There's Mail From Mom!

Wouldn't it be nice to have a letter from mom in the mailbox each time you checked it? Here's a place to check your mailbox for a heart-to-heart talk with mom...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Moving...moving...moving Chapter 2

The last few days have been a whirlwind of unpacking boxes, straightening the garageful of boxes to see what we need now and what can wait, getting appliances, filling closets with clothes, putting beds up, loads and loads and loads of laundry and at the end of the day falling into the bed so tired that sleep comes instantly!
The first full day in our house we still didn't have a refrigerator or stove. I had asked the Lord to supply our need for them and to lead Gary to just the ones He wanted us to have. Jimmy and Alicia came down from Ohio and spent the first two days here helping us unpack, situate furniture in the right place and other "getting settled" work.
Alicia got online and looked in the local shopper for appliances. My husband had seriously looked before we even moved and hadn't found what we needed (or the price we needed) so now we were down to the wire! We couldn't move the food from the parsonage refrigerator to our new home till we had something to put it in!
The first night Jimmy and Alicia and family were here we ate pizzas from Little Caesar's and the second night our dear friends Brother Dave and Sister Carolyn Carrol brought chili, pumpkin cake and a cobbler over and ate with us. (Brother Dave pastors Tabernacle Baptist Church of Crossville, TN) We had a wonderful time of fellowship with them.
My husband had called about a refrigerator Alicia had found and they were asking about $300 but said they'd go down to $225. It was a side by side and almond color. Both of those things were nice but the nicest part was that it was in our budget! The men went to see it and in a little bit they were home with a refrigerator. The man we bought it from went down to $200 and even loaned us his refrigerator dolly to get it home to us! Now that's a nice person!
I had felt so calm about it because I knew the Lord was picking our appliances out but I did think that we were getting down to the wire on the timing!
Well, there sat my beautiful "new" used refrigerator but I still needed a stove. We were still rejoicing over how nice the refrigerator was when the man we bought it from called. I thought he was probably wondering where his refrigerator dolly was since we'd stopped to eat and hadn't returned it yet.
Instead his wife called to let us know he'd found a stove for us! Now that's what I call really nice! She said he was getting a pigtail for it right then and if it worked we could have it for $125. Once again, that was right in our budget! It did work and the men ran over there again and got us the stove.
It is almond and trimmed in black (just like my refrigerator)! They look like they were made for each other. So the Lord not only provided a stove and refrigerator on the very day we needed them but he also made them match! Isn't the Lord so very good to us!
Since I gave the Lord everything in my life He has done so much better a job of providing things for me than I could ever do.
Brother Dave commented that it is so good to know the Lord cares for even the small details of our life. That is so very true!
So now I feel like a homemaker that just had her right arm returned to her after losing it for a week. Life without a stove and refrigerator is not comfortable for a woman that loves to cook!
Yesterday my husband got to preach at Calvary Baptist Church in Winchester, TN. We had a wonderful day with the church family there. Our drive down was one of breathtaking beauty. The redbuds were blooming, the sun was shining and we were driving on some of the prettiest views I have seen in TN.
I saw many beautiful homes as we drove and thought to myself, "I'm so thankful the Lord is the one who picks my house out too." I don't deserve the lovely rental He's provided us, but here I sit. Our yard is shady and I have a front porch that I can sit on and drink my coffee, read my Bible and listen to the birds singing. It's all too big for me but He's so good at organizing it all and providing just what we need (and even want!).
I've divided this move into phases. Phase 1 was just getting into the house and being able to survive. It's completed. Phase 2 is going through boxes and deciding what will come into the house and what will go into storage while we live here. I'll also be sorting out rummage items, items to go to Goodwill and items to throw away. I've already spent one day working on Phase 2. I'm hoping to do a certain amount of boxes each day while the children do their school work. Hopefully it will go smoothly and quickly!
So ends Chapter 2 of the move of 2010 in the Neal family....more to come on this book I'm sure!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


It is now 1:30 a.m. and I should be in bed asleep--I'm not. I am sitting up waiting on some pain medication to give me relief so I can go to bed. This is not the night to be having problems with my side pain but nevertheless here I am.

We're in the process of moving. We had planned on being at Swan Pond the rest of our lives unless the Lord said otherwise, but after much prayer and deliberation my husband knew it was time for us to leave here. It's been difficult for me and for our children because we love it here.
The people of Swan Pond Baptist Church have been like family to me and leaving your family is not easy.

When we came here I was desperate for a church family that loved and accepted their pastor's wife and this church did just that. I have made some of the best friends of my lifetime here at this pastorate. Thank You Lord for giving me this time and these friends.

Over the past few weeks I've walked down memory lane as I've walked through my house packing boxes. Long forgotten "treasures" have shown up as I have gone through closets and cabinets. I've read letters and notes from my children and had to wipe a few tears. I've handled shelf items that brought back a sweet memory of the person who bought them for me.

I've relived our days here as I walked through my yard. I'm going to miss watching the Rose of Sharon bloom, watching my roses blooming and smelling honeysuckle in May. I'm going to miss listening to my children playing wiffle ball in our front yard in the evenings, and listening to the sounds of summer while I sit on the carport and drink coffee and watch the sun go down.

I'm going to miss this house. It's been a house I've enjoyed living in and learned to love. We've had many, many wonderful hours of family fun and fellowship with others here.

Right now we are in limbo. My husband wasn't planning on making a change in pastorates and so we've rented a home for now and will be looking for what the Lord wants for us in the future.
He'll be looking for a job to supply our needs (tentmaking, I guess Paul would say) until the Lord opens the door for us and we know where He wants us next.

When he first went into full-time ministry we actually had days we prayed in our daily bread we were on such a tight budget. Only Niki has clear memories of those days and the miraculous ways the Lord sent ravens!

Then in 1995 when we had an unexpected ministry change all four of our older children watched the Lord supply our food, exact amounts of money needed for Asher's constant medical needs and even Christmas gifts. It helped me to confirm that we made the right decision for our family and it helped the children know that God is real and He cares for our smallest need.

I have wondered if the Lord has allowed this to happen so our younger three can see Him meet our needs even when there isn't a steady paycheck coming in. It's good for all of us but especially for our children.

So tonight I'm sick tired after filling boxes and boxes and then looking in cabinets and shelves and wondering where all this stuff came from! Most of what we're packing will be stored until we know what the Lord has planned for us.

Years ago I gave the Lord everything---my time, my clothes, my possessions and especially where he wanted me to live. I've lived mostly in parsonages since that day and He's been so good to provide us with homes better than we could afford on our own.

Tomorrow my furniture goes to a lovely rented home in Crossville. It has a shaded yard, a big kitchen, beautiful wood flooring, and best of all my precious family will be there with me. I'm already looking forward to making it warm and cozy and filling its kitchen with the aroma of fresh baked bread.

I call our parsonages "Ebenezer"..."hitherto hath the Lord led us". It's like an adventure! So, come along with us as we enter the next chapter of our lives. I'm sure the Lord has a wonderful story for us as we follow Him!

With love,