Monday, November 28, 2005

Steps 2 and 3

Well, Friday was a memorable day. The final trustee payment went through as did the $2K payment to D's mom. Two big items that are now closed. We have to make one more $2K payment to D's mom, for money that she lent us when D started his new-old job. That will most likely happen when we get the line of credit to pay off the 2nd mortgage. I guess those will be steps 4 & 5, but that is in God's hands to decide. I'm just very thankful to have made it through these 2!

D spoke with the trustee last week and they advised we should have the discharge papers 2 weeks after the payment is processed - step 2B! We need that to proceed with the bank.

And now it's Monday, a new week and new challenges await. We're getting into the Christmas rush and there's lots to do. But I've started my shopping and things are moving along nicely. The weekends are starting to get busier with holiday and family plans. More about that later, now I have to get ready for work and see if I can get into the dentist for an emergency appointment. One of my fillings ( a large front one) fell out in my sleep last night. I am being good and following God's previous guidance by taking better care of my teeth. Previously, I've waited until my teeth cause pain before going, but this time I know it will be serious and I need to take immediate care of it.

More later ...

A Remarkable Sunday Service

We had the most unusual service today at Portico. The passage was from Joshua and Pastor Doug taught on how the Israelites defiled themselves by one person stealing items that had been consecrated to God, and as a result the battle was lost and the Israelites are found fleeing in retreat. Pastor Doug expounds to say that that was the obvious cause of their defeat, but not the only one. They also did not pray or consult God for direction prior to going into battle.

God answers Joshua by instructing the Israelites to cleanse themselves and then come forward into God’s presence. Here is where the service becomes unique. The pastoral team, represented by Pastor Doug, and the church elders proceeded to put the sermon into practice by presenting themselves and the congregation to God in a prayer of confession and forgiveness. It was a beautiful prayer, written out for the congregation to follow. Upon completion of the prayer, they consecrated it by holding communion.

This is the only time I can ever remember the church pastors and elders coming together publicly during the main service to confess and ask forgiveness for corporate sins of the church. It was incredibly moving and inspiring.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

One more step

Well, we've accomplished one more step, and there should be another one any day now. We picked up the remaining $2K from the 2nd mortgage last night. The crook tried to weasel out of it, even though he's 2 months overdue in paying it. When he first held back the $2K, we were told by the broker and the lawyer that it was because our carpets need to be replaced, and so if we defaulted on the mortgage, he would have to replace the carpets before selling. Looking back now, I realize that this is crazy, because if we'd defaulted, the bank would have paid him out the way they did the taxes and the condo fees last time. The bank has the biggest iterest in our home and we have huge equity in our home, even with the 2nd mortgage.

Anyway, yesterday the tune changed and now he's trying to tell us he held it back because we were behind in the condo and taxes, but that really wasn't the case either because the bank had paid them. I think we were originally behind 2 condo fees, but again those HAD to be up to date BEFORE they'd give us the 2nd mortgage. Like I said, he's a crook. So, sure enough yesterday, he had us jumping through hoops, proving the mortgage, the condo fees and the taxes were all up to date before he'd sign over the $2K. Now remember, we've been paying interest on these funds that we never even had for 8 months now. And every payment has gone through absolutely fine. And should, heaven forbid, one of our payments at any time bounces, he put it in our contract that it's a $500 fine - on a payment of $301!!! So, once again, I say he's a crook. And that's the price we've paid for not relying in God sooner.

But, thanks to God's grace, we are up to date with all of those things, and we haven't had any problems, so we were able to get that backup within less than an hour. Now we finally have our $2K, which we had borrowed at the time from D's mom. So now she has a cheque and that chapter will be another one closed.

Next step - final payment for the Trustee should go through any day now. I'll have to have D follow up today to see why it hasn't gone through yet.

Thank you Lord, without you we wouldn't have our house and wouldn't be making progress towards our new mission.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Neighbourhood

It's Wednesday morning and I got up a bit earlier than usual, but will still be rushing by the time I have to leave. It's always the same, the more time I have, the more I waste.

Last night was my last cooking session with the kids until after Christmas. Next week is a party night, and I'm helping out with that and then we're off until Christmas. It ended up being a lot of fun and I've said I'll do it again for the next session. I've made some new acquaintances as well. Who knows what friendships lie around the corner? God has been making me more aware of my lack of close everyday friends lately. I have friends, but most of them are more distant and I don't have people to talk to about day to day things. I know that if he's making me aware of something, then it's about to change!

The condo meeting ended up being a real brawl. Some young hot-head and his wife are trying to kick our present management out. It's so ridiculous, but it's also quite scary to see how much influence one couple can gather. Even some people that I've thought of a quite reasonable have been influenced. Thankfully our present management are calm and level-headed. In the end, we had the result we wanted, but I'm sure we're in for more trouble over the next few months.

At the end of the day, I was quite upset. I know that God is leading us towards another path, but there are many people who've lived here for years and this is their home. It's also our home, and has been for 12 years. I don't want to see some young yahoo's come in, upset everything and then move out a year or two later.

With all the emphasis on our neighbourhoods at church, I've been thinking about it more. I really don't know my neighbours here and have not felt God urging me to get to know them better. However, after Monday's meeting I now have more direction. I think there are a few specific families that he's telling me to get to know more, and I definitely know that I have to start praying for our development - actively praying! There are a lot of believers in here, and I know that God is watching over us and protecting us. That was evident in the outcome of the meeting.

With regards to finances, once again God came through and worked out a difficulty. I had faith that he would, but am still amazed at how he works. The last trustee payment is set to go through this week. What a great feeling it will be to have that resolved.

Also, the "crook" who gave us our 2nd mortgage (long story) owes us the $2000 holdback. He should have given us that money October 1st and we still haven't seen it. I've been pushing D to get that resolved, so hopefully I can put that behind us as well. Once the Consumer proposal has been disposed, we can look at redoing our present mortgage and clearing off the 2nd mortgage. That will also be a happy day. Right now we're throwing away $300/month just on interest!!

{To be fair, we got ourselves into the mess in the first place, and we had not choice in the 2nd mortgage if we wanted to keep the house. We knew we'd be making the interest payment each month, and I wouldn't have even minded the holdback except for the way the guy ended up doing business. He knew he had us over a barrel and took advantage of us. He put ridiculous clauses in the contract and sprung the holdback on us at the last minute. I don't like people who do business like that. Be up front and respectful. Yes, the mortgage helped us, but we ended up doing business with a crook}. Another chapter I'll be happy to learn from and put behind us.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Just another Manic Monday

The weekend retreat went well. The retreat center was ok, but not great. The setting was nice and the rooms were comfortable. But they seemed to only have double rooms (2 twin beds). I was lucky enough to have a room to myself, but other places I’ve been to give you the option when booking for single or double rooms. My other major complaint was that there were no locks on any of the rooms. When I’m away on a retreat, I don’t want to have to worry about carrying around my purse all the time. Also, I had a number of valuables with me, such as my iPod and speakers. Not something you want to just leave in an open room for the day.

The food was okay, but not spectacular. Again, other places I’ve been offer really “homemade” food. When you’re out in a nice rural setting, it’s nice to have good old-fashioned home cooking. There food was ok, but a bit processed for my liking.

But, overall the retreat was really great. People were open and got to know each other a bit better. Quite a few people only came up for the Saturday, but we still had a good group.

I picked up some great chicken slippers. They’re ohhh so soft, and really cute. I’ve wanted great big fluffy slippers for a long time, but haven’t been able to find ones that I like for a reasonable price. Walmart, $15. Everyone got a great kick out of them on the retreat.

It’s the condo meeting tonight. Should be interesting. The fees have gone up a LOT over the past year, and maintenance has been slipping. I was talking to J.J. today and she mentioned that there was a group of owners around back, I think B.M. is one of them, who are interested in taking over the Board from Wpond. D and I would be opposed to that. There are things we’re not thrilled about, but still think Wpond at the very worst is the better of 2 evils. We’ve seen what happens when owners get too involved in making the board decisions and it’s not pretty.

On another note, I did up the budget today, and tried to allot funds more realistically, including funds designated for food and gas. This month, as with every month, will be tight and we need to stick to the budget. With God’s help and guidance, it can be done. I’ve also sent it to D and let him know what I can pay out of the regular budget and what he will need to account for out of his Paypal funds. Hopefully this will help us keep on track too.

Oh well, work day is over now and time to head home, make dinner, then head out for our meeting. Another day done, and another day closer to Christmas….

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Week In Review

I know, I know, I haven’t written in a while. Not too much has happened over the past week – just the usual busy stuff. Money went haywire, but seems to be back in control now. Same old problem, thinking we have funds and spending without keeping track, only to find out that we’ve now overspent and are in trouble.

I know that God has instructed me that I need to make a more defined budget, including all items including food, gas, etc. As it is right now, I keep track of the bills and payments that I need to make, and then whatever is left over can be used for the daily stuff. But this isn’t working, because as soon as we get paid, we’re buying the things we need and then there isn’t enough at the end of the day.

This weekend is the Alpha retreat. Last Saturday’s Alpha was a really good discussion. I like being part of a more advanced group, it’s just odd being the only female in the group. I’m looking forward to getting away for the weekend and spending time alone with God. A nice quiet weekend to refresh and refocus. I hope that there will be a fair amount of quiet, alone time built in, but am a bit nervous as I really don’t know many of the other women in the program. I’m also not sure if I’ll have a room to myself or will be sharing with someone else. There are pros and cons to both, but I think overall I’d prefer a private room. But then again, it might be nice to bond with another woman. I haven’t done that for a while, probably not since I went away with L. on our Alpha retreat. So, God, I leave it in your hands – I know that you know what is best for me, and for anyone else as well.

I had some good news about L. this week She’s found a new job and is working right next door – in my old building for CGI. Now we’ll be able to get together for lunch occasionally. I really want to hook her up with J, since they go to the same church and now work in the same building. I think they’d get along well together.

Friday was R’s birthday, as well as D’s Mom’s. We took K out for dinner on Friday, as R was out at a youth group event for the evening. Saturday the whole family went to see Chicken Little (R’s choice) and then out for dinner afterwards. All in all, I think R had a good birthday, but it was a little sad for us as both kids are now officially teens. No more babies at home :-(

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Ok, now normally I use Halloween as a chance to be out and about in my neighbourhood. I know there's this big controversy and everything among Christians about it being the devil's day and all that. And certainly I am very sensitive to allowing influences from the spirit realm into our lives and the easy danger that can be. But when it comes to Halloween, I remember all the innocent fun I had with my brothers when I was a kid. As far as I am concerned, our kids have lost too much already. They can't play outside after school with the carefree attitude that we had, our world is much too dangerous for that these days. So, I say let them have what fun they can while they're young.

That said, this year I find myself suddenly so busy, and D ended up having to work both Sunday night and pulling a 12 hour shift on Monday, so he certainly wasn't around to help. J was going to a friend's house, as usual. Which left me, R and "the dog" on our own for the evening. Alone with a house to decorate, candies to buy, candies to shell out - and we normally get 100-150 kids coming around in the space of about 1-1/2 hours, as well as R to take around for his own trick or treating.

Have I intorduced you to "the dog" yet? I don't think so. He's a great big hulking thing - a cross between a german shepherd and a great dane. He looks like a shepherd, but has the dane deep chest and huge clunky feet. And he doesn't slope down in the back the way a shepherd does. Add to that doberman/rotti coloring on his face. You know, the black face with brown spots above the eyes? Overall he has a laid-back dane personality. A real pillow dog - until the doorbell rings, that is. Then he's a full blooded shepherd, guarding his flock from intruders.

So, that said, you can possibly see my dilema. Do I take R out trick or treating, and not give out candy myself and have the dog a nervous wreck by the time I get home, or do I make R stay home with me? The big question!

Well, I decided on neither. I decided to take a novel approach and bribe my son to forgo his trick or treating delight for this year. Instead, I offered him a trip to our local Walmart and $20 in hand to spend at his leasure. Whamo - a hit.

So, on Monday night I loaded the dog, R and myself into our minivan, drove off to the bank for funds, then to our local dog park so that the dog could have a nice run and get all his pent up energy out. We all donned our halloween finest - orange shirts all around - yes even the dog has an orange t-shirt. A couple of years ago Old Navy used to sell doggie t-shirts. They've discontinued them sadly, but they were the only canine garment I could find that would fit. So the dog has his orange "canine university" t-shirt and his green "12 dogs of Christmas" t-shirt. But I digress. Anyway, we took the dog for a run, then headed off to Walmart for an evening of fun browsing and shopping.

It ended up being a hit. R had a great time picking out some toys, we grabbed a bite afterwards and all in all it was a fun time spent with my son. And, I've heard from a couple of other mom's with sons around the same age, that the idea was a hit with them too. Maybe I've started a trend??!??