We Have Grass!

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We recently had to install a new lawn after destroying it last year while waterproofing our basement.  We had to excavate around the foundation of our house, and the machines we used completely destroyed our lawn.  So, we set out to do some landscaping this spring.  And, we’re starting to see green grass!!!!

Here are some pictures of the lawn install progress…

 

Front Before

Front Corner Before

Back Before

Front in Progress

Side in Progress

Back in Progress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Front with Grass!

Back with Grass!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More to come Next Spring!  We are planning to save up a good amount of money to put some bushes, plants, and maybe a couple trees in next spring.  This install was about $2000 in labor and another $1000 in materials.  That is not including what we did with the perimeter.  Home improvements definitely aren’t cheep!

Our next project will be to add a couple of rooms in the basement.  Hopefully, we will have the time and money to do that this winter.  It’s getting a little cramped in our 1100 square ft house with four children!

 

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And the Winner is…

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Dean O. from Kirkland, WA, is our winner of two free bestselling Christian books!  Dean will receive his free books, “Sacred Marriage” and “Sacred Parenting,” for winning our blog contest for the month of June.  We will start another contest shortly, so subscribe to our blog posts to stay in the loop!

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Great Gifts for Dad!

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Time is almost up if you want to enter our free drawing for two free bestselling Christian books, “Sacred Marriage” and “Sacred Parenting.”

They would make great gifts for Dad!  Get it before Father’s Day by ordering now!  Or, enter our contest for a chance to get these inspiring books absolutely free!

CLICK HERE to find out more and enter our free contest, or just fill out the form below and submit!

*Contest ends June 15th

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Coincidence? I Think God!

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In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.

Proverbs 3:6

Throughout our lives, we have seen God work in miraculous ways.  Some may say that they are coincidences or that we’re just lucky.  But, we know exactly Who is molding and shaping us as individuals, as a couple, and now as a family.  Our lives are a work of art.  They are expressions of God’s love and desire for us to be crafted into His image.  We’re not the type of Christian’s that go around telling people (or, even believe) that God will make your life perfect if you just follow Him.  In fact, we know from God’s Word that we will endure many sorrows and heartache in our lives.  But, as we’ve trusted Christ in all we do, there is an overwhelming sense of peace that follows.  When we’re sick, we are at peace.  When we’re poor, we are at peace.  When we are grieving a loss, we are at peace.  And, when my husband lost his job a few months ago, we were at peace.

I admit, there are times when I do not trust God.  Those are the dark times.  And, boy do I know it!  I can remember exact moments in my life when I was not trusting God.  I can tell you right now that those are the most depressing memories I have as a young adult.  I still go through times like that.  But, they are usually brief, because I know the cure!

 

God Moment #1: How We Met

The moments in our lives that are really God moments are truly amazing to us.  My first “God Moment” came when we were in high school.  I really really really wanted to be a part of the dance team at our school.  They were one of the best in the state, and I loved to dance.  I remember trying out for the team my freshman year and being devastated that I did not make it.  So, instead, I decided to try out for the school musical and the tennis team.  To my surprise, I was able to be a part of both!  This was a “God Moment” for me, because I didn’t have a very good singing voice and I wasn’t very good at tennis either.  I didn’t understand how I could be left out of something I was truly good at, but be welcomed with open arms into these two groups that I didn’t really fit into.  Later, I would meet my husband, Jesse, during rehearsal for the musical, “Annie Get Your Gun.”  If I hadn’t been rejected from the dance team and accepted into the musical, I probably never would have really gotten to know Jesse.

 

God Moment #2: Location, Location, Location

6 months after we were married, Jesse and I moved to Nashville, TN, from our home in Wisconsin.  While working for a flooring company, Jesse pursued music in the evenings and on weekends.  6 months after that, we had our first child.  We had moved there to see if other Christian musicians with a passion for the Lord and for contemporary Christian music would surface to form a group with Jesse.  But, something happened after Abigail was born.  We started to experience a string of “bad luck.”  I can look back now and honestly say that the Lord was working during this “bad luck” streak.  Jesse had just found, what we thought was a job as a guitar teacher.  It turns out, it was more like a scam.  The music school “hired” him to teach children guitar in their homes.  What they failed to mention was that they only had a couple of children ready to start lessons.  It ended up being more of a business start-up where the teachers would only be paid hourly.  We found this out AFTER Jesse had quit his job at the flooring company.  It was all down hill from there.  As we prayed for guidance, the Lord slowly answered in unexpected ways.  Jesse couldn’t go back to work for the flooring company and he was having a hard time finding work, so he had to leave Abigail and me for a short time to go back to Wisconsin and work for his father.  We also ended up having to pay for a fender bender.  So, all of this set us back quite a bit.  We started to feel claustrophobic, as if our dreams were about to come crashing down on us.  Then, we started to reach out to family and friends back home.  This was the “God Moment” for me.  Jesse began talking to a few guys back home that expressed an interest in starting a band.  My family offered to take us in until we got back on our feet.  Jesse’s Dad offered him a job working in the family business.  And so, we found ourselves preparing to move back home.  God was calling us home and we just couldn’t ignore His calling.

 

God Moment #3: What Makes a House a Home?

After moving back to Wisconsin, we quickly began searching for a place to live.  We had a little motivation since we ended up having to move in with my parents, grandmother, and sister upon our swift return home.  When moving back from Nashville, we had just enough money to buy gas for the trip home.  So, we needed to find a temporary place to live until we got back on our feet.  My parents were gracious enough to welcome us into their already crowded home.  Needless to say, things weren’t easy, especially since we had our six month old baby girl with us.  It was a house to live in, but it was not our home.  We prayed for the Lord to provide an alternative to our chaotic living situation at that time.  Then, Jesse’s parents told us the news that their tenants living above them in their duplex where going to be moving out.  So, as soon as they moved out, we got to work getting the place ready for us to move in.  It was an answer to prayer!  We ended up living there for two years until we could afford to buy our own house.  Then, it happened!  God Moment #3 showed it’s face at just the right time.  Timing was EVERYTHING when it came to how we acquired our first house.  First, we had just paid off our credit card, so we had a $0 balance on that.  So, what does the credit card company do?  They send us an offer for a NO FEE, 1.99% balance transfer offer for the LIFE OF THE BALANCE.  This was truly a God send.  We still had about $12000 left to pay on our car loan with a minimum payment of $350/month.  With that high of a payment, we could not afford to buy a house.  But, after transferring the balance to the credit card, which lowered the interest rate and payment, we could now qualify for a $120,000 mortgage.  But, where would we find a house at that price in Ozaukee County where the going rate was $250,000?  Within weeks of transferring our car loan balance, I got a rather unexpected phone call.  My sister called to say that the elderly woman living next door to her had just been moved to a nursing home and her son would be putting the house up for sale.  She told me about an estate sale he would be having that weekend.  I knew what my sister and brother-in-law had paid for their house, so I thought there was no way we could afford to buy one right next door to them.  But, we decided to go to the estate sale anyway and talk to the owner’s son.  We walked around the house and realized that we may be able to get a good deal on the place.  It hadn’t been updated in years!  So, we asked him how much he was looking to get.  Without going through a real estate agent, we were able to get the house for $115,000!  Praise the Lord!  And, on top of that, we were GIVEN a down payment from a family member.  We would finally have the house we’d been wanting since moving back to Wisconsin.  Now, if we could just get these updates finished, it may finally look like a home.

 

God Moment #4: Get a Job or Start a Business?

 

We started off February of this year with high hopes.  Jesse was expected to get a raise after his two year mark as a web designer/developer.  Unfortunately, he not only didn’t get a raise, he was let go because of budget cuts.  On the plus side, the company gave him about three weeks to find a new job.  Time to start praying hard for some direction, we thought.  Then, Jesse came to me with an idea. “Why don’t I start my own business?” he asked.  Jesse had developed some business contacts and was confident he could keep the work rolling in.  So, we began to ask the Lord if that was the right thing to do.  After really really praying about it, we still didn’t feel ready to make a decision.  We didn’t know exactly what was holding us back.  We just didn’t feel the Lord leading us to commit to starting a business.  Until we were certain of what the Lord wanted for us, Jesse continued updating his resume and portfolio (http://www.jesseleedesign.com.)  He applied for a couple of jobs and waited for a response.  Then, it happened!  God Moment #4 came in the form of an unexpected conversation on Facebook.  Jesse had just been called in for an interview and he was up late the night before doing some social networking.  One of his friends from college, that he rarely talks to, suddenly popped up to ask him a question.  “Do you know what [this] is?” he asked.  He was referring to some sort of software that I’m not familiar with.  Jesse responded, “No, what is it?”  At that point, his friend continued to explain what it was.  Jesse suddenly remembered from his friend’s description that he had come across that software before and indeed was knowledgable of it.  He just couldn’t remember what it was called until just then.  That was the end of the conversation.  Jesse went to bed that night asking the Lord to be with him during his interview the next day.  During the interview, he was only asked 4 questions.  One of them just happened to be about the very same software Jesse had discussed with his friend the night before.  HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!?!?  Just think, if he hadn’t had that conversation, he may have sounded like an idiot to the guy interviewing him.  For all we know, that was the question that put him at the top of their list.  He was offered the job within 20 minutes of walking out the door!  After that, we were certain of what direction the Lord was leading us in.  Praise the Lord!

 

Unfortunate Circumstances

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

I did not want to be rejected from the dance team.  I did not want to go broke and move back in with my parents.  I did not want to wait to have our own house.  And, I certainly did not want my husband to lose his job.  Those were all unfortunate circumstances that lead to amazing moments that I would like to call “God Moments.”  They are moments that remind you Who is in control.  They are moments that remind you not to be anxious about anything.  They are moments that remind you to give thanks in all circumstances, even the unfortunate ones.  You may just come to realize that they’re not so unfortunate after all.

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