Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Little Time To Reminisce

Today, we were privileged to attend the 90th anniversary of the construction of Pleasant Hill Bible Church in Summerville, PA.  This church was built by Rob's great grandparents among other family members.  I remember Rob's grandparents (Maw and Paw) talking so sweetly about their beloved church.  When Rob and I decided to get married, I said that I wanted a really small wedding (if someone put me into a big ol' gown, I'd go kicking and screaming down the aisle - LOL).  Rob mentioned this church and took me for a ride past it.  The moment I saw it, I knew that this was where I wanted to get married.  We went to Maw and Paw and asked them if they would see if it would be ok with the rest of the deacons of the church for us to get married there.  They were so excited that we considered their little church for our wedding.  I was excited to intertwine the beginning of our life together with something that was so near and dear to them.

Picture this:

The area is about as rural as you can get, where the roads are still dirt and the air smells of local farms.  The steeple juts out from the treetops.  It is the only church for miles.  Envision a one room schoolhouse and then put a steeple on the front.  As you walk in, there are eight pews on each side, rich red carpet stretched over the altar area.  The wood so finely finished.  A piano sits to the left of the pulpit and a place for a very small choir to sit behind the pulpit.   No air conditioning, just the flap of old fashioned hand fans murmur throughout the place.  The hymn board shows the numbers of the tunes that will be sung that morning from the hymnals that are secure in a cubby in the pew in front of you.  Voices ring out with the old fashioned tunes.  Instantly, you feel as though you have been transported back in time to the early 1930's.

Everything about today's celebration was intensely nostalgic.  This place holds so many memories for so many people.  As Rob and I looked around at the smiling faces, we could not help but feel a tinge of sadness at the reality that in 10 years, not only will we have aged, but the chances are likely that most of those faces will be but pictures on the memory wall.  I thought about what the pastor said in his sermon this morning on Hebrews 11.  "It is by FAITH, that our dear loved ones built this church, it is by FAITH, that the vision they saw for ministering to this small community would come to reality, it is by FAITH that those who are now angels are looking down on this day smiling and rejoicing at the accomplishments of the last 90 years."

God tells us that "FAITH is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not yet seen".

I look at the picture of our sweet little family that was weaved together by our great God as we stood in FAITH that HE would be the author of our lives, and I am overjoyed that He is in control of every aspect of them.  I can't help but have faith that Maw and Paw are smiling and rejoicing in heaven today as we, their grandchildren and great-grandchildren celebrated the legacy they left us.

What a wonderful day this is.

THIS is the day the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Special Mother's Day

I sat in tears as I looked up at Rob and said "Not this month".  We had been struggling with infertility for our entire marriage and after 4 years of not even using any type of birth control, we were still not pregnant.  Deep down I knew the medical issues we had and the words from the doctor's like "impossible", "no hope", and the words I clung to on a monthly basis "a miracle is your only chance". 

This Mother's Day, I have been looking back at the "Miracles" that God has done in our life regarding children.  At the same time, my heart is crying for the woman who is sitting in tears, looking at her husband and saying yet one more time "Not this month". 

This woman is the one who goes unseen as the flowers are passed around at church on Mother's Day.  She is the one who does everything she can to place a smile on her lips while her heart slowly breaks into smaller pieces yet one more year without a child.  She is the woman who suffers in silence while caring for the children of those who seemingly look at each other and get pregnant.  She is the woman who trusts, as Hannah did in the Bible, that God would provide the miracle of pregnancy.

I felt so strongly about this woman today, since I was her years ago.  I can still feel the sting of the infertility and the monthly struggle to trust that God would not allow us to be barren.  Today, I want to share my infertility journey in the hopes that other women feeling this pain will find some solace in the fact that you are not alone and you are understood!!!

I was positively convinced that God was going to give us the miracle of me getting pregnant.  I was, you could say, obsessed, with counting days and buying test kits and just trying to control the situation (as if I had any control).  Looking back, I can absolutely see my codependency at an all time high as I tried to help God in the process of making babies. 

Rob's major health issues are the root cause of our infertility.  I would say the words that it didn't matter to me, yet my actions were such that any person with a brain could tell that it mattered.  I just wanted a baby and I was willing to do anything and everything to have that happen.  Poor Rob, I can only imagine the helplessness I know he felt at the time.  It is no wonder he started to distance himself from me.  I was a little bit of a "hot mess". 

We finally sat down and discussed the fact that pregnancy was just not happening after 4 years of "trying".  Rob shared his heart in the fact that he felt horrible that he could not provide me with my heart's desire of being a Mommy.  He then brought up the fact that he knew I wanted to some day adopt and that maybe we should look into this.  I, quite frankly, felt defeated.  I just wanted to crawl in a hole and die because I could not understand why God was allowing all of these people around us to get pregnant and not us.  I conceded to the fact that Rob was probably right, although, I held onto hope that God would still grant us His miracle.

So I contacted the local Children and Youth Agency and started the paperwork to start the adoption process.  It was summer of 2003 when we put in our "order" for the child we would like to adopt:
Our "order" was something like this:
1. The child must be no older than 2
2.  Race did not matter (pink with blue polka dots for all I cared)
3.  Must not have major medical needs as we were not equipped to handle this.

***It's funny as I type this in retrospect.....God surely must have been just shaking his head at us and chuckling. 

Fast forward to September 23, 2003.  I was in my car on my lunch break, just reading my Bible and journaling when I felt the need to read and contemplate on the book of Job.  It was such a strong feeling that I HAD to meditate on this book that I just immediately started praying and asking God to protect my Dad for I was afraid that God was planning to take him away from us.  Little did I know that this was going to be the start of a journey that only God's perfect plan can take one on.

I went in from my car and spent the last 10 minutes of my break in the back room when one of my coworkers came back and said, "Um, Ninee, you really want to take this call".  My heart dropped to my feet thinking it was my Mom, but low and behold, it was our caseworker.  She called and asked if we had a crib.  It took me a moment to register what she was saying and when it finally did, I just simply went numb.  There was a 2 month old baby that they had taken into custody and we were going to pick her up from the hospital the next day!!  The caseworker told us that she is 99% yours because there was sufficient proof that she had shaken baby syndrome and that there was NO WAY that the judge was going to give her back to the biological parents.  We were told to name her what we wanted to name her and that we should just consider her to be ours.

We were so naive......

We decided to name her Helena Marie after my Bubby and my and Rob's Grandma's.  We transformed our home overnight to accomodate baby Helena. The caseworker picked us up the next morning to take us to meet our daughter and bring her home from the hospital.  For those of you who really know me know that when I say I was silent the whole way to Pittsburgh Children's Hospital, you know that I was not being myself.  I had this surreal feeling that life was about to change more than just with a baby entering it.

We got to the hospital and Rob immediately melted when he saw little Helena.  I, well, I couldn't even bring myself to go to the side of her crib.  I just wanted to cry (and not happy tears).  Rob finally coaxed me over and said "Honey, come hold our daughter".  I had my arms crossed and looked right at him and said "But, Rob, that is NOT our daughter"!  I continued to go through the motions as we transitioned baby Helena to our home.  I only remember the revolving door of visitors coming in and out to see our new baby.  My parents had come and I remember just thinking "please don't hold her and fall in love with her because our hearts are going to be broken".  I suffered with these thoughts in silence over the next 3 days.  On day 3, the caseworker came to the house with a bag of goods from the birth family and it was then that I knew Helena was not going to stay.  I came right out and asked the caseworker and she confirmed that the trial had to take place the next day and that I needed to be there with the baby.  At that moment, my heart broke into a million little pieces and I was not sure that even God could put it back together.

I called Rob to tell him the news.  He and I made the decision to have her moved to another home that cares for children for one night before their trials.  The caseworker promised if the judge did not give the baby back to the birth family, that she would bring her right back to us.  At 10am the next morning, I received the call that the judge gave her back to the birth family.  Part of me died that day. 

I did not know how to go on.  I distanced myself from Rob in my grief.  I poured myself into the website of just looking for children who had parental rights terminated and were free for adoption.  We put our profile in for 56 children.  Not one were to be ours.

In July of 2004, after moving to a different county, we decided to finally go on a honeymoon.  After almost a year of rejection and no child to call our own, it was time to move on.  So, we put money down on a cruise on a Monday.  It was a relief for us as we truly gave up our will to have a child and relented to the fact that we needed to pour ourselves into each other.  That Friday, I received a phone call from a caseworker who had known what happened in the previous county and she said "Janine, we have a child for you and Rob if you are interested in getting licensed in this county.  He is 5 years old and he has a little speech problem.  His rights will be terminated in February, at which point we will start the adoption process."

At that very moment I felt like I was in a Warner Brothers cartoon and some one just dropped an anvil on my head :-)

I could not wait to call Rob.  He was elated and the fact that it was a BOY was even more exciting for both of us.  So the following Monday, we went in to meet this 5 year old boy and let me tell you the joy in my heart as the first thought that came to my mind was "Rob, he looks like you".  Something deep within me awoke and I knew that God intended for this boy to be ours.  It was a long road, but we made it and 11 months after Christian came to live with us, his adoption was finalized.  We took the caseworkers out to lunch that day and at lunch they said "Hey, call us on Monday, we have another child for you if you are interested.  He's 2 and absolutely adorable." Ryan came to live with us 2 months later and his adoption was finalized in September of 2005.

God had plans that did not fall into our idea of what having children would look like, but His plans are greater than ours.  Our story just got started with the on.

We were asked if we would be willing to take Ryan's unborn sibling when he/she was born.  There it was, God giving the desires of our hearts, or was He?  We began to pray and there was that tug and that still small voice reaching out.  I remember the night well.  I was sitting at 3am in my Bubby's chair with her Bible wide open and asking God what He intended for us to do.  I knew in my heart that the baby would have a home.  We, however, had been building a relationship with Christian's biological sister, Crystal and that tug on my heart was that we should bring her home.  I was VERY apprehensive with this since I was only 28 years old and she was 13.  Yet, in my conversation with God, He was very clear when I opened my Bubby's Bible to the passage in Isaiah that read "Here am I, send me".  An overwhelming peace came over me and I knew that this was the direction we were to go.  About 9 months later, the judge finalized Crystal's permanency in our home. 

We have had our ups and downs as a family that has been weaved together by our Lord Himself, but I would not trade it (well, ok, there are some moments I would trade and some seasons in life in which I would like a do-over). 

I share this story as hope for that woman who will sit in her home tomorrow, or quietly by in church as the flowers are passed out to all of the Mothers'.  God has plans that you may never see coming and I want you to know that I am praying specifically for your heart this weekend as you endure the "festivities" with a brave face.  I have a special love for you and will continue to pray for God's will to occur within your lives.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Let's Talk About Germs......

Let's talk about germs...........
Since Rob Haines was hospitalized, I've had a lot of questions about how this could happen and what can be done to prevent this from happening.  So I thought I would give a little "germ education".  If you already know these things, I, in no way am trying to tell you something you already know, but I do hope that you might bring some awareness to those that may not know.
Rob is immunosuppressed meaning he basically has no immune system.  So when you get what you think is a "little cold", your body can fight it off, but Rob's does not have enough "fighters" in his system to combat a "little cold".  In turn, that little cold can turn into pneumonia, bacterial infections, hospitalization(like last week).
Here is what we must do to protect Rob,
1.  Please do not be offended if we do not shake hands in church.  We're not saying that  you are unsanitary, you just may have shaken someone else's hand that coughed and used that hand to cover their mouth, thus passing on the "virus" or "bug". 
2.  If we plan to visit or you visit our home, we may ask if you or anyone in your home have had a "bug" recently (like in the past 3 - 4 weeks).  Remember that gestations for different "bugs" will vary and this time frame is fairly safe for a immune suppressed person.
3.  If you do visit our home, we may ask that you sanitize your hands when you come in.  This is just a healthy precaution.
4.  We may decline invitations to parties or events, especially during flu/cold season, because germs LOVE close quarters where they can be passed from person to person. 
Here are some things you can do:
1.  If you are sick, do not go to church, get together's, public places (unless absolutely necessary). 
2.  If you cough, cough into your elbow, not your hands.  When you blow your nose, sanitize immediately after.
You may think, "Oh, it's just a "little bug" ", but remember, that you may be able to fight that bug, BUT there are some people out there that the "little bug" could actually be life threatening.
Please know I am not preaching, I have just been asked MANY times about this topic, so I thought I would post.
Healthy New Year to you all!!!

Saturday, November 3, 2012



It has been well over a year since I last wrote.  I have great reason for that.  I have been on a journey that I never dreamed I would be on.  Places that I never imagined God would want to use me in.  I have been in RECOVERY.  I have spent the last year and few months behind closed doors with my Jesus, discovering who I am in HIM.  I had the privilege of sharing my testimony at our Celebrate Recovery this past Thursday.  I will warn that some of this testimony may be information you may already know, but I want to portray this "story" in its entirety.  I feel led to share my story here, as well, because my story is not mine, but God's.  His story of faithfulness in storms, love beyond measure, and beauty amidst the ashes......

Let's talk about islands.....
When I picture an island, I picture the cartoon version with a mound of sand and one solitary palm tree.  I find myself on this island more than I would care to be.  A lot of times it is because of my life experiences and circumstances that I am lead there.

The first island I found myself on was when I was a child.  I was adopted as an infant into a very loving home.  My parents were the best parents a girl could ask for.  They told my brother and I how special we were because we were adopted.

When I became school aged, I quickly learned that not every child was adopted.  I was alone on that island.  Although I was told over and over again how wanted and special I was, I could not shake the feeling that I was not good enough.  No one seemed to be able to relate to me, so at a very young age, I learned to turn to God because He HAD to understand the shear emptiness I felt at being given away. 

It's funny how that one mind set that I was "not good enough" would set the stage for my life.

So here I sit on the island of "Not Good Enough".... What else was I to do, but push that feeling away from me and persevere?  I pulled out my perseverance card every morning, just to make it through the day.  I would work so hard to prove that I was good enough.  I got good grades in school, I was good at sports, I practiced very hard on the piano (had no talent, but I practiced).  I became "Miss Goody Two Shoes".  I was VERY conscious of right and wrong and did everything in my power to always do right so as not to disappoint anyone in my life be it Mom, Dad, Teachers, Friends...etc.  I failed miserably, yet I still fought for right in my mind.  Because of this drive of not wanting to disappoint anyone, I would only allow people to get to know me at the surface level.

This led me to the next island of "I can do it on my own".  On this island, I would allow people to see me from a distance, but I would never allow them to see the depth of me. I made it through high school by flying below the radar for the most part.  Oh, I had the typical teenage dramas, but for the most part, I went unnoticed.  I was always ready to move on to the next step in life because that next step had to not be located on an island.

Along came college.....This is where my independence would be challenged beyond anything I would have ever imagined. 

All through life I felt that my parents had sheltered me too much.  It wasn't until much later that I realized that my self worth and thoughts of "I'm not good enough" were the truth to my sheltering.

My first week at college, my roommate talked me into going to a frat party.  Now I was the girl who was president of "Students Against Alcohol and Drugs" and the girl who ALWAYS did what I could to do right and as little wrong as possible....BUT...... I went

That night caused my world to shift on its axis.  That night unleashed the "wrong" I fought so hard to avoid all of my life.  That night caused me to let the "Not Good Enough" take control.....

I met a guy that was completely wrong for me.  He had issues much like mine, but neither of us were able to recognize that.  I fell into all of the temptation I swore I would never do.  I did everything to prove to him that I was good enough and that I was worth something.

Two years later, the relationship ended and I found myself back on the island of "Not Good Enough".  only this time, I brought some friends in the form of worldly temptations to where my island got very crowded with all of the wrong things and yet I still felt alone.

One day, I woke up and realized that my God whom I have known all of my life, but just placed in the trunk of my car was still there.  I was so desperate to have Him back that I went to the local church pastor who helped me to come off of the island of all the wrong things. 

I moved on with my life having a new focus of finishing my degree and moving on to the next step in life.....but what was that step??? God was still tucked away in the trunk of my car and I certainly wasn't focused on Him.  So I did the only thing I knew to do at that time.....

I went to the bar.

And that is where I met Rob.  He was the bartender and I was the "drunk college girl"....but that night I had something happen that shook me to the depth of my being.

A slow song came on and Rob slapped his hands on the bar and stared so deep into my eyes that I was sure he could see every ugly detail of the horrible person I was.  It was as if he unlocked the door to my being.  Of course, his only intent was to ask me to dance :-).  But that lock being broken was a "next step" I didn't see coming.

Rob and I had a whirlwind romance and 9 months after we met, we found ourselves at the altar.

That was the next step....Right????

One week after our wedding, I pulled God out of my trunk and dedicated my life to Him.  He was now driving my car, however, the bridge is quite long off of the island of "Not Good Enough", which is where I still lived.

Rob was diagnosed with diabetes when he was 16 years old.  I was convinced that I could love him healthy.  I wanted to do everything I could to take care of him.  Just like when I was young, I wanted everyone around us to see that I was a good wife and doing everything I could to take care of him.

I buried myself into his medical issues.  I would call all of the best doctors, do research about new medicines among many other things.  I poured so much of myself into his "condition' that I ignored what God designed a marriage to be.

Rob's condition only worsened over the years.  We knew that we would not be able to bear our own children, so we looked into adoption.  I always wanted to provide for a child the same gift I was granted in a loving family.  We ended up adopting 3 beautiful children within 18 months ranging in ages at the time of 3 - 15.

I felt whole being a Mom and a caretaker to Rob.  But that "whole feeling" was short lived and had many valleys amidst the peaks.  I was on top of the world while taking care of Rob or the kids, but I still kept even them at the surface level.  I wanted them to only see the "good Mom" or "good Wife".

These peaks and valleys continued for many years until I became only what people saw on the outside.

A caretaker; A wife; A Corporate Sales Advisor; A provider; A daughter; A sibling....I could go on and on.

Last year, after Rob had his leg amputated and we were falling into our new "normal", I was approached by someone after church one day who said "You always look so put together".  I smiled and thanked them, but what they didn't know is that their comment stirred so deep inside me and sparked a journey I didn't see coming.

I started to thinking "WOW!, I've really fooled people into thinking I've got it all together".  I never wanted to fool people, but it happened.  I was hiding my hurts behind my Sunday best.  For me, I felt like a dead plant that I just kept putting pretty bows on to cover up the hurts.

So as I stirred over this comment for a couple of months,  I slowly found myself withdrawing and becoming angry, bitter , and resentful.  Not only toward those around me whom I felt were causing my pain, but also toward God.

I attended the Women of Faith conference in hopes of finding amends with God and then hopefully with those around me.  I did come home from the conference a changed woman, however, I was nowhere near being healed of my anger, resentment and bitterness.  I did know peace at that point and I knew then that God was about to take me on another journey.

Our marriage had taken a toll over the years as we struggled with role reversal due to Rob's medical issues among various other hurts, habits, and hangups within the marriage.  Rob and I dealt with things very differently and we found ourselves struggling to just co-exist especially when his health was good.  In crisis, we have always functioned best as our adrenaline would keep us going and we always seem to seek God in a more rigorous way.  Then in the "normal" life, we did not know how to just be a good husband and wife.

During all of this, God had plans for me that I couldn't even see.  He had placed a woman in my path that had been praying for a true friend.  I was so busy on my island caught up in my many identities that the thought of a friend never crossed my mind.  Never mind the fact that if I let someone onto this island with me, they would see the dead plant below the pretty bows.

God, however, used our sons being best friends to bring us together.

She mentioned to me that Celebrate Recovery was having a step study.  I had heard of it before, but was apprehensive because I wasn't "one of those people".  I liked my island of "I can do it on my own".....or so I thought.  She suggested we go together.  I just told her I would think about it.

That week as I was getting ready for work, I looked in the mirror and had no idea who the woman was staring back at me.  i was lost in so many identities that I knew at that moment if I did not find me within this mess, that devastation would come not only to me, but also to my family.

So....I reluctantly agreed to go to the step study.  My new friend and I decided to ride together for accountability every week.  The study was so individualized.  The questions allowed me to seek God's guidance to peel back the layers of caretaker, wife, mom, corporate sales advisor, codependent, enabler, and rescuer (of all things puppies, kittens, kids, and husbands)....

And beneath it all, I found JANINE. 

I found myself opening up in ways that I never imagined I could or would.  These women in the group were (and still are) faithful in praying for me and I have now become faithful in praying for them as well.

I am here now a year later and I can tell you with absolute confidence that I know the woman who smiles back in the mirror.  I know who I am in Christ and who He has created me to be.  I never dreamed the path God would have me on, but I would not change one thing about it.  I know that this "plant" is blooming and firmly rooted in God's Word - no more bows needed to hide the pain, just a pair of shears in my Savior's hands that He can prune me as I need it.

I encourage you to take steps to dig deep within yourself to unleash what God has in store for you DESPITE what hurts, hangups and habits you face.

I know that this was long and I thank you for bearing with me as God's story of my life unfolds.  I hope you recognize His story in your life :-)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

"Normal" is just a setting on the dryer

First, thank you, Dawn Chute for allowing me to steal your Grandma's saying.

I was looking at a friends wedding album this morning and I found myself in tears. Tears of joy because she is such a sweet girl and so deserving of as much happiness as life can give her. I also had some tears in there as I was thinking of our wedding, although years ago. We never would have dreamed that we would be where we are today. Proof in itself that we are ultimately not in control of our lives.

God sets our "Normal". He knows when we need to tumble dry on high and when we just need to be on the fluff setting. I am so thankful that we have been tumbled and fluffed to be where we are in our "normal" today. Neither Rob nor I would change the things that have occurred in our lives. We are much better people despite those things.

We met a 76 year old man and his sweet wife at the hospital in Pittsburgh yesterday. He is battling the same BK virus that Rob is. As we talked, we found that age is just a number. This man was such an inspiration to us without even knowing it. He is such a kid at heart, just like Rob. He is into snowmobiling, just like Rob. In these two men (Rob and the older gentlman), there is such life and happiness. Life is not taken for granted because they have been granted life......Wow...I think I have to repeat that to myself to let it sink in....


But that same thing is true for all of us. We have been granted LIFE through Jesus. No one else died for you or I, but HIM.

I've kind of rattled on this morning, but I knew that God was prodding me to teach me and I, again am amazed at how He has used "normal" life to do it.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Whatever It Takes

Rob was asked to give a one minute testimony at church this morning. As he was contemplating what to say, we were reminded of life pre-amputation....

....We were struggling in our marriage with selfishness on both sides. We would both admit that happiness seemed like a distant memory. I was struggling with work. Rob was struggling with the forced role reversal of having to stay at home and "take care of the house". We were very close to calling it quits. I know that it may seem surprising to read this, but it is so much a part of who we were and where we were and who we are now.

We had been going to marriage counseling to work through these issues. We are both of the mindset that we want this to work, we just needed a little boost and someone else to get us headed in the right direction. The counselor at one point challenged us to be praying together, which we did start to do. We then sat down one night and prayed this short, but powerful prayer and more importantly than praying it...WE MEANT IT:

" Father God, we are tired of trying to be in control. We ask that you do WHATEVER IT TAKES to help us to yield our lives to you and serve you the way that You intend."

I journal and we prayed that on April 18th. On April 19th, we found out that amputation will be the possible option for the issues with Rob's foot. It didn't dawn on us until asked to give the testimony, that we asked God for Whatever it takes! God not only answered our prayer, but blessed us overwhelmingly with His joy and peace for the upcoming life change. We finally took the focus off of ourselves and we started focusing on what God wants us to do for His glory! How blessed we are to be the instruments He uses.

We will both tell you that neither one of us would ever go back to Rob having two legs. We have never been so close to God or one another. This amputation has saved our marriage, our relationship with our Lord and most importantly it has saved us from the damaging effects of our selfishness. Praise God for answering our prayers and doing WHATEVER IT TAKES!

Friday, May 27, 2011

What A Privilege It Is To Serve Our Great God

Ever since God smacked me up side the head and said "Janine...this is your mission field" (Giant Eagle checkout counter; Waiting room in hospital; Nurses caring for Rob...etc...) I have been asking God to show me His opportunities each day.

What a privilege it was to serve Him today......

Today was the boys last day of school and they went on a field trip to Waldameer. It also happens to be Ryan's 8th birthday :-) so there was a lot of excitement in the house. So this morning, Rob was trying to transfer himself from the wheelchair to the couch and his sock slipped on our hardwood floors and down he went right on his stump...OUCH!!! Praise God, he fell on the day we were to go to the surgeon for a follow up visit! So off we went to Greenville to see the doctor. Praise God Again...NO DAMAGE was done!

Rob was feeling rather spry after the surgeon so we went to the bank so he could do some banking business. He even accompanied me to a couple of appointments for work (he stayed in the car while I did my thing).

Then we went to WalMart to shop for Ryan's birthday presents. I am so proud of my husband for tackling this mountain of going out in public with one leg for the first time!!! We had a great time shopping for Ry. Then it was time to pick out the card.....

Here is where God set up an appointment for us!!!

I was digging through the graduation cards while Rob was looking for a birthday card for Ryan. This woman just kept standing back and glancing at the graduation cards. I finally finished and had my 4 cards and apologized that I kept getting in her way. She said "No problem, I've enjoyed the banter between you and your husband" (we were laughing at the dog cards...she even laughed along with us).

She then made a statement that they only had one card for Military graduation. She was carrying a flag and I told her to check the mall because Hallmark should have a better selection. I then asked who was graduating and she said her son. I said, "well congratulations! And please tell him that this family from home says 'Thank you, for fighting for our freedom' " At this point, she started to cry. I knew at that very second that God made this appointment!!! I hugged her right there in the middle of the card aisle. She said that she is frightened as any parent would be, but that he is so happy. So I asked what her son's name was and what her name was and I said that we would pray for them. She started to cry again and I just said...."Wait a second, we are going to pray RIGHT NOW!!!" So there I was hugging Miss Patty O'Neil and praying for comfort and peace that only our Great God can provide. I prayed for a hedge of protection around her son, Sean.


This is what we are called to do...not just recognize, but act upon His will for us even in the card aisle at WalMart!!!