Wednesday, September 25, 2013

College--the power of a praying roommate

This story was posted on Facebook by a friend--I reprinted here with his permission.

It is a story of random roommates and the power of prayer.

Both of my college-student kids have had random roommates as freshmen. This is so inspiring to any Christian who has prayed, only to feel like their prayers will never be answered.


With the upcoming IOWA STATE vs. IOWA game, and the stories I've been hearing about new college students and their "bad" roommate assignments, I just can't help but sharing how God used those 2 things in my life. I too had a "horrible" dorm roommate matchup 30 years ago at ISU. Yes, they put me with the most geeky, nerdy, non partying Christian on the whole floor! You couldn't have found a more opposite pair of kids on that dorm floor. Scott R. and Scott T. He wasn't who I desired in a roommate and I wasn't the roommate he had prayed for. And I know the situation was most difficult for him. He courageously even gave me a bible at one point, but my ears were deaf to God's word. We made it through one semester somehow, and then we parted ways.

I ended up in a treatment center about one year later. Coming out of there all "cleaned up", I felt a bit of remorse towards Scott R. about the way I may have treated him when we lived together. So I located him, still at ISU, and took him to the ISU vs. Iowa football game in Ames, 1985. He was appreciative of the gesture, and we parted ways again.

About 23 years later, 2008, by the grace of God, I was given the ability to believe in Jesus for Who He really is. To come to understand that our relationship with God was severed the day we were born due to the sin we inherited from Adam and Eve. That Jesus truly is God...Who came down to this a man...born of the Holy be sacrificed for the forgiveness of our sin so that we can be reconciled back to God. That Jesus is the ONLY allowable sacrifice for our sin, and that He rose from the dead back into God's presence in heaven, as an example that we can be raised Gods heavenly Kingdom!...only through a belief in Jesus!  And without Jesus, hell is the alternative.  Ok, I digressed, it's just impossible not to get caught up in the moment typing the gospel!! Oh it is sweet!! Back to the story......

Shortly after this coming to faith, I was following a 30 day prayer journal that our church put out. One of the days it asked me to write down the names of people I'm thankful for and pray for them. To my surprise, I found that Scott R.'s name was high on my list. It had been 25 years since I've had any contact whatsoever with him! Why was he on my list!!?? All I remembered was that he gave me a bible, he stood out as a CHRISTian, and I was thinking of any such people over the course of my life. 2 years went by and this still puzzled me. So....I went to Facebook to try to find him, no luck. Then I just googled to try to find him and finally found an email address that was his and we reconnected! He replied and confirmed we were roommates, was hoping all is well, and that he's "been praying for me for years". Thinking to myself, SERIOUSLY....praying??!! for "years"!!?? I could maybe imagine praying a bit for me after we parted ways, but for 25 years!!?? Well, we then talked and I let him know about how I had recently truly come to know Jesus and his name came up on my prayer journal, and that was why I was contacting him. To tell him how thankful I really am for him, the simple gesture of giving me that bible and just being a Christian presence in my life. Then about the "praying for years", he wasn't kidding, HE STILL HAD THE TICKET FROM THAT ISU vs. IOWA GAME WE WENT TO 25 YEARS AGO!!....IT'S IN HIS BIBLE AS A REMINDER TO PRAY FOR ME! Wow....was I humbled! And would you believe that about one week before I contacted Scott, he just happened to be talking to his pastor about unanswered prayers by God. And specifically like his prayer when he headed off to college and just asked God for a nice Christian roommate....why didn't that happen...he got about the opposite. Well, Scott got the answer the following week from me...God had a different plan for Scott! Scott told me he's wondered for all these years just what that first year at college was all about..."but now he knows". Scott R. was an awesome servant of God! And in God's time....he found out how.

This story is certainly not about me, but God, and how He can use any situation or person to His favor. I hope it's helpful to you. God bless, Scott t.

* Never stop praying for people.
*Never doubt your situation, and if you're not getting exact answer to prayer that you desire.
*God may be using you and you don't even know it.
*Pray feverishly for the Christians in your life that have had any bit of an impact on your Christian life.

(Go Clones! Oh....and never mind googling the score of that 1985 game. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

College--she flew from our nest

A few short weeks ago we dropped our oldest daughter off at college.

This was my Instagram post that day. It said, "She's ready to fly from my nest...we will miss her so."

Our son started college two years ago, but he is only 15 minutes away. Ellyn's college is two hours away, which isn't terribly far, but we'll see her much less than we have been accustomed to the past 18 years.

In the weeks prior to her moving, I tried not to let my mind spend much time thinking about her absence from our home. Instead, I tried to enjoy each day with her and remember that this is what we raised her to do. I am so excited for her to grow and mature in her passion for life and people.  I won't pretend that tears were not shed on multiple occasions. Her fun and fiery presence in our house is huge, and I knew all along that she would be greatly missed by our family.

We took the whole crew along to move her into her dorm room. After assembling the futon, unpacking her boxes, and getting her settled, we took her out for supper. Then it was time for the hugs, tears and goodbyes.

In these first few weeks of the semester, we have spent a lot of time keeping in touch with our phones. I am grateful for the option of hearing her voice and seeing her "selfie" as she heads off to class. She sends random pics that make me smile and feel connected with her.  It is fun to hear her excitement as she experiences college life for the first time.

Or this one that said, "I miss my pets."
She is adjusting really well, like she always does with anything new and exciting. She is making great friends and getting plugged in with a church and campus ministry. We are super proud of her!

I miss her like crazy and count down the days until I see her again, but there is no doubt--
she was born to fly!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Our driveway project

I never posted any pictures of our finished driveway project that I wrote about back in April.

Click HERE to see some of the pictures during construction.

We are absolutely thrilled with the extra space for cars. We no longer get trapped in the garage or have problems when people come to visit. It handles our family's 5 cars with no problem-o!

I am curious to see how the guys will handle the snow removal of all this extra space. (I can't help but wonder if a bigger snow blower will be necessary.) But for now, no thoughts of snowy weather!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday Five

1. A friend shared all of these huge, beautiful tomatoes. Meg and I are thrilled to have so many to use in salsa. We made some fresh salsa with the tomatoes from her little garden but plan on canning a batch using these.

2. Ryan got his school permit and drove himself to school every day this week. I am glad the school is so close, so I don't have to worry about his safety. He enjoys leaving for school when he wants, rather than waiting on everyone else to get ready.

2. Meg is a manger for the eighth grade football team. They had their first game this week. Brandon was hired as one of the referees. It was a little odd to watch a game that none of my kids were playing in. I was still entertained watching them do their jobs.

3. Ellyn is getting settled into college life. I love to hear from her and get random picture texts like this one fairly frequently:

4. I hatched my first swallowtail butterflies this summer. They are much different than monarchs, but some things about them are much the same. They have a very short life cycle like the monarch, which makes it so fun to bring them inside to observe. It is always a relief when the caterpillars get done eating and make their chrysalis. They eat a lot by the time they are this size:

Hello world...
(note the green and yellow chrysalis at the bottom of this photo)

5.  Now that school has provided some structure and routine to my days, I have been walking with a friend at a nearby county forest preserve. I don't know who enjoys it more, Mandie or myself. We had some super hot weather to walk in, but today cooled off and felt like fall. I am excited for cooler weather.

Hope you have a great weekend! It is going to be fall-like here in central Iowa!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Jackson Hole -- July 2013

continued from yesterday...

We love Jackson Hole in the summer, and the drive to Jackson and Grand Teton National Park is one of the most scenic drives in the country.  It is safe to assume that arriving in Jackson by air is just as amazing as by car.

*(Because of the breathtaking beauty, prepare yourself for an abundance of photos.)

We were looking forward to the relatively short flight from Eagle, Colorado, to Jackson, which included great views of the mountains.

As we all know, the weather plays a huge role in air travel, and a thunderstorm over Jackson messed up our plans for landing there. My wise husband/pilot determined that the black ominous clouds hovering just above the steep mountain tops were nothing to mess around with. I didn't get a picture of the scary view, because I was too busy gnawing off all of my fingernails. (I tend to be a nervous flier and those black clouds did not help my mental state.)  I breathed a big sigh of relief when he turned the plane around and headed for a small airport that was approximately a two hour drive from Jackson.

We spent a couple of hours at the airport hanging around and obsessively checking the weather to see if we could go ahead and fly into the Jackson airport. We finally determined that we should jump in a rental car and drive to Jackson rather than waste anymore daylight. As usual, the drive did not disappoint.

Sunset from the deck of Jackson Lake Lodge...

We only had a couple of days in Jackson Hole, so we tried to enjoy the area as much as possible.
We took a day hike around this beautiful lake. 
Byron and Ellyn split-off from Meg and I, and they ended up seeing a black bear along the trail. 
The bear reared up to see them and then went back to eating berries--a pretty thrilling sight when you're from Iowa.

My second shot of a grizzly bear!
(You can read about the first one from our trip in 2011 by clicking HERE.)

The famous Moulton barn at sunset. The most photographed barn in America turned 100 this summer.

The Moulton barn in the morning sun...

We had a super trip and hope to enjoy the Grand Tetons for many more years!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Hello again...from Beaver Creek Colorado

I don't think I've ever gone two months without posting! I hope a few of you are still checking in.

Regardless of my absence, I'm back with a list of posts to write about the end of our summer.

We had some fun in July and August, starting with a trip to Colorado/Wyoming with the two girls right after the July 4th weekend.  Because the hubby is flying again, we can go to two of our favorite places in the same weekend--Jackson, WY and Beaver Creek Colorado.  The two boys had plans, so Byron flew us girls out west for a long weekend.

Peace out Iowa!

The first leg of our trip was to Colorado.  We landed in Eagle.
The views from the air were fabulous. By car or by air, my eyes never tire of the Rocky Mountains.
And landing on a runway with a mountain at the end is super cool!  (That weird line is the propeller.)

Our personal pilot  :)

Beaver Creek -- beautiful in summer or winter.  The sisters love this place!

The next day we headed out for Jackson, WY and that deserves a post of its own.
(too many pictures!!!)
Check back tomorrow for some pictures of our favorite place on Earth.