Is it well with my soul? and.. landscaping!

I have so much to share with what’s been going on, and I apologize (mostly to myself and this “diary” ) that I have been absent.  My sister who is in China right now reminded me again that it’s been awhile since i’ve written.

Let me start you off with some cute bird photos.. we put up 2 bird feeders about 3 weeks ago right outside our new dining room window, and I’m loving the activity we’re witnessing daily.  They’re especially active in the rain, which we’ve had a LOT of lately.  Like seriously… a LOT of rain.  We are nowhere near flooding like parts of 3 of our provinces, and other parts of the world  –  so we have nothing to complain about.  (reminder to self to pray for them..)

Our landscapers have been hard at work for over a week now getting going on our hard-scaping (interlock stone, driveway, patio etc) .. and I’ll share more about that in a minute.. but I want to talk first about something that happened this past Sunday.


Do you ever get that feeling that someone’s been praying for you?  Or do you ever have an exceptional softening of the heart – when you are suddenly slammed with the overwhelming cost and gift of our Saviour?  Both of these happened to me this last Sunday.   I am on one of our rotating worship teams at church – and I kinda went in to church this past Sunday to practice with a bit of an attitude.  I confess that.  One of the songs we were singing was not my favourite – to say the very least.  I won’t mention which one, but i was dreading leading it.

I wasn’t really ‘present’ during our group prayer times before service.. mostly focused on if my necklace was  hanging straight, and the scuffs on my shoes.  You know what i’m talking about…. you’ve done it.    Reminds me of this 4 year old praising her 2 yo brother at our dinner table last week during pre-dinner prayer…. “lookit!! (with pride) he has his eyes closed!!, good boy!”  … i had a hard time holding back my laughter.   Obviously, she was spending her whole time during prayer watching to see if he had his eyes open… HOW OFTEN DO WE DO THAT AS ADULTS???  We are so busy focusing on someone else’s faults, sins, if they’re doing things right, ready to judge… when we have a huge honking Redwood log in our own eye??

So, back to Sunday.  Service has started, and I’m now leading the congregation in worship, and have been given some scriptures to read between songs… and suddenly the worship package is speaking to/through me.. I’m not just leading, but I’m personally in full on worship..when i hadn’t been during practice.  I’m hearing, soaking in, and praising back to God the words of the songs. And it was completely overwhelming.

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Then we got to that amazing hymn, the last of our package.. “It is well with my soul”.   Now… if you’re like me, sometimes the over-familiar songs that we sing several times a year throughout our lives, sometimes we sing without anything sinking in.. just singing by rote and memory.. and your mind could be completely elsewhere.  “What’s for lunch?  I hope service doesn’t go long.. “so and so” isn’t here again this week.. hrm, wonder what’s up?… Oh man, that lady behind me is SO offkey!  What is HE wearing??  I can’t hear the drums.. That guitar is TOO loud.. oh look at that cute baby!! ….hey, we should invite that new family over for lunch”   This was NOT the case for me this past Sunday.

We got to Verse 2… and I started to fall apart right there on stage, facing 125+ people.. tears began to stream down my face, and my voice was gone.  I could only whisper as I bawled… Those tears are present again now, as I write.  “Let this blest assurance control that Christ has regarded my helpless estate, and has shed HIS OWN BLOOD for my soul”…  then when verse 3 came, I just started sobbing right there on stage…  “My sin.. OH THE BLISS of this GLORIOUS THOUGHT… my sin, not in part, but the WHOLE.. is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more.. Praise the Lord  – PRAISE THE LORD!! oh my soul!!”

I wasn’t crying from sadness, or pain, or because anything particular was going on in my life that I was dealing with or upset about.. .. but the overwhelming gratefulness and words I can’t describe just came over me.. that Christ loves me so deeply, that He died for me, the worst of sinners.. while i continue to sin, and battle “while Satan buffets, and trials come..”  Yes, it IS well with my soul.. but ONLY because of Christ, and the work He did on the cross.  Not because of anything I’ve done.    It really IS Finished.  I may not be finished sinning or living on this crumbling earth.. but His work is finished.. from now to eternity.  He has paid it all.

Wow.

Thankfully it was the last song of the set before the speaker came on stage, I had some serious clean up to do. 🙂   One fleeting thought I had as I exited stage left.. ‘I really need to wear waterproof makeup on Sundays’

After the service, this dear elderly lady came up to me, and said some really kind things about the worship, and then told me that she prays for Bill & I every day.   And I wondered.. what exactly does she pray?  Cause I think that she was praying a prayer I had NOT been praying for myself… and it was answered.                Amen.


 

Our landscapers called out of the blue on the Thursday before Easter –  they were ready to come early! YAY!  We had finally cleaned out all the storage across the street, and the stone/wood out of our driveway, so we were almost ready.. but suddenly we had to clean up our gardens, remove, move and/or give away several peonies, garlic, and rhubarb.  Problem was, we had only Easter weekend to do it – when it POURED rain all weekend, the only times it didn’t, we were either at church or at a family dinner.  So poor Guillermo soaked through several layers of clothing, several times while he worked tirelessly.

Between a dear cousin and my brother in law, all the peonies were gone on Saturday, and we had all the rhubarb and some garlic moved before Monday as well.   I was able to give some of both away as well.. it’s always nice to see it go to good homes. 🙂

Here’s our driveway “before” pic.   it was in really bad shape before we started the renovation/addition, and we understood why when they peeled off the “very thin” layer of asphalt, that was almost directly on top of spongy clay.

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And here’s some of the work that’s been going on the last week and a half.

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Machines have arrived, and the original asphalt is torn out
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view from garage man door of new driveway area
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new walkway beside garage to…
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new interlock patio going behind house, complete with lots of drainage tile for our wet backyard
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double wide driveway all excavated (note the stone pile ON the street across from our house)
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view from back yard
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first layer of stone in and tamped down

Something “interesting” happened this first week, that you may have noted in a couple of the above photos…  There was no room on our property for the excavated dirt and the deliveries of stone that came in.. so they dumped it RIGHT ON THE STREET, across from our house.  And just as I was thinking on the drive home from work one day.. “oh man, this is gonna be the week that the Town’s street sweeper comes along..”  I turned the corner onto our street, and there he was, going around the pile of dirt.   SMH (‘shaking my head’ for those of you who are not used to texting shorthand… )

 

It all worked out, and we really do have the most fabulous neighbours.. who we owe a huge thank you to..

I’ll be back hopefully in a few days with more photos and updates as to where the landscaping is at.. in the meantime, here’s a teaser to an upcoming post…

“Guillermo baked a cake”

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Published by billandamyskitchen

Bill (Guillermo 'cause he likes pretending he knows Spanish) and I (Amy) have been married since Sept 2005. We live in Southern Ontario, Canada - Niagara Peninsula in fact, smack dab between 2 of the Great Lakes. We love God, our family, our church family, and making each other laugh. (ergo the profile pic, he decided to make our photographer laugh by throwing a leg up on me just before the shutter clicked, which made ME laugh) When we married, I told Bill: "I don't know how to cook" but he had faith in me. So 15 years later, I'm still learning, and having fun. I've never (in my whole life) cooked a whole bird, chicken, turkey or otherwise. I've never roasted a beef, other than in a crockpot on low for 8 hrs. I like trying to find healthy & easy recipes and then I rarely follow them. I don't enjoy recipes that take hours or intricate steps. I have a special fondness for the Podleski sisters, writers/creators of the Looney Spoons, Crazy Plates and Yum/Yummer cookbooks. In 2018 we suddenly decided to rip our small house apart from stem to stern, moving out for 4.5 months while the house was demolished inside and out, and then rebuilt with an addition. If you go back in the archives to July-Dec 2018 you can follow that story. It's made our house open and so much more conducive to entertaining, small groups and large. It's given us the kitchen I've dreamed of to create and learn in. We feel incredibly blessed to be able to write about our journey, our faith in God and some fun recipes along the way. Thanks for joining us.

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