Hello! I thought that was a good title since it seems like such a long time since I've written. But after looking at the last date, it hasn't really been that long. It just seems that way since so much has happened! Let me share....
On January 22, we drove into Redding with our trailer and stayed the night at some VM friends house outside of Redding. On Saturday, we picked my mom up from the airport. We were all very excited to have her come. But we were a few minutes late to pick her up. The boys couldn't wait to eat (her plane didn't get here until 6 pm), so we stopped at Burger King so they could use the gift cards they had been given for Christmas. But they were SOOO slow!!! It was unbelievable! However, I got to meet and visit with a neat Christian woman who also homeschools her 4 boys (that always seems to happen to me - people stop me to ask if the kids are all mine, then they ask if we homeschool, then they assume that we are Christians! We must look like a stereotype!).
After picking my mom up, we drove home to get ready for church on Sunday. Jeremy had to preach from the notes in his Bible, since he didn't have time to get his Powerpoint ready for the day. I think he still did a great job, and we have some people in our church who feel that his sermons are more Spirit-led when he doesn't use Powerpoint. Anyways, after church was our monthly potluck and board meeting. Since board meeting usually goes pretty long and it takes a lot out of Jeremy, there is no evening service on such nights. So we got to spend some time with my mom. Then Monday morning, we left for our couples retreat. We went south by way of Eureka instead of Redding, which we had planned on, because there was a woman from our church having surgery in Eureka. So we were able to stop by and visit with her and pray with her before her surgery. I think she really enjoyed having us both there. We heard later that her surgery went well, but she was in a fair amount of pain.
So Monday night, we drove to Santa Rosa and stayed there for the night. Then Tuesday, we finished the drive to Merced, CA to attend the VM couples retreat. It was held at the the church in Merced that our DR attends. It was a wonderful conference. We were able to visit with many of our VM friends - a lot of whom we get to see on a monthly basis through our VM fellowships, but also many that are outside of the driving distance. Jeremy & I both really enjoyed the fellowship that we enjoyed. It was so refreshing! Also, the speaker that they brought in was a man who has started a ministry doing taxes for pastors and missionaries. We heard about him when we first came into the Mission, thankfully, so we have been sending our taxes to him for several years. But it was nice to have him there to ask our many questions to - he even talked about life insurance and retirement. That was nice for Jeremy and I to hear. We learned some things that we need to be doing now for retirement, and that it is not sinful to plan for the future, but good stewardship! I did learn something very interesting. I know not many of you who read this are pastor's, but it might help for you to know about your pastor. Did you know that if, as a church, you want to give your pastor a love gift (say for Christmas), and everyone gives personal checks to the pastor made out to him, that is considered just a gift and not taxable. However, if the church takes a collection for their pastor, and the treasurer collects all the checks (made out to the church) and writes one collective check to the pastor from the church, it is now considered taxable! So just FYI, if you feel like giving your pastor a gift, make sure to do it personally and not through the church!
The weather down in Merced during our conference was beautiful. The mornings were overcast, but the afternoons were sunny and warm. I don't think I wore a jacket at all. In the afternoons, Jeremy and I enjoyed some free time together. One afternoon, we got to go see a movie. We saw the Tooth Fairy. We found it to be pretty cute and fairly clean. Another afternoon, Jeremy wanted to shop for an electric guitar with some of the other pastors. One of our VM pastor friends from Redding area was teaching Jeremy a little bit of guitar (besides what he has been trying to learn from a book we have here at home). He ended up buying one for a very good deal from a dealer whom we discovered was a Christian. So now he is going to work very hard to learn the electric guitar to play at church. I will see if I can pick up the acoustic that we have here, too. And Rob is working on learning the bass.
Then we came back through Redding (my mom brought the kids and met us in Redding). We stayed in our trailer again Friday night, dropped my mom off at the airport Saturday, and drove down towards Sacramento with our trailer and the kids for two nights. We got home yesterday, and are very glad to be home after being away for a week. We were very refreshed from our conference, and now are excited to be back and thinking about new ministries at the church. We are thinking and praying about starting AWANA's this fall. And of course, we're thinking about what to do for VBS, too.
One more bit of news...we found out we are expecting baby number 7 at the end of August! We are all very excited - the boys were ecstatic when we called and told them. They all think it's hillarious, because when I was little I wanted 5 boys and 5 girls. They tell everyone that we have the 5 boys and now it's time for the 5 girls. We will see. Rob says if this one's a girl, he will laugh. We are thinking about Naomi Joy if it is a girl. Jeremy's not discussing boy names right now, because in his mind, it's another girl.
Thank you for reading my ramblings. I hope you were able to make sense of some of it!
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