Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Garage Sale Chronicles - Part 3

It Takes More Than a Village!

I am so grateful for my friends!  I often ask God why He chooses to bless me so!  There is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY this garage sale would have ever happened without them!  EVER!

A week before the sale, I got a call from my friend Tina, the garage sale guru.  She is the woman with the plan!!!  We decided to meet at Sheri's garage early on Saturday morning Oct. 8 to start organizing, sorting & pricing. 

Tina of course was the first one there.  She beat me by about 15 or 20 minutes and already had things well under way.  THANK YOU TINA!!!

My friend Rene volunteered to help with prep work too.  Her neighbor Deanne, who gave us our first donations after her yard/moving sale, still had some furniture that she needed us to pick up for our sale.  Fortunately, my husband had the day off from work and was able to meet Rene at Deanne's house. 

 Rene also recruited her son Daniel and his muscles to help.  Thanks Daniel!

Here's my hubby moving the furniture.  Note Tina in fast motion beside him
just pricing away!

Here's Sheri's beautiful daughter Kaylee testing out the chairs for us.

We worked for several hours.  Did I mention that I'm so thankful for my friends??!!!

While sorting clothes, I found this...
a shirt made in Zimbabwe AFRICA!  Just a little reminder of why we were doing the garage sale in the first place.  God is so good!

These ladies thought we were already having the sale and they stopped by to shop.  They were our first customers - a week early.  We made $27.00 that day - YAY GOD!

 Here's Tina (left) and Rene (right) having lots of fun!

This is what the garage looked like when we left for the day.

 When I got home, here's what I had waiting for me on the porch from my friend Tonia!

On Sunday after church, I went by Tina's house and picked up more donations that my friend Heidi had given her.

My van was so full with Tonia's donations in the back & Heidi's in the middle that Faith Wrenn had to lay down in the backseat all the way home!

Once at home, I got a text about some furniture that my friend Stacey wanted to donate.  Shawn & I went to pick it up after lunch.
 And check out God's perfect timing!  Stacey's next door neighbors are Audrey & Jared, who also go to our church.  Jared pulled up just in time to help Shawn move furniture!  My back is forever grateful!

 As it turns out, Audrey had some things to donate too.  YAY!!!
Here's Stacey (left) and Audrey (right).  THANKS LADIES!!!

One of Tina's pearls of garage sale wisdom was to have tables, tables, and more tables.  Things sell better if people can see them easily.  And the tables we had were already full.  So, on Saturday morning after unloading the furniture, Shawn and Daniel went to pick up 5 or 6 tables from my friend Gail.

Thanks Gail!!!  By the time we left on Saturday, these tables were full too!

I put a request for more tables on Facebook.  My friend Monique posted it on her fb page too and 2 of her friends immediately responded!

This is Laura.  She did not know me, but she let me borrow her tables anyway! 

This is Angie.  We were in MOPS together last year, but we had never met each other personally.  Yet, she also let me borrow her tables. 
Doesn't God just amaze you?  I love watching Him work!

Check out this sweet family: Teresa, Gordon & Ryan.  You will hear more about them, along with their other son Brandon, in Part 4 (the day of the actual sale.)  Prior to the sale, they let me borrow tables, and they made lots of donations!  THANK YOU!!!

 Even at night, in the dark & rain - THANKS JAMIE!

And during the work day - THANKS MOM AND AUNT MELYNDA!

And on her day off - THANKS CATHY!

These are Sheri's neighbors who donated tables and helped set up & work the sale bright & early on Saturday morning!  We had never met before.  THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Bill and Anita donated some things and stopped by to encourage us - while going through chemo treatments!  We are praying for you ANITA!

Kathy dropped off some donations & got to hang out with Kaylee too!  BONUS! 

On Thursday, God blessed me with some incredible helpers!

Diane started out by helping Sheri pack the playroom inside.  But, then she ended up helping me outside.  THANKS DIANE!

Being pregnant didn't stop Audrey from coming to help for several hours.  

Here's Debbie working hard AFTER her doctor's appointment and physical therapy!  WOW!  THANKS DEBBIE!

Now, here's a true friend!  Heidi covered up her Clemson shirt for the picture withOUT me having to ask!  And the hours she put into the sale were just beginning.  THANKS HEIDI!

Let me introduce you to "The Hole" underneath Sheri & Bradd's house filled with stuff for the garage sale!!!  S.C.A.R.Y.

So, God in all of His faithfulness sent these wonderful, brave folks to tackle "The Hole!"  They came to my rescue during their Life Group meeting time!

From left to right: Tim, Sean, Mendy & Jenny
And in about an hour and 15 minutes, they had EVERYTHING organized and priced!!!  OUTSTANDING!!!
As they walked down the driveway to leave, I was overcome with emotion.  The presence of God was so strong.  I knew I was looking at the hands & feet (& sinuses) of Jesus!!!
Greg and Chris
See how excited they were too!!!  There is NO WAY "The Hole" would have been ready for the garage sale without them!  THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

Sean was having an Ecuador flashback!

Ashley is a part of the Life Group too.  She graciously helped me in the garage. THANKS ASHLEY!  *Ashley and Greg also brought several tables with them for us to use from their next door neighbor Shannon (who's in Bible study with me.)  THANKS SHANNON!

 Check out our garage sale mascot...thanks for volunteering Greg!

Susan also dropped off a donation and bought this fantastic glider rocker while she was there.  This is exactly what she was looking for.  Susan and her family are adopting a baby girl from India & she needed a rocker.  God's provision!

Let me also mention that my friend Rene helped me on this day too.  She drove to Indian Land to pick up some donations from Janet (from church.)  THANKS JANET!  She also brought some donations from Barbara (from church.)  THANKS BARBARA!  What a TREMENDOUS help and friend - THANKS SO VERY MUCH RENE!

After more than 12 hours of unpacking, organizing, sorting, folding, and pricing today, here are the fruits of our labor.  It's a bit overwhelming, huh??!!!

Only one more day of prep before the big sale. I see an all nighter in my future!

Oh, it definitely takes more than a village.  It takes the body of Christ.

Amongst all of the crazy garage sale prep, I was still able
to have lunch with one of my favorite college students!  
Thanks for hanging out with me, Lauren :)

Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Writing on the Wall

I co-lead a 5th grade small group on Sunday mornings, and my daughter Faith Wrenn is in my group.  This month, we have been focusing on creativity - using your imagination to do something unique.  This morning, our Bible lesson came from Matthew 5:13-16 - the Sermon on the Mount.

Jesus said,
   “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
   “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."

During our small group time, I had my students share some of their favorite verses from the Bible.  Then, I had them use their creativity by graffiting the verses on the walls.  (Don't worry, we have permission to decorate our room any way we want & I can't think of a better way than with God's Word :)

Faith Wrenn told me she wanted to put all of Psalm 3 on the wall.  I asked her to just pick a couple of verses instead.  So, here is what she wrote...

"Arise, O LORD!
Deliver me, O my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked.

From the LORD comes deliverance.
May Your blessing be on Your people." Psalm 3:7-8

I'll be honest with you.  When I first read it, I thought to myself "Oh my!  Verse 7 is a rather vivid & strong verse. Ummm, I don't know if it should be on the wall for 5th graders to read each week.  Not to mention that it was the teacher's daughter that wrote it!"

(Yes I know.  I sound rather prideful.  Don't worry, God took care of that before I ever left church this morning.)

After church, I was standing in the parking lot socializing.  My friends Sean & Mendy pulled up beside me in their car to talk for a minute.  Then, my sister pulled up behind them.  Meanwhile, my children were in the van waiting on me so we could leave.  Nearly everyone else had already gone.

Well, Faith Wrenn got hot and wanted to turn the air on in the van.  So, she walks over to me to get the keys.  As soon as I handed them to her, she takes off running in front of Sean & Mendy's car heading back to the van.  Out of the corner of my eye, I see a blur of blue.

It took a second for everything to register.  But, I soon realized that the blur of blue was a young man driving very fast around my sister's car and around Sean & Mendy's car.  I knew Faith Wrenn couldn't see him & he sure couldn't see her.

So, I screamed at Faith Wrenn!  Loudly!  Repeatedly! 

Thankfully, she stopped and looked back at me!!!!  One more step and she would have been hit by that fast moving car!!!!  I still want to throw up just thinking about it as I type this.  It was that close.  It was way too close.

Once I stopped shaking, God brought Psalm 3:7-8 to my mind.  He said to me in my spirit, "Nancy, I fulfilled those verses for Faith Wrenn today!  I struck her enemy (satan) on the jaw and broke some of his teeth just now!  I delivered your daughter from her enemy who was prowling around looking to kill, steal, and destroy!"

I was speechless. And VERY, VERY GRATEFUL!!! 

You see, as Shawn & I have been preparing for Africa, the level of spiritual warfare has been on the rise.  Just yesterday I had a heart-sinking feeling and a moment of fear when  I thought about what satan may do to try to keep us out of Africa - like targeting my children, for example.

Then, Faith Wrenn was almost hit by a car in the church parking lot today!!!  BUT GOD CRUSHED HER ENEMY AND DELIVERED HER!!!  THANK YOU LORD!!! 

Needless to say, I will never look at Psalm 3:7-8 the same way again!  Each week when I see it on the wall, it will be a reminder of how God fought for my daughter, protected her and safely delivered her from harm.  I am so thankful that according to Exodus 15:3, my God is a warrior!!!

Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,

Saturday, October 22, 2011


In the Bible, God emphasizes how important it is for us to remember Him and what He has done for us. 

That's what I've been doing today.  Remembering. 

Remembering my God and His promises. 
Remembering His overwhelming presence and His peace. 
Remembering His faithfulness. 
Remembering His answered prayers. 
Remembering the rainbows He sent me. 
Remembering all the people He put in my path. 
Remembering how He took such good care of me through His people.    


And Praising.

Praising God for NEVER changing.
Praising Him for NEVER leaving me.
Praising Him for keeping ALL of His promises.
Praising Him for my friends and their prayers.
Praising Him for the medical profession & medicine.
Praising Him for my salvation through Jesus Christ.
Praising Him for His plans for my life.


It was one year ago today that I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  What a difference a year makes.  What a difference a personal relationship with Jesus Christ makes! 

I've had some very sweet and personal moments with my Savior today.  He is so amazing!  I want to share one of them with you. 

Last year when I received my diagnosis, no one was with me.  When I got in my car and started to pull out of the parking lot, this car tag caught my eye......

(I made it my screen saver on my cellphone and it's still there today.)  God spoke so loud and clear to me through this tag and the Scripture it pointed me to.  I knew He was with me and had some things He wanted me to know.  So, I pulled over, grabbed my Bible and read Psalm 91 out loud.  Oh, what a tender time He and I had together!

Today, I found myself in another parking lot having yet another tender time with the Lord as I recalled everything He has done for me this past year.  This morning, I was in the Wal-Mart parking lot, when I sang "The Revelation Song" to Him at the top of my lungs through tears of appreciation.   

Shortly after that while buying groceries, I received a text from a friend.  Her text said...

"Hey. Rode up to the mountains for the day and just saw a license plate that said Psalms 28:7.  Have my Bible with me.  Looked it up and it is a great reminder.  Just thought I'd share.  Have a great day."

Psalm 28:7 says,
"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him and I am helped.  My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song."

O.H. M.Y.!!!!!  My friend had no idea, but God sure did!!!!!  I sang to Him in the parking lot, and He sang back to me in the freezer section!  He heard my "joyful noise" and responded!  ONLY GOD!!! 


I am in awe.

And talk about full circle - through car tags of all things!!! 

God uses it ALL!  That is why we must make the most of every opportunity we have to share Jesus and His Truth with everyone we can - even with our car tags or bumper stickers or car magnets.  Whatever it takes.


And did you see what I wrote about Africa on my blog post a year ago??!!!  If not,  check it out.  You will find what I'm referring to right ABOVE the 91 Psalms car tag picture.  I can't believe that!!!  ONLY GOD!!!  And to think that I will actually be in Africa in 9 weeks!!!  CRAZY!!!  Africa was NOT on my radar yet when I made that comment a year ago either!!!  I was trying to talk my husband into moving to South America! 

GOD IS SO INCREDIBLE!!!  He wasn't kidding when He said He knows the plans He has for us, huh??!!!  Or when He had Paul write this...

"For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."  Ephesians 2:10

God has plans for you too, my friend.  No matter what is happening in your life today.

Remember what He has done for you and trust Him with your future.

Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Garage Sale Chronicles - Part 2


The second donation call came Saturday morning, October 1.  It was from Matt, one of our youth ministers, inviting me to have all of the leftovers from his & Meghan's garage sale that morning.  I grabbed Tanner and the truck keys and off we went - eventually.

When I got to the truck, I found this...

left over from a previous camping trip.  So Faith Wrenn helped me throw unload everything into a pile on the ground.  I must of gotten hit in the head during the process because I let Tanner do this...

in our neighborhood.  Fortunately, Tanner is very cautious and is my "rules" kid.  He did very well.  I, on the other hand, kept repeating Philippians 4:6....."Do not be anxious about anything....." to myself. 

Once at Matt & Meghan's house, we loaded everything up. 

Then Carla, who also goes to our church, came over and offered her garage sale leftovers too.  (Several houses on their street had garage sales that morning.)  What a blessing for them to donate to us!

The front seat

The back seat

The back of the truck

With the truck bursting at the seams, I called Sheri and arranged to drop off everything at her house.

Rene showed up too - just in time to help us unload and lay claim to part of Sheri & Bradd's garage.
Sheri (left) and Rene (right)
As soon as I got home, Tanner & I put all of the firewood BACK into the truck. (Remember, God told me He would provide for Africa but it would cost me something/a sacrifice just like David in 2 Samuel 24:18-25.  Well today, it cost me physical labor - unloading & reloading this wood.  My back was not amused!)  God is so faithful and true to His Word.

When I walked into the house, Faith Wrenn handed me a phone number and told me to call Mrs. Robin.  So I did.

Robin goes to our church, and her daughter is a missionary who just recently came back to the states.  Her daughter & some of her friends had a garage sale that morning to raise money for a specific need.  Robin had the leftovers packed in her van and wanted to bring them over. 


Then, my neighbors Stephanie & Jody brought over some things.  They are moving to the mission field in Ghana, Africa in November along with their 2 children.  They had several things to donate as they are packing up to go. 

What a beautiful example of Matthew 28:19-20...Jesus said, "Therefore GO and MAKE DISCIPLES of all nations, BAPTIZING THEM in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and TEACHING THEM to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Tuesday morning at Bible study, Sheri tells me that things were getting crazy with the sale of their house.  A home inspection had been done by a company from NC and had resulted in a 56 page report!!!  The potential homeowners were freaking out, as you can imagine.  Sheri & Bradd were not happy either.  So, Sheri wasn't sure if they would actually be moving now.  I offered to have the garage sale somewhere else, but she assured me that moving or not, they still needed to clean out lots of stuff, and the garage sale would go on as planned. 

***Thankfully, the majority of the items on the inspection report were very minor (burned out light bulbs, things not working because they were not turned to the proper setting, tightening this & that, etc.)  Everything worked out, and they officially closed yesterday (Thursday October 20)!!!***  YAY GOD!

Meanwhile, more donations kept coming in.  Here's Jordan and Heidi bringing things to my van.

When my children could no longer get to their computers in our office, I knew it was time to take another load to Sheri's!

So I loaded up the truck and moved it to Eppington.  South that is.  No swimming pool but Amazing Friends.  (Sorry about that, I must confess that I have watched the Beverly Hillbillies a few mornings this past week - for old time's sake.)
More physical labor/sacrifice
I'm just praying that my back doesn't give out until AFTER the garage sale

The donations kept coming.  I found these bags waiting for me from Kim V. one night.  
She brought them when she dropped her son off for the 9th grade boys small group that meets at our house on Thursdays.

On Friday, I picked up lots of things from Kelly who cleaned out her guest room to make way for baby Michael's nursery.  How EXCITING!
Also, my sister & brother-in-law JEff Guest donated clothes that my 3 year old niece had outgrown. 

You can see Grace's head on the left looking at her daddy.  She would not let me take her picture so her daddy took her spot.  He also very graciously laid in the floor so I could see him through my mega zoom lens!  What a good sport! I still had to stand on the stairs to take this shot. It would have been easier if I would have just changed my lens, but I tend not to do things the easy way :)
Not only did God provide all of these donations for us to sell, He also gave me 2 special gifts.

Since we moved into our house just over 2 years ago, I have been wanting some lamps to go in our entry way.  Often, I would find some I liked, but they were too expensive.  I just couldn't justify spending the money.  My budget wouldn't allow it.
So imagine my excitement when I found these lamps in the garage sale leftovers from Matt & Meghan's house!!! 

ONLY GOD!!!  He provided them for me!  They were exactly what I have been looking for!

And gift number 2 was an answer to prayer as well. 

When I've gone on mission trips in the past, I've always taken Shawn's bookbag with me.  It is what I use each day to carry my supplies in.  Since Shawn & I will be going to Africa together, I knew he would need his bookbag, and I would need my own.  So a few months ago, I started praying specifically for God to provide a bookbag.  I've been to Goodwill several times looking for one, but never found anything.

Imagine how giddy I was when God provided these through the garage sale donations!!! 

Why 2 bags you ask.  Well, Tanner's school books are so heavy that he has started using Shawn's bookbag everyday now.  So, God provided 2 more to make sure everyone in my family has what they need while we're in Africa!!! 

GOD JUST BLOWS ME AWAY!!!!!  His tenderness towards me is often more than I can stand!  He takes such good care of His children!  He deserves all the praise and all the glory!

ISN'T GOD SO INCREDIBLE??!!!  Stay tuned because there is SO MUCH MORE to come.

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."  Ephesians 3:20-21

Loving HIM with all my heart & soul, Nancy