Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights.
June: Jim graduated seminary! What a huge accomplishment, Jim has a Master of Divinity, after 6 long years of intense studying, endless papers, learning Greek, vacations that always included course work, and through adopting 5 children he was able to complete this wonderful degree. I am so proud of him and how he has grown during this time. His faith is deeper, knowledge is greater, and love for God stronger. He will also be auditing a class in Philadelphia this fall under the teachings of Rev. Kent Hughes. We were also able to take a wonderful trip to KY in June, the kids stayed with my parents while Jim and I attended an ECFA conference for pastors in California, one of our favorite places to visit. It was a wonderful time of rest and relaxation that was much needed. We also celebrated our one year of ministry at Christ Church! It has been an amazing year and we really feel at home in Beaver Springs.
July: Camping with friends at their cabin, (well, Jim and the boys camped, while the girls enjoyed indoor camping and plumbing). After a long, hot summer day filled with doctor and dentist appointments I went through the Starbucks drive through and received a free Frappachino due to the long wait. You may be thinking, Mel, really? And my response is absolutely! Anyone with 5 kids in the summer knows how long those summer days can be and how important caffeine can be. I appreciate all of life's blessings no matter how big or little. That same week I received at $25 gift card to target photo because they didn't have my order when I went to pick it up. Again, a big deal as we are on tight budget and I was able to buy Jim's bday present with the gift card. The kids worked very hard at having a garage sale this year and they did amazing! It was a joy to watch them connect with each other during that time. Derly, Estefania, and Ryan all went to Camp Orchard Hill this summer. They had a great time and it is such a blessing that it is Church sponsored. Camp costs nearly $400 per child nowadays which we would not be able to afford. At the end of July we had VBS at church and I was able to lead the preschool age kids with a wonderful friend of mine, what a joyous time teaching kids about the love of Jesus. Birthdays are always a blessing, another year to celebrate the lives we have been given. Summer Birthdays: Jhon-14 in May, Prospero-6 in July, Ryan-9 in August, and Jim-36 in August.
August: Back to school backpack program where each child received a free backpack and large amount of school supplies. This was a big blessing for our big family. Finding $3 paint at Lowes to paint the kids rooms. For the first time ever I have been able to paint and it adds such joy and warmth to a room. Jim's mom moves into a more handicap friendly home this week! She has been waiting a year, struggling with stairs after Parkinson's dx last year. We also had the chance to visit the Atlantic Ocean for the first time with the kids this month! The kids loved it and we had a very nice family vacation. It was probably one of my favorite vacations, I loved seeing the joy on their faces when they were swimming in the ocean. We were also able to visit our wonderful "Colombia" friends in Connecticut. On the way home we had a tire blow out and were seconds away from losing the whole tire. We had to sit on the shoulder of a very busy freeway while Jim called many tow trucks, none of which could come under 2hrs. It was too dangerous to change the tire on the road, finally after calling the PD a tow truck and shuttle arrived within 5 min. God kept us safe during the blow out and while cars and trucks were zooming by us.
I look back on this summer and am thankful for the blessings we have received:
-Evenings BBQing with friends
-countless hours on the trampoline (best investment ever)
-free swimming pool in McClure where Prospero mastered the diving board and was always the smallest kid in line
- library reading program that helped the kids want to read this summer and they received rewards = free meal at Applebees and free books
-multiple clothing donations for our large family-always appreciated
-new friends I have made this year and visits from MN friends
-letters/cards of encouragement I receive
-finding Colombian restaurants to keep our children's heritage alive
-free childcare from friends so Jim and I can date
-family spending time with our kids and helping watch them for us
-prayer warriors who ask me often what I need prayer for
- being a stay at home mom and watching my children grow up....
The list continues as I know there are many other blessings that we have experienced that I may be unaware of. I am grateful for each one and encourage you to count your blessings often.