Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner!

Well, how about a chainsaw bear instead of a chicken dinner!
Since I have now become a pro-raffler, I decided to go all official.
The kids helped.

We busted out the tickets.And I let my 5 year old David close his eyes and reach in and grab a ticket:

Cecilia Long is the winner!!!! Congrats!!!
Cecilia is a long time friend from college and sorority sister. We re-connected via blog world and have been able to keep up with eachother!!
Thanks again not only to Cecilia, but to every person that takes the time out to read about our crazy journey.
I LOVED doing the raffle and have future plans for another one =)
I re-re-re did our bedroom again so next post will be pics of it! Sold the $50 set I had for $300. So, get ready for the newest bedroom furniture, ha!

Tim has just finished 2 weeks of his job, CRAZY!!! I think I failed to mention that he was literally hired the day of interview and has been working non-stop since! Everything is going amazing besides me just trying to adjust to the ricochet of emotions that we just had!
Time to get this place cleaned up (if you cant tell by that last pic up there).
Happy Friday and thanks again to all of our readers!


GIVE-AWAY to followers!!!!

So, Tim and I want to THANK YOU for all of the messages, emails, phone calls, and just prayers!

I have never done a giveaway before, but really wanted to.
I feel like it is an appropriate time to send out a thank you gift to one of our faithful followers!

As a gift,to be a conversational piece and a little bit of tim and jen in your house..... we are giving away a chainsaw bear!!!! Hand carved by Tim, this baby will be shipped straight to you!!

I am going to enter all the names of our followers in a jar and draw one on Friday Jan. 27th. I would love to know who my followers/readers are so this would be fun for both of us! We had over 300 people visit and read our story on last Monday alone! So I know you are out there... Please sign in on the sidebar and follow along to win an awesome chainsaw bear! Jump on the crazy train =)
*I will announce winner and then I will get the shipping address from there!

These make great gifts, and we don't care if you re-gift it to someone. They retail anywhere from $75-$125.
(They are about 2 feet tall by 12 inches wide)
Here is a picture of a few of the ones he made at Christmas:

To end, I have an update:
Overwhelmed. Encouraged. Blessed. Those are the emotions we have been experiencing the past 7 days. Tomorrow will mark one week of an amazing new phase of life we have entered. Tim was telling our pastor about his first week this morning and he described our emotions perfectly when he told him, "We are kinda afraid to exhale right now...."
I think when you have been hit blow by blow for an extended period of time..... you become defensive at life.... We have to fight the urge of feeling like something bad is about to wipe us out again. You throw your arms up to protect what feels like is about to fall. We are slowly trying to rest in God's goodness and His peace right now. It is hard, actually. But, we are learning.

The out-pouring we have had from family, friends, and complete strangers via my blog has blown us out of the water. I know that "bad/sad stories" suck in people all over the blog community. Does misery love company? Apparently so. Anyway, we are excited to share our stories because God always comes through. There is a good ending to most of our stories. Sometimes have loss without a pot of gold at the end, especially miscarriages, but have gained so much inwardly. He holds all things together. He has held us together. And that's why we share. We decided when we were 18 and started dating we would live a transparent life. We feel as if it's our calling. My prayer is that people will draw nearer to God b/c of our testimony.


And They Lived Happily Ever After

..... Or at least until my next blog post. A girl can dream, right?! This is worth your read if you can hang....

Oh, the places you will go. Oh, the places we have been.

To re-cap our 8 years in a few short lines:

2004-2006. Newly weds. On staff w/ Campus Outreach at University of Georgia. Athens. Bought first home, renovated cosmetically. Pregnant w/ David

2006-2010. Moved to Canton for Tim's season in Sales. Lived in a new construction home. Several jobs, but same industry. 2 Sales companies went under, over 4 years he learned this industry wasn't for him. David born in 06. Mackenzie born in 08.

2010-2012. All hell broke loose. Sold our home we had our babies in 13 days after it was on the market. The week of closing, Tim was laid off his final sales job with God telling him to get out. Miscarriages out the wazoo, moved in with Tims parents, the buyer that was supposed to buy Nellie Mae walked out so the door opened for us. We bought her, fully renovated her, and are going to own her soon. Tim desired to pick up a "trade", found HVAC, and then a full scholarship was funded for him. A random stranger gave us a playground. I started a house cleaning business that became way more popular than I ever intended- 13 homes at the peak, now I have 1 sweet family I can only handle. Tim had an awesome job offer mid-school with a man that was able to pour into him and teach him everything he knew. And so the story continues...

2012-???? And here we are my friends. Are you ready for this bomb to drop? Because we weren't.
The week of Christmas there was no work for Tim. The week after Christmas there was no work for Tim. The first week of the new year there was no work for Tim. After long conversations, Tim quickly learned that things weren't going oh-so-hot with the company. To leave out details that don't help anyone, there was going to be no more work for Tim. Only enough work to sustain the owner.... and not any employees. Once this information was learned, we had to act quick.
After a day of panicking, we both had to snap out of it and get a plan. We are so thankful for Dave Ramsey in our life, because at these moments, all your financial crap matters. No debt. No car payments. No credit cards. Just food and lights. We could handle this storm. We went into it as confident as possible.
Tim quickly put his resume together- which by the way- looks freaking amazing. Along with his 4 year degree from college, he has a 2 year Heating and Air degree and an Associates in Applied Sciences, along with 2 years residential/light commercial experience. (all come May- hallelujah)
For 9 days, every door slammed shut. Every rug got pulled out from under us. Nothing. nothing. We were going on 4 weeks of no income.
Tim was contacting only the people that were in this industry and family that could pray. Our small group at church prayed over us with prayers that could move mountains. I didnt tell many of our other friends in fear that they would run- run far from the couple that seems to have so much drama! The Lord was truly holding us all together b/c honestly.... a numbness had set in on me. I just couldn't even come to grip with any sort of emotion. Just numb.
I just knew God had to show up. Had we really sacrificed EVERYTHING to get NOWHERE? I really did have it out with God. It was so out of Tim's control that it was blatantly God picking us up and choosing to put us elsewhere. Its like when you pick up a toddler against their will. They dont like it so much, right?! Was he going to lead us down this road, drop us off, and bail out?? Where was he? Why in the world did he leave us??? ...... so I thought.

On Thursday, we solemnly made a plan. We would not give up. We would continue to fight when we did not see God or get answers from him. Thursday Tim went and applied to deliver pizzas. He was going to be doing SOMETHING when he was called for an interview. To show he works his tail off no matter what. I was trying to line up a nanny job/another house cleaning/ something-anything that you could do with 2 little ones not in school. (which by the way, there isn't a lot out there for that- just so ya know.) Our plan was sucky, but we were a team.

Thursday night the phone rings. Long time friends of ours, Cody and Kristen, had set Tim up with and awesome connection a few weeks ago. Cody went to school with a now CEO of a Commercial HVAC company and set a lunch up with Tim. Tim had met with him, before any crap was hitting the fan, just to talk about his HVAC future and how to break into the commercial field. Its super stable and a whole different ballgame professionally. Anyway, Tim had emailed him and let him know what had transpired since the new year. This man had some great connections. Well, our phone rang Thursday night and it was for a commercial interview the very next morning.

I can't even begin to express the way God moved so quick, powerfully, and how He orchestrated one of the most merciful acts I have experienced. Its like he literally picked us up from the temporary pit of hell we were living in and placed us on top of a mountain. A safe place. The storm was over.

So many details, but Tim got the Commercial Job. It was his dream job when he entered this industry. It is the top of the diagnostic level of which he has studied. His interview was 4 hours and full of tests which he aced and he signed with them today. It is the best job he has ever had. Mainly b/c he is living out his God-given talents. Instead of residential houses, his clients are hotels, large companies, restaurants, ect.

We are filled with joy, humility, and an awe-ness of God. However, a few weeks ago we were just living life and had NO idea the crazy train that was about to pick us up. We are still experiencing a numbness, but looked at eachother today, just smiled, and Tim said to me, "it was worth it. Every sacrifice we made for the past 2 years paid off today. I could have never done it without you by my side, cleaning houses at the low points, and staying at home with our kids"

It is in these deep moments of joy, our marriage is cemented together. We are SO in this together. Tim and I met when we were 18. No life circumstance, job, house, miscarriage, child, car, career path, or whatever the heck will hit us next is going to take us down.

So, here is to a new chapter. Tim achieved his goal. We are here. Will it be happily ever after? I'd like to think so. We have been able to follow out the dreams we had together.

I have these closing things to say about the past 2 weeks and 2 years as a whole.

Cor 4:17-18
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

It is the daily strivings that count, not the momentary heights- God Calling, John Hunt

Lastly, I picked Mackenzie up from her sunday school class at church. She kept rocking herself back and forth. Back and forth. Being a new 3 year old, I ignored it. She continued in the car and all the way home. Finally at lunch, I began to get annoyed and sputtered, "Mackenzie, what are you doing?! Stop it!" (My nerves have also been just SHOT, okay?)
Mackenzie replied, "The boat is rocking mommy, the boat is rocking."
Me- "What boat honey? What are you talking about?"
Mackenzie- "My teacher said the boat was rocking b/c of the storm. And we rocked in the boat in class."
Quickly, I realized my sweet child telling me about her lesson I failed to ask about that day.
Mackenzie- "Mommy, the boat is rocking b/c of the storm, but Jesus came and he say, STOP! and the boat stopped mommy. Jesus made the storm go away."

"Yes He did honey, yes He did."

Wow, He didn't have to. And we don't deserve it, but He did.



* Raffle Update: Thank you to everyone that donated to our best friends adoption. The raffle and match was a total of $800. May God bless your generosity. Winner: Katie Reeves

I wish I could take you into my life for even a week. I seriously think one day Tim and I will write a best selling book.
2012 has tried to kick our ass and its only been 7 days.

Just being honest.

You wouldn't even believe the details of the below scenarios if I told them to you. But I will give a summary.

Tims job slowed down. I mean SLOWED down. To the point where he is waiting for another door to open in this industry he loves and God clearly has ordained him here. We have peace in that. But, when work comes to a hault and you are a 1 income family. What do you do?
Panic? doesnt work.
Cry? doesnt change things.
Get mad? doesnt change the original problem.

As rational as you can be, I am thankful to know the Lord. Because, HE, only HE can calm the waters and PROVIDE.

Industrious. Hard working. Resourceful. Those are words that describe my man.
At Tims slowest part of the season, he started making chainsaw bears as a joke, well it turned into a Christmas Bonanza. I kid you not.... the man sold $2,000 in chainsaw bears. Seriously? Seriously.

Over Christmas, a lady pulled into our driveway, rolled down her window, and gave Tim a Christmas card with $100 in it. We don't know her. Tim opened it as she left and walked in, white-faced. I asked Tim why and what else she said, and all she said was that Jesus told her to give that to us. Here is the card, which sits on our shelf as a promise of God's commitment to us on this path he has put us on!!

On top of work being slow for him and having to maybe change course with another company, his transmission died in his truck. A great time for that to happen. We considered being a 1 car family, but with him working, in his LAST semester of school, me taking David to preschool, and also me not ripping the walls down being house-bound.... we decided that may not be the greatest idea.

We are Dave Ramsey people. We dont believe in debt. Period. So, we sold his truck for what it was worth. 1000.00. How sad is that? We used some Emergency Fund dollars and bought this car:

Can you believe it? $1900. I'm dead serious. God totally provided this. It's not a Beemer, but I think its kinda cute. I didnt even know you could buy a car for $1900. Well you can. And we did.

On top of that, we have some doors in front of us. Praise the Lord for doors to open, right?
We are in deep prayer for direction. Provision. Wisdom. Asking God to clearly help us make the right steps into whatever change has to be made. Would you pray for us?

The great thing about living in a house you are going to flip is that when stress comes, you can channel ALL your frustration to a project. And my friends, that is what we did. We built a deck. Please visit Nellie Mae and check it out. The deck makes us happy. We are now only 1 step away from this house being ready to sell. No gun is to our head with that..... and we will stay until we are darn well finished here. And we aren't there yet.

So, we are again, fighting back. Fighting to follow God, trusting Him for His best, and not being afraid of what the next step is. Bring it on, 2012. We have the full armor of God on right now and know that...
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 1 john 4:4

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Rom. 8:32

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