This morning I woke up early, at 4:30 a.m., to spend some time with God. I felt that it was so very important to spend the last day of 2017 praying and reading my Bible. I always make a cup of hot tea and sit at our kitchen counter on one of the kitchen stools for my devotion time. This morning the hot tea tasted so good as it was a very cold morning. The temperature was 15 degrees outside and that was to be our high for the day. I looked up from reading my Bible with my hands holding my cup of hot tea and I saw our kitchen..
As you can see our kitchen is not a fancy one. There are no granite counter tops, no stainless steel appliances, no solid oak cabinets and as you can see from the picture we live in a house with, horror of horrors, popcorn ceilings!!! It is definitely not a fancy kitchen but this morning as I looked at my kitchen I thought our kitchen was beautiful and I was so very, very grateful for what I saw and where I was at that very moment. The pile of clean dishes drying on the kitchen counter reminded me that every day we have a hot meal for dinner. The kitchen aid mixer on the counter was a generous gift from some precious friends and I was reminded of how blessed we are to have so many friends and family praying for us and supporting our work with the homeless. I also saw a window and even though it was dark when I looked out the window, I was reminded of the many times I have sat on that very kitchen stool and watched the antelope grazing up on the ridge. I was so very thankful for the beautiful area that surrounds us here on Trinity Lane in Wellington. I also saw a kitchen that wasn't just a kitchen but was now home and I was so thankful that there was no place I would rather be than sitting on our kitchen stool in our little kitchen on Trinity Lane in Wellington, Colorado.
The past few days at home had been so very busy for me and for my daughter Meredith as everyone else in the house was down with the flu. We were pulling double duty on all the chores and as a result my time with God had suffered. I was so very thankful that I had risen early to spend the last day of 2017 in quality and quantity time with God. Quality and quantity time with God is so very important. We can't always squeeze in time with God during our busy schedules or spend time with him at the end of the day when we are worn out and tired and expect that our relationship with Him will grow. My time with God this morning was just what I needed. The verse that I read this morning was from Galatians 2:20. It says, "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". As I read this verse and looked out over our kitchen I was reminded that truly the life that I live and the life that we all live here at Soaring Wings Ministries is lived by faith. Looking at our kitchen I was reminded that God indeed is faithful to create a home for us and for two homeless people on the plains in Wellington, Colorado. I was also reminded that Soaring Wings Ministries exists not because of any work that any of us have done but rather it exists because of Christ who lives in me and in all of us at Soaring Wings Ministries. I also realized that all the joy that I had from living and serving God in Colorado was because Christ was living in me and because of my personal relationship with Him who loves me and gave himself for me. I also realized that it was Christ living in me that enabled me to look at a kitchen with no granite counters, no stainless steel appliances and no solid oak cabinets (and those popcorn ceilings!) and see a thing of beauty.
Christ living in me. Me living a life of faith. I truly was so glad that I had risen early in the morning to end 2017 with some quality and quantity time with God and to look out over the most beautiful kitchen that has ever been made. I pray that each one of you will know what it means to have Christ living in you and the joy that comes from living a life of faith. Our prayer for Soaring Wings Ministries in 2018 is that all that we do and all that is done will be done for the glory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Wishing you all a blessed New Year,
Soaring Wings MInistries
499 Trinity Lane
I have always enjoyed the day before Thanksgiving and today was no exception. The day began with a pancake breakfast (thank you Ed!) complete with pure New England maple syrup that was a gift to us from a special friend and supporter from New Hampshire (thank you Dan!). The pancake breakfast was made even more special when our granddaughter, Payton, thought we should have hot tea with our pancakes served in a tea pot and tea cups (thank you Payton!). To top off our pancake breakfast I remembered a small package of pork sausages in our freezer left over from a previous breakfast. They were perfect with our pancakes and there was just enough left over for each of us to have two (thank you Lord for the joy of small blessings). As delicious and delightful as our pancake breakfast was, I did not linger over breakfast except to enjoy several cups of tea in a pretty tea cup. I was excited and eager to get going on the days preparations for Thanksgiving and I was looking forward to making the sourdough bread stuffing from the recipe given to us from our son-in-law (thank you Jake for the recipe!).
Those of you who have been to our home know that our kitchen, dining area and office space is all incorporated in one area and so as I work at the kitchen counter I have a full, clear view of the entire room and everything that is going on in the room. As I was cutting the sourdough bread into cubes for the stuffing my heart became instantly overwhelmed with gratitude. I couldn't help but be thankful to God for all of his blessings and for the blessings of the day before Thanksgiving. As I prepared the sourdough bread stuffing with the recipe given to us from our son-in-law, it gave me great joy to remember the holidays we have spent with our daughter, granddaughter and son-in-law over the years and the delicious meals he has prepared for us. I was also using a measuring cup that had been passed down to me from my Aunt Del Faye. She was a wonderful cook who took great joy in caring for her family and her life has inspired me to do the same. It was a delight to use her measuring cup in preparing our Thanksgiving meal. As I worked to prepare the sourdough bread stuffing, inches away from me, also working at the kitchen counter, was our granddaughter, Payton, thoroughly engrossed in making a family of snowmen out of multi-colored play dough. I thanked God for His amazing gift of my beautiful granddaughter and for the gift of being able to enjoy her each day. I looked across the room and our daughter, Meredith, was busy putting labels on envelopes for our Christmas mailing and Ed was busy at the computer finishing up a Christmas letter to include in the mailing. As I cut up the bread into cubes for the sourdough bread stuffing I thanked God for the tremendous blessing of their health and His loving care over both of them. I also thanked God for His care over our son-in-law Todd as he has recently turned the corner from a horrible cold that affected his breathing.
The cubes of bread were all cut up for the sourdough bread stuffing and as I mixed the cubes with the delicious combination of celery, onion and spices I looked up from the counter and across the room I saw the door leading into the addition which will be home for two homeless individuals. As I mixed the sourdough bread stuffing I thanked God for all of the many, many volunteers and donors (thank you volunteers and donors!) who helped build the addition and as the wind was howling fiercely outside I also thanked God for the volunteers who worked so hard late in the fall to make sure it was weather tight from wind, snow and rain. As I looked at the door leading into the addition I also thought of the people who will be living there next Thanksgiving. I pictured them being part of our family and preparing for Thanksgiving Day together. I wondered if they would have a favorite dish that they would prepare and I wondered if they would like to learn how to make sourdough bread stuffing.
The sourdough bread stuffing was complete and ready to be spooned into the casserole dish to be cooked in the oven on Thanksgiving Day. As I reflected back on the beginning of the day when I was looking forward to making the sourdough bread stuffing little did I realize the blessing that would be mine, not only in making the stuffing, but the gift of gratitude and joy from a loving God.
I cannot end this blog without sharing our recipe for Sourdough Bread Stuffing with you. It is a good one and I hope you enjoy it. I also pray, that as you make the stuffing, that God will fill your heart to overflowing with gratitude and joy. Happy Thanksgiving!!!
JAKE'S SOURDOUGH BREAD STUFFING
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons dried sage
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon sale
12 cups dried, cubed sourdough bread
1 160z can fat free chicken broth
Saute onions and celery in olive oil then add spices. Stir in bread cubes and broth. Spoon into 11x7 baking dish coated with baking spray. Cover and bake @ 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Uncover. Bake for 20 more minutes or until top is golden brown.
With a joyful and grateful heart,
I recently received a book on prayer in the mail from a college friend who prays for us and for Soaring Wings Ministries. Anna is the founder of a ministry to needy young children in Syracuse, New York called Eagles Wings Academy. She, having been involved in ministry much longer than we have, sent the book to me to help us to draw on God for strength and guidance. Knowing that we would soon be having two homeless people living at Soaring Wings Ministries, my friend knew that we would need to be in prayer more than ever. The name of the book is Pray the Word by Tiece L. King. The book could not have been more timely received as my thoughts have been, almost daily, centered on the two homeless people who will very soon move into the addition. Who will these two strangers be that will soon be intertwined with our lives? What will they be like? Could they be two young unrelated adults? Or maybe it will be a man and his wife or maybe a single Mom or Dad and a child.
As of right now we do not know who these two people who will be. As I think about who will be living in the addition, I also think about how our lives will change once there are two people living in very close proximity to where we live. No longer will 499 Trinity Lane just be "our home", it will be "their home" as well. Some of you reading this blog know me very well, some of you know me just a little bit and some of you have never met me. For those of you that know me well, you know that I am a private person. I like my space. I like my alone time and I am very cautious and slow when it comes to meeting new people and forming friendships. I am an introvert and so to open up my home, my time and my heart to give to others is not something that comes easily to me. To make matters even more difficult, my husband, Ed is exactly the same way except he is probably even more introverted than I am!!
As you are reading this you are probably wondering why in the world would two introverted people even think about having two strangers live with them never mind actually moving forward on the idea and actually building an addition for two strangers to live in?!!!! It doesn't make a bit of sense does it? It doesn't make a bit of sense....unless. Unless you are a Christian and you absolutely trust God with all your heart. We are and we do. Ed, Meredith and I are all Christians and we all absolutely trust God to be with us, to help us and to guide us in all circumstances. We trust God to bring us just the right two people to live in the addition. Two people who will be a good fit for our family and for Soaring Wings Ministries. We trust God to open up our hearts to make room for two strangers that we don't know. We trust God to give us a Godly love for the two people who will become part of our lives and part of our family. We trust God to help us to hold "our home" very, very loosely so that "our home" will no longer be just "our home" but that it will "their home" as well. Bottom line is that we trust God to bless our efforts in creating a home for two homeless individuals and to bless our desire to open up our hearts to them as well.
Adjusting my life and opening my heart so that I can make room for new individuals is not a foreign experience for me. As I look back on my life I can see so many times that God has caused me, this introverted person, to stretch and bend so that my life would make room for others. There was the time in college when I had a dorm room all to myself! Being a Senior and a Resident Assistant I arrived at college early and took some leisurely time to set up "my" room just the way that "I" wanted it. Time and space all to myself!!! What gloriousness!!! But that gloriousness did not last very long as three day later everything changed very quickly. Our Resident Director informed me that I would not have the luxury of having a room all to myself. An entering Freshman had not been assigned a dorm room and they needed the extra bed in my room. To make matters worse, this freshman had already arrived and was waiting in the lobby to be assigned a dorm room! I quickly pushed all my things to one side of the room, crammed my clothes into one side of the closet and shoved my towels and sweaters into half of the drawer space in the bureau. It turned out to be a very good year and she was a great roommate. Could it be that even then, so long ago, that God was preparing me to open up my heart and home to two strangers at Soaring Wings Ministries? What about the time we opened up our home to foster children? That was not an easy task at all. It was even harder than making room for an unexpected roommate but I learned so many lessons during my time as a foster parent. I learned that opening up my home to foster children required a lot more than just good intentions and warm feelings of doing the right thing. It required me to carry through on my commitment to these children even when I was tired and at times wanted nothing more than to retreat to a place all by myself. Could it be that my short time as a foster parent was teaching me the hard lesson of what it truly means to open up my heart and home to others? Most recently I think about how God has taught me to live in close proximity to others by sharing a house and a home with our daughter Meredith, son-in-law Todd and our granddaughter Payton. When Meredith arrived here with her family from Cape Cod, Massachusetts to serve with Soaring Wings Ministries I had to physically and emotionally make room for them in our house and in my life. I already loved them with all of my being but I had to adjust my way of living, my time and my space in order to make "our home" "their home" as well. This was not an easy task for me. As an introvert, I like my own space. I am also going to admit that I am a selfish person and I like things my way! All of us living together in a small house required me to give up a lot of my own space and it also required me to give up my desire to have things my way. It hasn't been only me that has had to adjust. Our entire family, Ed, Meredith, Todd and Payton, have all had to adjust in order to make living together work. We have all given up our personal desire for space and our desires to have things just the way we like them. Could it be that all of us living together in a small house has opened up our hearts and caused us to become more flexible? Could it be that God has been teaching us to relinquish more of our personal desires in order to hold "our home" more loosely? Could it be that for many many years God has been preparing me to give two homeless people "their home"?
All my life I have walked closely with God and each year that passes I walk even more closely with Him and trust Him even more. I know beyond a doubt that I can trust God. This trust is not based on some vague idea that God probably exists some where up in heaven but it is soundly based on having a personal relationship with the living God through Jesus Christ and seeing Him faithfully guide me in all circumstances throughout my life. I know that He has already begun to prepare my heart to receive two strangers into my life and to make 499 Trinity Lane "their home" not just "our home". One of my favorite Bible verses is Proverbs 3: 5 & 6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths." I do trust in God with all my heart and I don't lean on my own understanding of situations. I try to acknowledge God in all that I do and so I know that He is directing our paths for Soaring Wings Ministries. I ask that you pray for all of us as we continue to prepare "their home". Pray that our hearts will be prepared as much as the physical space and pray God's blessing, protection and guidance on the two people who will be here at Soaring Wings Ministries. If you would like to know more about what it means to walk closely with God and to trust Him in all circumstances through a personal relationship with Him please contact me. I would love to hear from you.
If you would personally like to see "our home" and "their home" please join us for our annual Fall Banquet here at 499 Trinity Lane, Wellington, Colorado on Saturday, November 4th at 6 pm. This is a fundraiser for Soaring Wings Ministries and the funds will be used to continue the work on "their home". The suggested donation is $25.00 per person. We will be serving a delicious, homemade meal and would love to give you a tour of "their home". If you are able to come please contact us and let us know so that we can have a place set for you at our table. We hope you can join us on November 4th!
May God bless and guide each one of you.
499 Trinity Lane
Wellington, Colorado 80549
I couldn't decide if I should write a blog about prayer or about the roof on the addition. I asked my husband, Ed, what he thought and he said, "I don't understand why you would separate the two. The roof on the addition and prayer go hand in hand". He is absolutely right!
To begin I have to say that everyone here at Soaring Wings Ministries absolutely and without a doubt believes in the power of prayer. We believe that God hears our prayers and answers them according to His will. There is no doubt in our prayers. When we pray, we pray expectantly knowing that God does hear our prayers and that He will answer them.
I absolutely love looking at the addition. I have said before that it stands as a testament to God's faithfulness and to His answers to our prayers according to His will. When I look at the addition I remember that each step of the building process has happened because we prayed and because God heard and answered our prayers. When we needed an architect for professionally developed building plans....we prayed and God provided the plans with no charge to Soaring Wings Ministries. When we needed excavation work completed...we prayed and God provided with the excavation work being completed at a reduced rate. When we needed the framing to be completed...we prayed and God provided with volunteers from New Hampshire and Colorado. When we needed a plumber to complete the rough-in plumbing...we prayed and God answered with a professional plumber from Albuquerque, New Mexico who donated his time and services to get the job completed. When we needed a back hoe to dig a trench....we prayed and God provided through a local man who donated his time and back hoe to get the trench dug. When we needed an electrician to complete the rough in electrical work....we prayed and God provided a local company who completed the work at a reduced rate. When we needed people to help us with installing windows, sliding glass doors, insulation and house wrap....we prayed and God provided wonderful and hardworking volunteers from New Hampshire and Colorado. When we needed funds to move forward on the addition....we prayed and God answered with generous donors from all over the United States.
Most recently, in fact just this past week, we absolutely had to get the tar paper and the shingles installed on the roof. Our nice, dry summer weather had come to an end and it was beginning to rain steadily and frequently. Every time it rained, the inside of the addition was getting wet. We could not go through the winter without the roof in place to keep the addition dry and protected....and so we prayed. We planned a Work Day for Saturday, September 23rd and prayed that God would send us volunteers for the Work Day. God heard our prayers and sent us volunteers from New Hampshire and Colorado. They worked very hard that day and had a lot of fun too but there was just not enough time to complete the roof as it began to rain at the end of the day. The work was stopped because the roof was getting slippery from the rain. We praised God for the work that was completed and trusted Him for the rest. For the rest of the day on Saturday and all day Sunday it rained hard. On Monday, the rained had stopped, and so my husband Ed and our daughter, Meredith, woke up determined to continue the work on the roof. After breakfast they climbed up the ladder and began to lay the shingles down and pound the nails in the roof to keep the shingles in place. I admired them for their effort and so appreciated their work that they accomplished but we clearly needed more help to get the roof finished and so I prayed. They pounded nails on the roof and I prayed. God heard my prayers and the very next day on Tuesday we had 4 volunteers from here in Colorado who came to help with the roofing. It was a perfect day for installing a roof. The sun was shining, there was no wind and the temperatures were cool. The work continued on the roof all day long except for short break for lunch. By the end of the day the entire roof was covered in tar paper and 2/3 of the roof was covered in shingles. The very next day the rain started again and it has been raining every since. We praised God so many times and so often for the good weather we had on Saturday for the Work Day and for the perfect weather we had on Tuesday when the volunteers came to help with the roofing! We walk into the addition now and with all the rain we have had the addition is protected and dry!!!
I can't think of any other way to end this blog except to say that GOD HEARS AND ANSWERS OUR PRAYERS ACCORDING TO HIS WILL! God has been so faithful and has provided for every single need that has arisen with the building of the addition. The addition continues to stand as a testament to God's faithfulness and what He can do when we pray, when we trust Him and when God works in the hearts of people all over the United States to accomplish HIs will. We serve an amazing God and we praise Him and thank Him with all of our hearts.
Soaring Wings Ministries
One of the things that I have always enjoyed doing is looking at before and after pictures. I don't care what the pictures are of, I just love looking at the transformations that have taken place. It could be pictures of kitchen makeovers, new hairstyles, weight loss or backyard makeovers, it doesn't matter, it is just amazing to me how something or someone can be transformed into something beautiful. I think one of the reasons why I enjoy looking at before and after pictures is that they inspire me. From looking at the pictures I know that someone put in a lot of time and effort to make the transformation take place and the pictures inspire me to put more of an effort into my own life and projects.
When we first saw the Soaring Wings Ministries property back in October of 2013, we immediately saw the potential that the 40 acres offered to create the warm and healing environment that we envisioned in our minds eye for hurting individuals. We knew that with hard work the property could be transformed into place that welcomed broken, tired and discouraged people We saw not only a property that would be transformed we also saw people that would be transformed. As soon as Soaring Wings Ministries purchased the property on Trinity Lane in Wellington, the work began to create a warm, welcoming and healing environment for hurting individuals. It has been hard work but thanks to hundreds of hardworking and determined volunteers we can see the transformation beginning to take place. Yes, we have made much progress over the past 4 years but there is still more to be done as our main goal at Soaring Wings Ministries is not to transform grounds and buildings but to transform peoples lives. To that end we continue to work on the building addition to house two homeless individuals. We have made much progress on the addition this summer and our goal is to have the addition completed by the end of this year or early next year. We do need your help to get the addition finished so we can truly begin our work here at Soaring Wings Ministries. You can help by coming to our Work Day on Saturday, September 23rd. We will be putting on the roof, installing insulation and installing two sliding glass doors. We will be serving breakfast at 8:00 a.m and lunch at 12 noon to all volunteers. We cannot do this work ourselves and we do not have the money to pay professional workers. We are so thankful for Gods' provision in that Soaring Wings Ministries has incurred zero debt with the building of the addition. We hope that you will come and join us for the Work Day on September 23rd. Don't forget to bring a hammer!!!
You can also help by donating to our Match Grant which runs through October 5th. All donations made to Soaring Wings Ministries from now until October 5th will be matched and all donations will go directly to Soaring Wings Ministries to help with the cost of finishing the addition. We hope that you will take advantage of this opportunity to have your donations matched. All donations are tax deductible. You can send your donation to Soaring Wings Ministries by mailing a check to 499 Trinity Lane Wellington, Colorado 80549 or you can make a donation through Pay Pal at this website.
You can also help by continuing to pray for Soaring Wings Ministries and the homeless in Northern Colorado. We absolutely know without a doubt that God hears and answers our prayers. You can also help by coming to visit us here at Soaring Wings Ministries. A visit from supportive friends and families is such an encouragement to us.
I could verbally describe the transformations that have taken place but I think it is best that I let the pictures do the talking for me. I hope you enjoy these before and after pictures and I hope that you see them, not as a finished project, but as a work in progress. All of us at Soaring Wings Ministries hope that you will become involved in the amazing transformation taking place here at Trinity Lane, not only on the ground but in peoples lives and our biggest hope is that God will be glorified in all that is accomplished here at Soaring Wings Ministries.
Soaring Wings Ministries
499 Trinity Lane
Wellington, Colorado 80549
I love summer! I don't love summer just a little bit. I love summer with a passion! I love the long hours of daylight. I love the summer flowers and vegetables. I love sitting out on the porch. I love swimming and I even love the summer heat. We had quite a summer here at Soaring Wings Ministries and now that summer is winding down I have some time to share about all that transpired here at Soaring Wings Ministries.
Our summer activities began on June 19th and continued through August 3rd. We partnered with Week of Hope through Group Work Camps out of Loveland, Colorado and during those 7 weeks we served as a host site for the Week of Hope Campers. Each Monday morning through the summer a van would pull into our driveway with about 12 Week of Hope Campers. The campers were here to volunteer and we were ready for them with a list of outside jobs, repairs and projects that needed to be done. They worked everyday Monday - Thursday from 9:30 am. to 3 p.m. They repaired shed roofs, built a pergola, cleaned outdoor furniture, washed the siding on the house, weeded, put in new garden beds, built a swing set, stained picnic tables, cleaned out the barn, organized the tool shed, put up a garden fence, built two shed doors, built an outdoor bench, repaired outdoor furniture, sewed cushions for outdoor furniture, built a firewood box, worked on the plumbing in the addition, baked cookies for the homeless, put together Blessing Bags and served the homeless in downtown Fort Collins.
The Week of Hope Campers spent Monday and Tuesday working on their assigned tasks. On Wednesday mornings the campers would spend the morning putting Blessing Bags together and baking cookies. On Wednesday afternoons we would all go down to Fort Collins and give out the Blessing Bags, cookies and water to the homeless in Fort Collins. Thursday mornings the campers would work finishing up their projects and we ended the week with a cook out of hotdogs, watermelon, chips, brownies, ice-cream and iced tea on Thursday afternoon.
The campers and their adult leaders were hard working, cheerful and willing to tackle any project. They never once complained about the relentless summer sun. There is hardly any shade to be found here on the property at Soaring Wings Ministries and so for the most part the campers worked out in the blazing hot sun. I never saw people work so hard in hot sun and keep at their work without one thought of slowing down or quitting. We were so very grateful for all of their hard work. They accomplished tasks that would have taken us forever to accomplish or that we would not have been able to accomplish on our own at all.
During the summer we also saw much progress being made on the addition which will house two homeless individuals. The plumbing was worked on with our friends, the Hausermanns from New Mexico, leading the Week Campers on installing pipe. How excited we all were to see the piping for the plumbing being laid in the ditch and ready to be hooked up to the septic!!!!! We also saw the electric work being worked on and were beyond excited when the electrical worked passed the first state inspection!!!!!
I thought it would be fun to close this blog with some numbers. I hope these numbers will give you some idea of all that transpired here at Soaring Wings Ministries during the summer.
*78 Week of Hope Campers served at Soaring Wings Ministries this summer.
*1,560 volunteer hours were donated to Soaring Wings Ministries by the Week of Hope Campers.
*200 Blessings Bags were made by the Week of Hope Campers for the homeless.
*60 dozen chocolate chip cookies were baked and given to the homeless by the Week of Hope Campers.
*220 homeless were served in Fort Collins with blessing bags, cookies, water, Bible tracts and care notes being given to each homeless person by the Week of Hope Campers
*252 hotdogs were grilled on the grill here at Soaring Wings Ministries along with 49 pitchers of iced tea, 21 bags of chips, 294 squares of brownies, 7 gallons of ice cream and 7 watermelons being served with the hotdogs.
It was a great summer!!! So much was accomplished here at Soaring Wings Ministries to create a warm and loving environment and all the work was done joyfully and for God's glory. Here at Soaring Wings Ministries we try to be honoring to God in all that we do and to live by God's word. I believe that was accomplished here this summer. The verse that stayed with me all summer was Ecclesiastes 2:24 "A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God". This summer was a blessing from God and we are so very grateful to all of the hardworking Week of Hope Campers, the staff from Group Work Camps who made sure Week of Hope ran smoothly and to all of our supporters who prayed, loved us from afar and who supported us financially. We saw first hand this summer that much can be accomplished for God's glory when we all work together. A HUGE thank you to all of you!!!
Soaring Wings Ministries
Yikes! I can't believe that it has been early May since I last wrote a blog! That is way too long! Meredith, Ed and I often wonder if it could possibly get any busier here at Soaring Wings Ministries and I do believe that the answer to that question is "YES"!
Our days are full and we fall into bed tired every night but it is a wonderful feeling of being tired. Each day is filled with doing God's work here in Colorado so when we fall into bed at night it is with a feeling of joy, accomplishment, gratitude and peace rather than a feeling of exhaustion or discouragement.
You may be wondering, "What do Ed, Anita and Meredith do each day at Soaring Wings Ministries?" There are so many things that go into a typical day here at Soaring Wings Ministries. For one thing, we have continued with our grant writing to about 17 different foundations. They are quite time consuming as much thought and detail needs to go into each grant proposal. Our greatest joy continues to be giving out Blessing Bags, water, donuts and coffee to the homeless in downtown Fort Collins. The homeless are always so grateful and it is a privilege and a joy to serve them in the name of Jesus.
We have also been getting organized for the Week of Hope teens who will be arriving here this coming Monday on June 19th. For seven weeks this summer we will have a different group of teens volunteering here each week from Monday through Thursday. They will work on repairs, grounds maintenance and landscaping projects here at Soaring Wings Ministries. Some of these projects will be replacing roof tiles that blew off of our sheds during the winter months because of high winds, weeding, planting and moving dirt piles. They will also give out blessing bags to the homeless in Fort Collins each Wednesday afternoon.
We also continue with the building project to house two homeless individuals and we also work to raise the funds to get the building addition completed. We have been working to find an electrician who is able to do the work at minimal or no cost and we have been blessed with a generous donor who offered to match funds that are donated to Soaring Wings Ministries. In addition to the building project we work each day to keep up with the mowing and trimming. It seems that the prairie grass grows faster than we can mow or trim! Meredith and I have also been planting flowers and putting in vegetable plants. So far all of our plantings are doing well and it is looking bright and cheery here at Soaring Wings Ministries with the time we have put into gardening.
Another one of our greatest joys is visits from friends. Recently we were blessed when two east coast friends stopped in for an overnight visit. We LOVE when friends and family come to see us so if you are traveling through Colorado this summer or if you want come and visit us please know that we would absolutely love to see you!!!!! The rule around here is that not everyone will have a bed to sleep in...it depends on your age!!! The older you are the better chance you have of sleeping in a bed. The chances of you getting a bed decrease as your age decreases. If you are young your chances of getting a bed rather than sleeping on the floor are slim! We would love to have you visit us at Soaring Wings Ministries. No matter your age we will always give you a place to sleep if your are an overnight guest and we will always give you plenty to eat.
Besides grant writing, giving out blessing bags, visitors, outside work, building an addition and preparing for teen volunteers we have our everyday chores that all of us do....laundry, pets, grocery shopping, paying bills, dishes and some, but not a lot of, vacuuming and dusting. We also have exercise classes that we go to and Bible Study groups that we try to attend each week. Our days are full indeed and each morning you will most likely find us starting our day by having breakfast together. Part of having breakfast includes spending time reading God's word and praying together. It is a very good way to start the day. Individually, we also spend time with God in prayer and reading our Bibles. For me, my time with God is early in the morning before anyone else is awake. It is so quiet in the house and I treasure this time early in the morning with God. I am so thankful to have a personal relationship with Jesus and so thankful to know that He also treasures me and the time that I spend with Him. I know that God is pleased with the work we are doing here for Him here at Soaring Wings Ministries because we are giving him our best effort and we are working for Him. "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men"...Colossians 3:23. Even though we are working heartily here for the Lord, God's greatest joy is not the work that we do but rather that we love Him with all of our hearts, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind" Luke 10:27. Our days are busy and our work is pleasing to the Lord but that time that I spend with God first thing in the morning, just Him and I, when the house is quiet is the most pleasing and precious to Him.
I know that Soaring Wings Ministries does not have the market on busy days. I know that all of you have days that are filled to the brim. I encourage you to take joy in the work that you are doing, as we do, and most importantly to find time to spend alone with God. He loves and longs to spend time with you. He is waiting for you.
All for Him,
Soaring Wings Ministries
499 Trinity Lane
In a few hours I will be boarding a plane out of Denver and flying to Philadelphia for my niece's college graduation. I am so very excited to be able to attend her graduation and to spend time with my sister and my other nieces. It has been way too long since I have seen them and I am looking forward to our week together.
As I have anticipated and looked forward to the trip I have thought about the plane ride across the country. I don't mind flying as long as it is a smooth ride. "As long as" are the key words here. I do not like to fly when there is turbulence or bad weather. Recently our daughter Meredith and granddaughter, Payton, flew back east to visit friends and family. I asked her how the plane ride was and she said it was horribly bumpy the entire flight. I asked her how Payton did on the flight and Meredith's response was that Payton had slept the entire time. Aaaah.....the blissfulness of youth! But wait, maybe it isn't the blissfulness of youth as much as it is pure trust. Payton did not have a care in the world because she trusted. She trusted her Mom to take care of her and she trusted that her Mom would not put her in any dangerous situation. All Payton had to do was sit back and enjoy the ride.
I have thought about Payton flying on the plane and thought about trusting, relaxing and enjoying the ride. As we move forward on building the addition I know that is exactly what God wants us to do.....to trust, to relax and to enjoy the ride. Once again we don't know all the details of how the building will all come together. We are still looking for an electrician and we have materials that we need to buy with limited funds to buy them. Will God provide? Will it all come together? Will we arrive safely to our destination? I honestly do believe that the answer to these questions is absolutely YES!!!! God will provide. It will all come together and we will arrive safely to our destination.
Just like Payton sleeping peacefully on a very bumpy plane ride because she trusted, I choose to trust. I choose to trust God in unknown situations and to enjoy the ride. The ride of building an addition to help two homeless people is quite an adventure and it truly has been a wonderful and joyful experience. It has brought us joy to see how God has provided in the past and to see how He has brought so many wonderful people in our lives to help us build the addition.
As I board the plane this morning in Denver, I totally expect that I will arrive safely at my destination in Philadelphia and as we move forward to get the addition finished I totally expect that we will arrive at our final destination of having two homeless people living here at Soaring Wings Ministries. All I have to do is follow the example of my 4 year old granddaughter during a very bumpy plane ride.............. trust, relax and enjoy the ride!
Soaring Wings Ministries
This past Saturday we were in Fort Collins giving out Easter blessings bags that we had put together for the homeless. The Easter blessing bags were a small cellophane type Easter bag and in the bags were socks, paper, pen, kleenex, granola bars, a comb, deodorant and an Easter devotional about Jesus' death and resurrection. We had 25 bags to give out.
This past Saturday we also had the pleasure of working with two Middle School girls. They had chosen to work with Soaring Wings Ministries for a class project and had raised money to purchase and fill 45 backpacks. All together we had 70 bags to give out to the homeless. You would think that it would take a long time to give away 70 bags but that is not the case. As usual, the blessing bags went quickly and we finished giving out the bags within an hour. As usual, the people were very polite and very grateful to receive the blessing bags and as usual we were blessed to give out the blessings bags as much as the homeless were blessed to receive them.
As usual, there is one homeless person or family that stands out in our minds and captures our hearts in a special way. Usually, it is the most vulnerable of the homeless and in this case it was a little girl who appeared to be about 8 or 9 years old. She had blond hair, wrinkled clothes and a slight frame. She was with an older person who was her caregiver. I don't know how this person was related to her but it was obvious that this person was watching out for her and also watching over her. The girl was shy and did not say much. I had a child's sweatshirt with me that I was looking to give to someone and it looked to be just her size. I asked her if she would like to have the sweatshirt but she didn't answer me and didn't say anything. I told her to take it because it looked like it would fit her perfectly and I wanted her to have it. She took the sweatshirt from me without saying a word. We gave her one of the adult Easter blessing bags and we also gave her a child's blessing bag filled with candy, a child's Bible card game, some crayons and a pad of paper. We also gave her and her caregiver some water. They said thank you but that was about all that they said. We saw them walk back to their vehicle and as usual we saw that they quickly opened the blessing bags to see what was inside them. I was so glad that we were able to reach out to this young girl and her caregiver. As usual, I wish we could have done more.
As usual, some wonderful friends had donated blankets, sweatshirts and jackets for us to give out to the homeless. This past Saturday we took the 5 jackets and the 1 blanket that we had left hoping that we could find someone who needed them. We never know how many blankets or jackets we will need or if we will even run into some homeless who will need them at all, but as usual, God has everything planned out for us. All we need to do is to be obedient and faithful in reaching out to the homeless. We saw a group of 6 young men sitting on the ground, under a tree in downtown Fort Collins. We gave each of them a blessing bag and then we asked them if they needed a jacket, sweatshirt or a blanket. Each young man took a sweatshirt and one of them took the blanket. As usual, they were so grateful to receive them and as usual we had just enough sweatshirts and blankets for the 6 young men sitting on the ground under a tree. As usual, we once again realized that God had completely and easily planned the distribution of our hand full of blankets, jackets and sweatshirts.
As usual, our time spent in distributing the blessing bags in Fort Collins was a huge blessing to us. We ended our time there feeling that we had once again, in a small way, lifted the spirits of some very needy people. As usual, it felt very good to be on the giving end of the blessing bags and as usual it felt very good to be reaching out to the needy in Fort Collins.
As usual, we were blessed and encouraged to have others share in our work of reaching out to the homeless. We were so happy to work with two teenage girls who were giving of their time and money to serve the homeless in Fort Collins. We knew that there were so many other things they could have been doing on a beautiful Saturday morning but instead they chose to help improve the lives of some needy people. It was such a blessing to see them use their time and talents in such a meaningful and unselfish way. We know that they were also blessed to be on the giving end of their blessings bags school project.
We left downtown Fort Collins having reached out to over 60 homeless people with a blessing bag. As usual, we left with the wonderful feeling that we were doing exactly what God wanted us to do and doing it in exactly the place where He wanted us to do it. As usual we left downtown feeling very blessed and very grateful for the opportunity to serve the homeless in Northern Fort Collins. As usual, we know without a doubt that there is no better place to be than living in obedience to God and that there is absolutely nothing usual in the "as usual".
Soaring Wings Ministries
This past Sunday we hosted our 3rd annual Ladies Afternoon Tea at Soaring Wings Ministries. It is a spring time event that I always look forward to and this recent Ladies Afternoon Tea was, as I expected, a very special time. There is just something about sitting down with friends and enjoying each other's company while sipping hot tea and eating tea cookies and sandwiches that is nothing but delightful.
There are many things that I enjoy about "having tea". The special little cookies and sandwiches are always delicious and I love drinking tea out of a dainty tea cup, but the thing that I enjoy most about "having tea" is that the pace of life is slowed down for just a short little while. "Having tea" just cannot be rushed. "Having tea" requires that you take a break, relax, linger, enjoy the moment and enjoy the company of those who are "having tea" with you. Have you ever tried to rush through tea while sipping tea served in a tea cup on a saucer? It is very difficult. "Having tea" in a mug (or horrors of horrors, a styrofoam cup!!) isn't the best way to drink tea because a mug or a styrofoam cup usually implies that something else is going on at the same time. When I am working on a project like grant writing, or cooking in the kitchen I will grab a mug of tea for a pick me up, or if I am out and about doing errands I will sometimes grab tea at Dunkin Donuts or Paneras and the tea is served to me in a paper cup because I am on the go. But, when someone serves me tea in a tea cup with a saucer I have no other inclination but to sit down and enjoy the tea and the person having tea with me.
"Having tea" almost always lures you into putting aside all other distractions and focusing on nothing but the moment. Meredith and I both said that one of our favorite things about this past Sunday's Ladies Afternoon Tea, wasn't the food or the tea itself, it was instead the fellowship and the time that we had to enjoy the company of our wonderful friends. There was nothing to distract us from the pure joy of enjoying each other's company. No cell phones beeped, buzzed or rang. No one had their cell phones out checking Facebook or looking at text messages. No one was watching television or reading something. We were nine ladies of various ages, various stages in our lives and from various towns in Colorado who sat and enjoyed one another for two hours. While "having tea" we shared the stories of our lives, laughed at some silly situations that we had experienced, shared some of our hopes and dreams for the future, talked about how God provides for us in so many ways, shared ideas for fun family times and places to visit, and as the tea ended we were already looking forward to the next time when we could all visit together again.
We also had three little girls at the tea and they only added to the delight of the afternoon. They did not linger at the tea very long as they had another agenda that was more appropriate and fun for three little girls. They retreated to our granddaughters room and entered the world of "dress up". But the agenda of the three little girls was the same as the nine ladies "having tea" and that was to enjoy each others company. Rather than "having tea" the little girls connected with each other with dress up clothes. They giggled, laughed, made up cute little songs and later in the afternoon the ladies at the afternoon tea were treated to a fashion show by three very cute little girls. Just like the ladies, the little girls were not entertained by tv, cell phones or electronic games....they delighted in being together and in spending time with one another.
As our afternoon tea was ending and we were saying good-bye to our guests, I was left thinking to myself that spending unrushed, unhurried, uninterrupted time with one other is a very good thing. I don't need to tell you that life is rushed and hectic. The Ladies Afternoon Tea, wasn't a delight because of the food and the tea....it was a delight because of the time we spent with each other. As I was cleaning up our tea cups and saucers after our guests left my thoughts turned to the story in the Bible when Jesus spent time with Zacchaeus. I thought of Zacchaeus because of the little children's song that speaks of Jesus going to Zacchaeus's house for tea. Just to make it clear the Bible does not say that Jesus had tea at Zacchaues's house, but who knows, maybe their time together at Zacchaeus's house did include "having tea". I think that Jesus was probably very busy and probably had so many other things that he could have done that day rather than go to Zacchaeus's house but Jesus, being Jesus, knew what was important and knew what mattered. Jesus knew that it was very important to spend time with Zacchaeus at his house. There is so much more to the story of Zacchaeus and why Jesus chose to go to his house since Zacchaeus was a wealthy chief tax collector, but that is more than I will be writing about in this blog. The point is that Jesus took time to be with Zacchaeus and we should follow His example.
I know some of you won't be interested in "having tea" with dainty little tea cups and saucers....it just isn't your thing, but remember, it isn't about the tea, it is about spending uninterrupted and unrushed time with friends or family and enjoying each other's company. The idea is to find something that you enjoy doing and then take the time to share that with at least one other person. If you like the idea of sitting down and spending time with someone over tea I encourage you to grab some teacups, saucers, a teapot and some teabags put the tea kettle on an invite someone to join you. I can almost guarantee that they will be so happy to spend time visiting with you over tea. "Having tea" is such a simple uncomplicated thing but it is so very nice. I know that here at Soaring Wings Ministries I am going to try to use my teacups, saucers and teapots more often. I love spending uninterrupted and unrushed time with people and I can't think of a better way to do this than "having tea" together.
Time for me to go put the tea kettle on!
Looking forward to "having tea" with so many of you,
Soaring Wings Ministries
Anita Rennells is the author of this blog. She and her husband have moved to Colorado when Ed retired and are in the process of opening a ranch to help homeless young adults.
Soaring Wings Ministries