Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Finding Favor

I have always been a good bargain shopper. I suppose it comes from being raised by my mom who was the queen of making something from nothing and making do in style with a little of nothing. I would much rather "hunt" at thrift store or yard sales than go to the mall.In that way I was "green" before "green" became the fad.( I have also used cloth grocery bags for more than 20 years.)
Gathering things for my upcoming trip to Haiti has been fun. Not only because of how I love the hunt but because so many have joined with me in it!I have received a large box of children's clothing from a woman I never met in FL who saw a post I made on facebook. Donations of flip flops, back packs and clothing have come in from friends in PA.A woman in my town has given material and sewing notions. More bags from people in church, school supplies from a young man at my work. Money was given for me to shop from a woman's group where I shared the story of Haitian Children's Home. AND I have shopped. But my bargains were multiplied by the favor that God has given me with man in this effort. I went to the Dollar General and asked if they could make a donation of Summer clothing.They did not have the authority to make a donation BUT they did tell me on the side when they would be marking down summer merh by 75%. Then I went to CVS as I was sharing with the manager about what I was doing and looking over the half price summer stuff and quietly told me to come back on Sunday when the prices would drop down to 75% off.(I got 60 pair of Hanes socks for $6.00!!) I went to the local bookstore to buy books with the donation I received and went to check out. The owner of the store would not take my money and said it was his donation.I went to the local thrift store and asked when they would have their clearance bag sale. They didn't know but I got a phone call at my job telling me that if would be on Monday. When I made my purchases they charged me half price because I was shopping for my Haiti trip.
I have decide that people are really nice. People like to give. It is wrong to not allow them to help and it is always right to ask.
I have found favor because God made it so.I have lots to sort and decisions to make on what will come and what will wait. It is excited to see God multiply these goods. My cup and my spare room runneth over!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Place of Their Own

Children love little places to call their own. When I was a child there were two very special places that were just "for us". The wonderful world of childhood shared with my cousins. Uncle Arty built the tree house when his oldest children were small. He didn't imagine that generations would find such joy in that little red tree house overlooking the beautiful lake. We pretended there. Told secrets there. Sang songs and made up games. Sometimes we even slept there. Uncle Charlie also built us "a place of our own". Oh..I know he built it for his 6 children but I also know he built it for all of us. This little red house was not in a tree but it was every bit as wonderful a fort and private place to pretend. Uncle Charlie's house also had other secret spots to hide out in. A large bush that was just next to the privet hedge in the back corner of the yard made a great shade fort to spy on the world outside where we were sure they had no idea we were there.
So inspired my own need to create "spaces" for my grandchildren. Our play house is perhaps my favorite thing about my property. I love to listen on the baby monitor as the children use accents and grown up voices in their play times. I love to hear the record player playing Christmas music or James Taylor, often on the wrong speed.( what does this generation know about turntables??) This children's place is everything I remember my childhood memories to be.
With the birth of my new garden space there is another new favorite spot for the grandchildren. I cleared out a space in the wooded area at the back of the garden. Katie helped me as the "littles" napped. All the brambles cleared and the pine needles swept, a little secret garden has emerged from a ugly overgrown woodland. There is a climbing tree in it's midst and enough space for a bench and a small garden table. A fairy statue and a fairy box is nestled in the corner. In the late afternoon the sun angled just right and a sunbeam magically lights up just that one little spot. It's magical. It's quiet, and small and it is childhood captured.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sharing with Woman's Aglow

I was asked to speak at the Woman's Aglow meeting in Manteo this morning. What a wonderful, caring group of women! What follows is what I had prepared before hand.I didn't read it but kept pretty close to what was written. I was glad for the chance to think about some of this and for the revelation that God gave me from 1 Chronicles about David NOT building the temple.Sharing with these woman who were themselves grandmothers was very special for me...they understand my heart. Good Morning! It is such a pleasure to be here to speak with you. My name is Denise Goodale, I moved to Manteo in 1995. I am married to Steve and we will celebrate our 36th anniversary in Jan. We were both raised in Southampton, NY. We have three married daughters and eight, going on nine grandchildren. Thank you for inviting me to share on all that the Lord is revealing to me. I was saved in 1977 and am very excited to share that all of my family has embraced Christ as Lord, and Savior. There is not a greater joy for a mother than to know that her children serve Jesus. While I am proud of all of my children today I want to share some of the things that God is doing in the life of my middle dauther, Gwenn. While preparing for today I had to ask myself where it all began. And the Lord impressed something on my heart that surprised me. He took me back to 1 Chronicles. In Chapter 28 and 29 where we see King David's desire to build the temple but that God choose his son Solomon to take on this difficult but most honorable work. David did all that he could to prepare for Solomon to do this work but he, King David, did not build the temple himself. Flashback, 1972. I was a jr. in high school. I was not yet a follower of Jesus. Our psychology class was given an assignment to write a paper about how we saw ourselves in the future. Having been in high school during the MLK days and the height of the Civil Rights movement I was very influenced by what I was seeing and hearing about race relations. My school had a very mixed population of whites, blacks and Native Americans. Even with all that we learned I saw prejudice and segregation. I choose to write my paper about my desire to adopt several children. I wanted to have my children of all races and mixed races. I strongly believed that people who lived as family would become color blind and could not be prejudice. Having come from a broken home my desire for a strong, healthy family was deep. In 1974 when I married Steve our lives did not go that direction. Not yet Christians, and scraping by on a very small income, even if Steve shared my desire we never would have been in the position to adopt several children. Many times over the years I daydreamed about adopting. I loved being Mommy to my three daughters and to the many children who needed an “extra mom” from time to time. But my heart still went to the orphans. I knew I had more to give. For what ever His reason, God did not choose me to live out that high school dream. However, He did not forget me and my desire and just as he did not forget David.Solomon built the temple, my daughter Gwenn is building the home. Before I start I would like to share a brief video with you that will lay the foundation for what I would like to share today. (Run 6 min. video on Gwenn and Nick.) (No Internet available, spoke about HCH, The Pye’s, the Land, the new outreach, the vision…etc.) Let me share with you a little story about Gwenn. I have shared this story many times. Each time I do it blesses me. We were at the Creation Festival in PA. Creation is a very large Christian festival where I and therefore my children have been on volunteer staff since 1985. This particular year Gwenn was nine years old. It was the first night of the festival. Harry Thomas the founder of Creation was leading worship and they announced the evening offering. As the white buckets were passed among the crowd I watched as Gwenn dug deep in her pocket and pulled out a wad of crumbled $1.00 bills. She held them up to the bucket and looked at me and said “Is it ok?” I replied “It’s your money.” I knew this money was the money she had been saving for a long time so she would have spending money at the festival. I knew this was all the money she had. I watched as she unclenched her fist and dropped her savings in the bucket. She said later “God blessed the poor widow when she gave all that she had.” Later that week Gwenn asked me “Can I get baptized on Sat.?” “Honey,” I replied “do you even know what it means to be baptized?” “Yes,” she said. “Jesus loved me enough to die for me and I love Him enough to live for Him.” Case closed. She was baptized that Sat afternoon. So why do I share all this? Simple. Because I need to share that obedience and sacrifice to not just happen. They develop over time. When we are faithful with a little we are fit to be faithful with a lot. Gwenn learned how to give of herself. I learned how to let her. Both of these things are my story today. It was about 5 years ago that Gwenn was sitting in church with her husband Nick. The Pastor was talking about an upcoming mission trip to Haiti. Gwenn the mother of a toddler tuned out the Pastor knowing that this announcement was “for someone else”. She freely shares now “I didn’t even know where Haiti was!” The Holy Spirit quickened her and said “I want you to listen.” She leaned over to Nick and said “I think I’m suppose to go to Haiti.” Nick replied “Then we’ll make it happen.” And so the adventure began. An adventure that God ordained but would not have happened if Gwenn and now Nick had not listened and obeyed. They could have reasoned why this was a bad idea. They did not. When she got home that first trip her life was not the same. She was not the same. She spoke of Haiti all the time and said “Mommy, you will love Haiti!” I knew I would go. A short while after Nick and Gwenn began the long, difficult, expensive process of adopting a Haitian orphan. (Yes, obedience will cost you something.) From the time Joseau, Michael was 15 months old until the time he was 2and a half we waited for him to come home. Renamed Nico we watched him grow up in fuzzy pictures on line. His parents longing to bring him home. This grandmother completely bonded to him before I ever saw him in person. Gwenn was pregnant when Nico was finally to arrive in the US. I was to go with Nick to pick him up. Josiah was born with a very serious heart condition and required open heart surgery when he was 3 days old. Nico’s homecoming had to be postponed. Finally on July 20th Nico arrived home! It was a difficult summer. Josiah required a lot of extra attention and little Nico had many health issues to be taken care of. All these things made Gwenn and Nick stronger and it wasn’t long before God entrusted them with an even bigger dream. After several trips down to Haiti they were ready for the great reveal. God had called them to be full time , permanent missionaries with the Haitian Children’s home. Haiti, about the size of Maryland is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. It has a 70% unemployment rate and those who work can make about $1.00 American per day. 50% of the population is under 17. Children are routinely sold into slavery and prostitution. The fortunate children who are orphaned or abandoned go to orphanages. However, most of these will not accept children over 6 years of age. Haitian Children’s home which is located on the SW coast of Haiti in a town named Jacmel is the exception. They take children 7 and up. Many if not most of these children arrive with little or no formal schooling. There is no public education system and very few can afford the very steep tuition of a private school. Danny and Leanne Pye operate the first home in the Haitian Children’s home and are now filled to capacity with 23 children. They are committed to raise these children in a family setting. They had been offered to purchase a track of land to expand and build a facility that would support eight homes and 160 children. Nick who was an elder at Crosspointe church in Apex,NC, and Gwenn went to the leadership of their church and told them they wanted to start raising support so they could move to Haiti and start the second children’s home. Their church was very supportive and encouraging. When Gwenn and Nick were a few months into the support raising process their Pastor told the church it was time to start the land fund. They needed to raise $380,000.00 for the purchase. He told them that they would take a special offering the next week. They took the offering the next Sunday in the 3 services and much to everyone’s amazement they raised $420,000.00 on that one Sunday!! Gwenn and Nick put their house on the market and it sold full asking price in 1 and one half days! If they had any doubt it was gone now! Meanwhile….. a grandmother’s heart is breaking. On one hand so completely honored that God was working so powerfully in the life of my family and on the other hand the raw pain of seeing my grandchildren move with their parents to a third world country. But just as I had to let the nine year old girl obey God and give all that she had, I had to obey and allow my daughter to obey with my blessings. Could I have changed her mind? I doubt it. Could I have made her transition even more difficult than it was. Yes. I am quite sure I could have. But my job was to raise a child who was willing to listen to God . By letting her go I have kept her close. In the short time that Gwenn, Nick, Nia, Nico and Josiah have lived in Haiti they have faced many physical and spiritual and financial attacks. Obedience will cost you. I went with a team to Haiti in April. We worked hard and joyfully for a week preparing a home for Gwenn and Nick and the family. Much time , energy and a great deal of money went in to this project only to have the Landlord change his mind about renting to them. They moved in with the Pye’s for a time until they found a place to rent for a short time. They are thankful that we have had a quiet hurricane season as the roof is in very poor condition. Gwenn became very ill in June, in fact she lost 22 pounds in 11 days. She was flown back to the US to be treated for Malaria and some other undiagnosed stomach aliment. They spent 6 weeks in the blazing heat in Port Au Prince for language school in an apartment that comes with a guard dog. They had no electric for much of this time and just getting water was a big chore. It has been a HARD 4 months! Let me share with you what I think is an amazing blog from my 6 yr.old granddaughter Nia, this is normal life in Haiti. Dear my friends, I had fun at the market, which means it was fun. That the same thing. The market is the place where we go to buy food. Today was the second time I went. It was big. I took pictures on the top of the mountain. We went to it. It was fun. They sell cornflakes, the sell watermelon, they sell lots of sweets. They sell fruits and vegetables and Haitian grits. At one of the places we went to they even sell cornmeal that tastes just like grits. They even sell turtles. Some people eat turtles in Haiti. We saw live chickens and the first time I went I saw a cat chained up with a rope. They eat cats here too. I petted the cat to say goodbye. But we didn't buy it because my dad's allergic. I think you know that already. I wonder if he would be allergic to eating cats. When I petted the cat, it almost bit me. It was a little teeny kitten. I liked it. I wonder why it almost bit me. Maybe because it doesn't like petting. Or it doesn't want to be tied up or maybe it doesn't want to be eaten. I didn't know cat language to tell it I was just being nice to him. There was a place there where there was all dead meat. Almost all dead meat. I did not like it there. It made me feel little bit scared and the smell made me cough. Naomi bought a bunch of goat because we're having company for dinner on Thursday. I didn't smell it after she bought it. And when she showed mommy and daddy it, I did not smell it. But I like to eat goat, it tastes good. But I don't think it smells good before it's cooked. I hope you like my pictures. These pictures are great. They are of the market. This is all about the market. Love, Nia Life is hard in Haiti. But they are home. Last week Fritzie moved in. When YWAM had to pull out of Haiti they found placement for all of the children in their orphanage except Fritzie. They said she was 13 and had completed 3rd grade. She has a severely crossed eye making her in the Haitian culture even less desirable. In truth she has just turned 15 and has only completed 2nd grade. Her only other option was the street. “Welcome home Fritzie. You have not come into an orphanage; you are now part of a family. A family with a Mommy, a Daddy, two rascally little brothers and a little sister who has prayed for you for a long time. You are in the house that was build in your grandmother’s daydreams and in your parent’s obedience. Welcome home.” When Nia learned that Fritzie was moving in she wanted to know if the first day of home school they could dress alike and do their hair alike. Gwenn said “sure”. Nia replied “ I think you will be able to tell us apart, Fritzie’s skin is a little darker than mine.” In 25 days I am returning to Haiti. I long for it everyday. This time I am way out of my comfort zone. I am going alone. Obedience will cost you something. I will carry with me as much clothing and supplies and little gifts as I can carry in my two bags. I will have a doll for Fritzie. I don’t care that she is 15. Every girl needs a doll from their grandmother!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Firtzie!

If I could speak your language I would share with you how very glad that God has brought you into the family. I would tell you that you are such a beautiful young woman and you have a radiant smile. I would tell you that I am sorry you have had so many troubles in your young life. I would tell you that you I know God has placed you in Gwenn and Nick's family just as sure as I know that he placed you in mine. I would tell you that I am so glad for Nia, she has prayed for a sister for a long time. I would tell you that I know you will sometimes have hard times but you are safe now. You are loved. You are accepted. You are redeemed. For your Father in heaven has seen you. He has known you. He has loved you. He has chosen you so that you may one day be able to bind up the wounds of the broken hearted and love them into His family. Happy Birthday beautiful Fritzie!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Faith of the Butterfly

"Look Katie, a yellow butterfly! It must be almost time for the spider lilies!" And so it was. When I first moved to our Outer Banks home there were no spider lilies in our yard. Then one day in September they showed up! They are an amazing, hearty and beautiful flower that multiply all over the yard. When you pick them and bring them inside they stay beautiful and fresh for many days. So every Sept, sometime in the first to second week they appear. Faithfully. An amazing thing about these delicate looking flowers is the rate which they grow. When that first butterfly appeared I went out to check. No shoots yet. But just two days later I saw another yellow butterfly and checked again. This time, just two days later, on Sept.1st, I picked a 24" stem and placed this first fruit of the spider lily harvest in a vase on my kitchen table. But this lily wasn't alone. Through out my yard these flowers are beginning their annual September dance.Some popping up in flower beds and other...well anywhere they want.
But as remarkable as these plants are there is something that to me is even more remarkable. How do the butterflies know they are coming? They show up before the buds push through the soil.(Spider lilies come up head first as there are no leaves on this plant, they are all stem and blossoms.)This to me is amazing.
The Bible tells us that we know how to read the signs of the weather. We can tell by looking at the sky that the next day will be fair or stormy. We can predict all kinds of things by just paying attention to the signs around us. When I saw that first yellow butterfly I knew the spider lilies would follow shortly. We have learned to rely so much on technology that sometimes we will miss the signs. When that great sunomi hit a few years back the animals and the native tribes knew to head to high ground before the wave hit.Many perished because they had desensitized themselves to the signs that nature was offering.
The Bible also tells us to watch.No one knows the day or the hour of Christ's return. However it also says that there will be many signs so that we will be ready.We have desensitized our minds and our spirit to the point where we don't pay attention and we loose touch with the very things that will reveal the coming of our Lord.We have hardened our hearts and look to all kinds of things to save us.We don't fell His breath as He leans in close to speak to us.
I want to be that butterfly, I want to be waiting when He comes. I want to be faithful before His arrival so that I don't miss out. I don't want to show up when it's all over. I want to be ready. As the spider lily shots up quickly so will the Son of Man come. I want to be a butterfly. Lord, help me to read the signs!