Friday, August 29, 2008

4 months into our journey together

(A pic-nic at a downtown park. One of our standing Sunday dates)

It's awesome to think that Shawn and I have been married now for almost 4 months, and loving it more each day. What a gift marriage is! I'm seeing more qualities that I love about my husband, and even through the nitty gritty of every day life, I see how wonderful his true colors are. Shawn is a joy to serve and love. So enough of this lovey-dovey stuff. What have we been up to besides having pic-nics and taking silly pictures?

Some days it feels like not much, but then you start writing about it, and boy, it seems like lots. So I'll start with the date after our last update, July 23: Shawn looses his job due to a wrist injury. He is our sole income provider, so we are taken a little off guard, but nonetheless we remained calm and grateful for what we had (and that it was almost the end of the month, so our rent money for August was ready...and that pay day was that Friday). Considering that Shawn only had about 6 weeks before starting school and would need to go part time after that, it was challenging finding a job that would allow him to go full time and then part time when school started. In any case, through a roller coaster of interviews that didn't seem to work out or pay enough to make the bills, Shawn found a great job with an eco-friendly construction company called Friendly Earth. They have lots and lots of work, so the overtime is a huge blessing... AND they are cool with letting Shawn work part-time while he is in school...AND he is making about $350 more a month than at the job he lost. So being without a job for even just 2 1/2 weeks, will make you realize some things: 1) Be grateful for everyday that you have a job to go to 2) Save, save, for that rainy day when you may for some reason or another not be able to work (Shawn and I did have some saving from some drum cymbals he sold on ebay, but we couldn't access the funds from paypal yet. That's another story, but we are grateful now that we couldn't get those funds because now Shawn's tuition for the fall semester is taken care of). AND 3) God is a faithful provider. We "lost" 2 1/2 weeks of income, BUT we would not give that money back, as we were able to see God stand true to His Word once again:

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life...But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:25-27,33-34)

The very next day after Shawn lost his job, we get a "delayed" wedding gift...a timely check from a sweet friend of Shawn's family. The coincidence of this gift coming that next day was a wink from our Father in Heaven that he would take care of our needs. Then came the call from Shawn's mom saying they were trying to clean house, as they are moving to a new home. They wanted us to have a garage sale with their stuff and keep the proceeds. Our friend Adam also brought over some things that he wanted to get rid of. When we tried to give him his share of the sales, he refused to take the money. Next came another timely check from a refund my old insurance company owed me. Not bad timing...again. Then we had the week where by another "coincidence" we were invited to eat at different friends homes 4 times for dinner in one week! Talk about saving a chunk on groceries:) Who gets 4 dinner invitations in one week?? We did! At a very timely time:) So we could go on some more about how God's provisions were so evident, but we'll suffice to say that, despite our moments of worry and uncertainty,we learned a sweet lesson on putting our hope in God and not our jobs, money, abilities, etc. How we had so much more than enough (even enough to get day-time lights installed in our SUV, so it could pass federal inspection by the end of the month) for all our bills, groceries, and other commitments is very awesome.

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
(1 Timothy 6:17-19)

In addition to all the above, I am still doing the job search. It's been a roller coaster ride of its own (and discouraging at many times), but once again, I have the chance to trust God and not myself. The time off has allowed me to continue sharpening my domestic skills. I learned how to make bread and pizza from scratch, among other things. Homemade bread is sooo good. When else do you just want to have bread for a snack. I never did...until now. AND, its cheap and relatively easy to make. I've also gotten to try many new recipes, including some I got at my wedding shower in Houston. (That was such a great idea Jess!) Our little home is turning into a very cozy nook, and we love having people over to share good food with us.

(The leather couches were a gift from family friends, the coffee/side tables are Shawn's sister who is letting us store them until she needs them. I'm also very proud of my $20 Zeller's curtains:)
Align Center(Cute dinning room table was provided by Shawn's parents...it just happened to match my colors:)

Moreover, Shawn and I have started volunteering at Sonshine Community Services-a home for women escaping domestic abuse. We get to play with kids while there mommies do their group counseling. It's lots of fun...especially for Shawn. The kids LOVE him, especially the boys. We also have started volunteering at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in their phone center during Billy Graham Classics and other broadcasts. A big stretch for both of us, but an amazing experience. Shawn continues to rotate in the worship band at our church Spring Bank Community Church and is also going to start helping out with sound/techno stuff. We are slowly meeting more people there and finding our place to serve. I really appreciate the practical compassion of the church; currently we have a team in Uganda where our church is teaming up to help a ministry there who runs a home for those orphaned or abandoned because of poverty, civil war, disease, and especially HIV/AIDS. In Shawn's other spare time (like right now), he is refurbishing an old Vibraphone he bought for very cheap. These are expensive thingamagigers, so my husband hopes to get a good return on his work so we can replace the windshield of our SUV (It won't pass the provincial (state) inspection without it). He loves working on the Vibes (as he call the instrument), and knows a bit about them, as that was the instrument he was specializing in during college before he found out there wasn't a huge demand for vibe players.

This update is getting quiet long, so I'll wait to share about my Calgary wedding shower and our Calgary Wedding reception for the next post. It's starting to feel chilly (okay, COLD for me), and I have a feeling my "winter" clothes will only make it past November. Today I wore one of my "winter" outfits, and it's only just starting to get cold...brrr.





Speaking up up for those who cannot speak for themselves

"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute" (Proverbs 31:8-9)

Kids are cute. Their quirky and innocent ways are like sweet sun rays in the midst of the clouds in our world. Of the 2.2 billion children in the world, nearly half live in desperate conditions.

I know that the poor will always be among us, but I also know that a little guy in Peru named Cesar today has more educational opportunities, health care and supplemental nutrition, safe recreation, important life skills, and the opportunity to hear about Jesus and be encouraged to develop a lifelong relationship with God. All because I chose to send a few bucks a month to Compassion International. I get regular letters and drawing from Cesar, and its been a joy to watch him grow up over the last 7 years.

7 years! Wait Tania, your only 24?? Your right, that made me 17 years old when I started sponsoring him. Through high school on my baby-sitting money, through "broke" college days on my part time job, and now married on a one-income budget (Not to mention I married a generous guy who had 2 sponsored kids of his own). 32.00 a month is feasible for most of us, and yes, you may have to sacrifice a starbucks frapuchino or two, or some cute new earings from Target, etc. I promise you will get way more lasting satisfaction from your sponsored child.

If you are already supporting a cause, that's great, and this note is probably not for you. However, I encourage you to be a voice for that cause.

If you are interested in learning more about child sponsorship, ask me and/or vist compassion.ca (Canada) or compassion.com (U.S.A). I also recommend World Vision and Misson of Mercy. My experience has been with Compassion International, which is why I can personally endorse it. If you decide to sponsor a child, would you let me know. I have a personal goal to find 10 child sponsors by the end of the year. I get nothing if I achieve this goal, it's just something to aim for. However, even if 1 child gets sponsored, it will be worth all my babbling.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Save $$$ on your water bill