Monday, July 15, 2013

Julia here.

After a lifetime in the "church," here's what I'm just now learning:

As believers, we have what we need. By definition, the regenerated Christian has the Spirit (Acts 2:38, Romans 8:9).

We don't have to ask for love, joy, peace, patience, or any other of the fruit of the Spirit, because we were given the Spirit when we were regenerated. We already possess these things through the Spirit who was poured into our hearts (Rom 5:5). The only thing we are told to ask for is wisdom (James 1:5-8).  

I'm just learning these things, and I'm thinking there may be others who have followed a similar path. So I share. I'm learning to walk in the Spirit, to CLAIM these benefits as His adopted child. To live what I say I believe. I have been removed from the category of "condemned sinner" to "new creation."  For years I would whine, bemoaning that fact that I still sin. But now I try to focus on the benefits of being a regenerated child of the Father who gives us, by His power, everything we need for life and godliness. We can, and should, exercise our wills to plug into the power that is ALREADY ours. (1 John 2:1; Colossians 1:9-14, 19-23; Colossians 3:1-4; Galatians 5:16).  It is a choice. I can listen to the lies of the Enemy, who wants to render me ineffective and unfruitful as I wallow in defeat. Or I can tell myself the truth about who YHWH and Christ are, who I am in Christ, and what benefits I possess as an adopted child, and what responsibilities fall to me as Christ's ambassadress. Which do you think glorifies and pleases our Creator?

"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20.                      

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." 2 Corinthians 5:17

We. Don't. Have. To. Sin.                                       

One of the keys to succes in that realm is: to "let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." Colossians 2:20

Monday, July 8, 2013

Our New Home, Part 2

The Lord's hand has so obviously been guiding and providing in every step of the process of bringing together the Community Christian Church-Durant and the David Kautt family.  Our housing is no exception.

Phoebe has posted pictures and I told you about how we landed on this particular home. Now I want to give you some particulars that continue to amaze me.  Even though they may seem insignificant to others, they speak volumes to me of our Heavenly Father's care for us. Evidently He has taken delight in delighting us with these minutiae, above and beyond the necessities.

Any time David and I have discussed building our own house, he has expressed his desire for a one-story, brick ranch, with a metal roof.  Look again at the pictures.  What do you see?

We asked for 3 bedrooms.  Our Abba delighted to bless us with 4.  We asked for 2 bathrooms. Abba provided 2 1/2. And there is extra room, to boot. And, marvel of marvels, all within our budget.

We asked for a kitchen where all four of us ladies could work comfortably. There is plenty of room for that, as well. Loads of cabinets and counter space and sinks on both sides of the room!

We wanted a place where we can exercise hospitality frequently. There's plenty of room for overnight guests and for entertaining family, friends, church family.

A few months back, the kids were talking about how "cool" it would be to paint one wall of a room with chalkboard paint. Look again at the pictures. The girls' room has just that! Framed, no less!

I prayed that our next place would have fruit and nut trees.  There's a peach tree and 3 pecan trees, all of which we may harvest.  The landlord has tried to plant other fruit trees, which died.  I suspect he won't object if we plant 3-4 more!

We wanted a place in the country, where we could grow food.  This be the place!  There's plenty of room for a garden. The board fence will hopefully help stave off hungry, thieving critters.

And it's a simple route, not too far to the church building.
We like to open the windows when the weather is appropriate. In one of the houses we had considered in Durant, the windows were painted shut. The windows in this house have been updated and open easily!! Every room  has at least one, even our walk-in closet!

As we were looking around Durant on June 20th, David and I re-visited an old school house that Debra had pointed out on the 19th. Someone had wanted to make a restaurant out of it, but abandoned it in the midst of a remodel. David and I stopped, walked around the building, peered into windows.  For days afterward, David daydreamed about buying that place and fixing it up.

We prefer wooden floors. David and I even considered stained concrete floors in a house we wanted to build.  Our new home used to be an old school house.  [So David gets his dream of living in an old school house!]  Previous owners replaced termite-riddled floors with concrete. The bedrooms and living room are carpeted, but the rest of the house has textured concrete, each area with a different pattern. The dining room / kitchen floor looks like distressed wood planks! Might be a bit of a challenge to get clean, but no one will be slipping on a smooth floor, should it get wet.

We like open living / dining area. Check. We like ceiling fans. Check. We like lots of natural light. Check.

On top of that, there's a huge storage room, a covered area where we can keep bikes and lawn equipment, a storm cellar, a large wisteria bush, and - a definite "frosting on the cake" element - a spacious laundry room with a window, lots of cabinets, a folding-counter, a clothing hang-up bar right beside the dryer, and room to set up an ironing board.

We don't like cookie-cutter houses.  We prefer a house with character.  Abba-Sir has SUPER-ABUNDANTLY blessed us with that and so much more.  How can we ever thank Him enough?!  "What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me?"  The One who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, who paints gorgeous sunsets and who clothes the flowers of the field has certainly lavished loving details on us.

We happily anticipate many satisfying hours in this new place, loving each other as a family, becoming acquainted with our new church family, ministering to the needs of others, using this as an embassy of light for our Savior and God in our community.

Waiting is such sweet agony!  Seventeen days, and counting!!!!

Our New Home

On Sunday, June 30, we got word that the congregational vote was in favor of calling David to serve with Community Christian Church in Durant, Oklahoma.

Monday morning, July 1st, Debra-the-realtor called to present 3 rent houses for our consideration. (There are 5 Debra's or Debbie's at CCC, thus the hyphenated appellation!) I looked at the pictures she emailed as we discussed them, eliminating one immediately. The other two seemed like they would work. Debra was there, had seen them; and we were here, and only knew what information she could convey electronically and vocally. She and I had talked a lot about our needs and wants; I trusted her judgment. We hung up, and I showed the pics to the family. The landlords of the red brick seemed a little lax, so it would probably be wise to not pursue that one.  That left the white brick former-parsonage as our only current viable option.

Meanwhile Debra talked with the manager of the red brick property. "I don't think this is going to work. However, if you hear of anything else, please call me as soon as possible." That was early afternoon. Half an hour later, the property manager called Debra back.

"Teddy _____ just phoned to say his rental property is now available."

Debra jumped on that right away. She knew Teddy. She knew the previous owners. She had been in the house. She knew it would probably be what we needed.

Within just a few minutes, she and her friend Debbie (yes, one of the church folk!) had access to the house and were taking pictures. She called me about 2:45 and enthused, "I've found just the right house for you! It's got everything on your list."

As she enumerated the details, I became quite interested. My response to the photos she emailed was, "I'm sold. Now to contact David at work." He was painting a house. I guess his hands were sticky, because he didn't answer his phone and he didn't call back. All afternoon. All evening.

I restrained myself from pouncing on my work-wearied hubby with the information as soon as he walked in the door.

But I didn't wait long.  I was eager for him to know about this and help decide. Not only did I want to find a nest for my chickies, but Durant rental properties are snatched up like hot cakes this time of year. For instance, Debra had taken us to look at two houses when we were there on the 30th, one of which we thought we'd go for. The next day, it was already taken! So, time was of the essence if we wanted this house.

From Debra's description and the pics, David and I got all hopeful...this really looked good. Question was, would someone else get to it first? Debra took care of that. She must be some kind of persuasive, because she convinced the landlord to wait to advertise it until we had a chance to see it. The earliest we could make it up there was Thursday, July 4th. We hated to ask Debra to sacrifice some of her holiday, but she and Teddy were both willing to show us on the 4th. (Thank you both!) And not only would he wait to put it on the market; additionally, if we liked it, he would accept the deposit, but require us to only pay the rent for the last week of July (pro-rated). Then we could begin paying a full month's rent Aug 1st. That means he would be losing 3 weeks of income. Unheard of!

So those of us who will be living in Durant trekked up there, and met Debra at 11 AM.  We did the initial walk-thru, becoming more delighted with every step. Yes, this was the place for us! We had the rental agreement filled out and Debra went to get Teddy to sign it. Not only were we on cloud nine because of so easily finding what seemed to be the perfect rental property at a fabulous rent, but our jaws hung open as Debra informed us that anonymous donors from the church had paid our deposit! Now I was joining David in repeatedly exclaiming, "Wow! Amazing!"

As Debra said, "Someone's looking out for you all." And we all know who that is!  Praises to Jehovah Jireh!

Teddy gave us the keys, and we waved Debra off to her friends' cookout. We ate a little picnic on the porch. Then we prowled around for a couple of hours, ooh-ing and ah-ing over details we'd formerly overlooked, planning what rooms would be used for what, imagining furniture in position, thinking about where to put the garden, noting some cosmetic changes we'd make, planning decor, listing immediate necessary purchases, taking measurements, and just plain pinching ourselves. Was this a dream?

Not only has the Lord provided a new place of ministry for David, but He has set us down in the midst of a loving church family* ...and now this! The land and the house are beyond our hopes and dreams. (I'll tell you more about that in another post.)  Gratitude wells up and tears swell up, and we rejoice - once again - in the provision of our tender and gracious Heavenly Father, from who all blessings flow!



*As Jim, the preacher who is leaving at the end of July, put it, "This is a good place to heal."

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no shadow or variation due to change." James 1:17


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Our {Soon to Be} New Home

On July 4th, we traveled up to S.E. Oklahoma (where we'll be moving in a few weeks) to look at rent house.  The realtor, a lady who attends the church where Dad will be serving, told us that she thought this house would fit all our needs.  Well, indeed it did - lots of yard (the front yard is huge), 2+ bathrooms, 3+ bedrooms, a big living area and within our budget.  This was a blessing send from God.  So, after inspecting the house, Mom and Dad signed the lease agreement, and secured the home for us to move into in less than three weeks! 

For all of our family and friends who are interested in seeing what the house looks like, here are several photos we took.  Pardon the bad lighting (and poor focus on some of them, I wasn't being very careful when taking some of them).   Please keep our family in your prayers as we transition our lives to Oklahoma.   Thank you!

Mom and Dad sign the lease agreement, with Ms. Debra (the realtor).

This is right after you enter through the side/back door.  To the right through the double doors is the kitchen and eating area.
Through the double doors (the back/side door is on the right side of this photo.)
And now into the kitchen, standing where the dining table is supposed to go.
Another kitchen shot - there's lots of cabinet space!
Oh, and two sinks, with lots of counter space, too! 
Through the doors at the back of the kitchen is the laundry room.
The laundry room is huge!  Just what we have always wanted - enough space to fold laundry, etc.  Perfect!
More storage space. (Still in the laundry room.)
Looking into the living room from the dining/end of kitchen area.  (The doorway on the right is into the master bedroom.)
Looking into the living room to the left.  You can see the front door and entry way on the left side of the picture.
The (gas) fireplace.
Front door and entry way.
The living room from the entry way.  (Sorry for it being out of focus.)
The master bedroom.  If you turn to the right almost 180 degrees, you go into the master bathroom.
The master bathroom sinks.  (Through the doorway on the right side of the photo is the master bedroom.)
Master bathroom - it has a nice big bathtub, and a shower.
Down the hall way, to the main bath and the other two bedrooms.  (If you turned 90 degrees to your right, you would be looking toward the front door, in the entry way.)
Through the first doorway in the picture above is the main bathroom, which will be us kid's bathroom. 
It has a large bathtub/shower and plenty of cabinets and counter space.
Kid's bath - if you turn to your right about 45 degrees you'll be looking through a doorway into what will be the girl's room.  The door way on the far left side of this photo goes into the hallway. 
The girl's room, through the doorway off the hall.  It has a chalkboard wall section!!
The girl's room has lots of windows (as does the whole house), and the room is large (14' x 11' approx.).
   I don't have any good photos of what will be Jaden's room, but it is located directly across the doorway from the girl's room.  The doorway that is located on the left side of the picture above goes into the hallway, and then right across from that is Jaden's room.

This is to the left off of the back/side door - an extra room (with another room behind it), which can be used for an office / school room / library.  The door way pictured on the right leads into a large storage room, pictured below.  
The storage room, looking to the right after entering.  Unfortunately the only way to enter is through that one doorway.
To the left, with the door in the picture on the left side of the photo.
And this is the small room behind the extra room I just showed you.  We may use it as a guest room.
And now to the outside part of the house. 

The front.  It has a HUGE yard, with two large trees (lots of shade!), and a large front porch. 
To the right.
The front porch.  There should be enough room for a porch swing!  :)

After looking around the house, and signing the lease agreement, we were hungry.  So, we ate some lunch out on the front porch.  :)
You can see one of the two large trees in this photo.
Looking into the backyard from the patio area.
The backyard to the right.  In need of some definite trimming, but there's plenty of room for a garden! 
Looking back into the patio, and covered area right outside the other back door that comes into the backyard.
This was Abby's response to us securing the house. 

We were ecstatic!  (Can you tell?!)  To say the least, there was lots of shouting and jumping, and excitement.  All we can do is praise the Lord for the goodness He's shown to us!
 Very soon we will be officially Oklahomans.   Well, not for entirely, because Texas will always be home - but our heart is definitely with the folks at our new home church in OK.  Praise be to our gracious God!

Caleb & Claudia ~ Engaged!

~  Caleb and Claudia are getting married on March 8, 2014!  ~

Johanna and Phoebe took their official engagement photos a week ago, and we're finally announcing it here on our family blog!  We're grateful to the Lord for bringing these two lives together, for His glory!

"Will you marry me?"
They're so cute together.  :)


The ring.

It's beautiful!  Caleb did a good job of picking it out.  :)
She said yes!  (Obviously!)

Johanna did a great job of capturing their love for one another. :)