2! In the evenings, Mom would play the piano while we stood around her and sang. Dad would play his accordion or harmonica. We lived on a farm and learned how to work hard. Mom was always at our school events. She made sure we all got piano lessons and did our best in school. Every evening, there was a delicious meal on the table, complete with dessert.  As the years went by, she has become my adult friend, always with a listening, non-judgmental ear.  Now, Mom is struggling with her memory. It is my turn to give back. My siblings and I are spending more time with her as her needs are becoming greater. She no longer drives, and her days can get lonely. It is a privilege to walk along side her on this journey into the winter season of her life. As I spend time with her, my heart is full of compassion for her struggle and appreciation for the whole person that she is. God, help me to honor her always, cherish my time with her, and always remember that Mom is a precious gift. I want to model what it looks like to honor your parents.

Packing for a Trip…Heaven Bound

Packing for a Trip…Heaven Bound

20160304_16342720160304_163359Our shower is leaking at the valve. Fortunately, I have a great blessing…a son-in-law who can fix anything. Jason took a good look at our shower faucet, diagnosed the problem, called the manufacturer, and explained the situation. The manufacturer quickly and generously sent out the necessary part. Only problem is that the part accidentally got sent to Jason’s old address where our son Daniel and his family currently  live. Fortunately, Daniel received the package and brought it to the Kroc Center where he gave it to my husband, Dan, who was attending a Bible study. This is where it gets interesting. Dan arrived home, but without the package. It could not be located. He looked in his car, retraced his steps, considering every possibility. This is where my fleshly reaction began to show its ugly self. I became frustrated and impatient, pressing Dan to remember where he put the package. He was also frustrated, trying to remember what he did with the package.  The preoccupation with this mystery festered throughout the day. That evening, Dan reminded me that it was time to pray. I really didn’t want to…feeling irritated with him and letting my sin nature (worldly baggage)  simmer within me. But I knew I needed to pray with him and also apologize for my attitude (eternal clothing). I struggled to ask the Holy Spirit to take over as I prayed. But God is faithful. He knew my struggle and He heard my weak prayer. I am thankful for my husband who pursues me to pray with him even when my heart is not right. This morning, I woke early and in my quiet time told myself to get a grip on this thing…just a thing…a shower valve, and get the right perspective on trusting God. In addition, last night I had asked my son, Daniel, to pray that I would find the package. At 6:30 am, I got in my car to go meet my Friday morning ladies accountability group. As I was heading down the road, my eye caught a quick glimpse of something white in the gravel on the right side of the road. As I drove past it, something nudged me to turn around and go check it out. I drove back home, got out of my car, and walked down the road to where the item was…it was the package!!!!  We concluded later that Dan must have forgotten to take it off the roof of his car. It could have landed anywhere! Why did God allow me to find it this morning? Perhaps because I layed aside my fleshly attitude and trusted in Him.  Perhaps because in Daniel’s prayer, he prayed that an eternal lesson would be learned.

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