I Didn’t Start The Fire…

I know…I know.  It’s been a while.  Let’s see if I can remember how to do this.  Today, we had a snow day.  It’s March.  More specifically, March 3rd.  Now, around here, everyone says “We get our biggest snows in March”.  Gotcha.  I’ve lived in Virginia for over 6 years now.  I still can’t get used to that.  In Oklahoma, 2 weeks of March is “spring” and then it’s break out the shorts weather.   Thank you March snows.  My son will now be going to school during the summer.  

About 5 1/2 years ago, we started house shopping.  One thing my hubby was adamant about was getting a house with a secondary heat source, i.e. a wood stove.  I wasn’t too keen on the idea at first.  Wood was messy.  It made your house smell like smoke.  It could be dangerous around kids.  I had a list of reasons.  However, logic won out and we got a house with a wood stove.

Fast forward 4 1/2 years later…I wouldn’t trade our stove if you paid me.  Well, maybe if you paid me…but it would have to be a lot!  The type of heat you get from a wood stove is amazing.  It’s really hard to describe, but it’s warmer than any other type of heat source, if that makes sense.  If you have one, you know what I’m talking about.

Anyway, with our winter being what I would consider unusually long, our wood supply is getting dangerously low.  Even scarier…the fire starters we use to, well, start our fires are not being sold.  They”re seasonal items and in most parts of the country, it’s not that season.  So, where do you turn when Walmart runs out of your fire starters?  Pinterest, of course!

I found this link for DIY fire starters.  I had my doubts that they would work.  It seemed a little too simplistic.  Lint, egg cartons, string and wax.  Really?

The guy (I suppose it’s a guy who posted it…I could be wrong) mentions using Belgium Beer.  Nowhere in the tutorial could I find him using the beer in the fire starter.  Maybe he used it to celebrate with…who knows!

Other than eliminating the beer, I followed the tutorial verbatim.  I let them dry overnight, because I started making them around 10:30 at night.  As promised, when they dried, they were hard as a rock.  The tutorial said his starter lasted about 15 minutes.  Me, being the skeptic timed it.  Sure enough…the starter lasted 15 minutes on the dot & by the time it burned out, my fire was blazing.


How does it compare to purchasing the fire starters pre-made?  Well, cost wise, it’s about half to make them.  The wax was about $4 for me.  I used about  1/4 of the box.  So, I figured it cost $1 to make 12.  If I have old candle wax that I can’t burn anymore, I can use that and the starters will cost me zilch.

It took me about 1 hour to make them, from start to finish.  One thing I’ll do differently is to cut the wax into much smaller pieces.  That was the most time consuming part of the project…waiting for the wax to melt.

My hubby was very impressed.  I figure if I make up a dozen or so each week during the summer, we’ll have plenty to use during the winter.

Now, if you’ll excuse me…I need to throw another log on the fire.


Five Years Ago

Five years is a lot of time.  A lot can happen.  Five years ago, my life changed drastically.  My husband and I made one of the biggest decisions of our life.  We left our home, our family, our friends, and everything we knew and moved 1200 miles across the country to Virginia.

We were living in Oklahoma where my hubby was a Youth/Family Minister.  We had been there for 7 years…one year was spent part time during our senior year of college.  We would drive 1 1/2 hours to the town, spend the weekend with the youth group, then drive back on Sunday nights (usually after a youth devo) and go to school the next day.  When we graduated, we moved down and started working with the church full time.

We had some great times and made wonderful memories there.  Our son was born at the hospital in town (which just happened to be across the street from the church building..very convenient!).  We made lots of lifetime friends.  It was our first “grown-up” job…and we did a lot of growing up along the way.

I remember the day that started all of the changes (ok…I don’t remember the actual date, but I remembered the events).  My hubby and I felt the need to start looking for another ministry.  We prayed that God would lead us in a place that needed us, where we could serve Him.  One day, I came home from work, and my hubby casually stated “Oh, I sent my resume to a church in Virginia”.  What???  That was a huge announcement.  I took a deep breath and said “….okay…”  He then said “Don’t worry, it’s a long shot”.

Well, when you pray to God, you better get ready for the answer!  A couple of phone call interviews, a trip out to visit and several months later, we packed up our U-haul and took off for a new adventure.

Moving out here has been one of the most amazing, wonderful, scary, stressful experiences I have ever had.  We’ve had lots of fun hosting family members who have come to visit.  We live within a day’s drive to the beach, Washington D.C., numerous historical sites, mountains…you name it…we’ve pretty much got it.  We’ve had some sad times.  While out here, my husband lost both grandmothers and his only grandfather.  Being away from family, especially during those times was hard.   I missed the birth of my niece, and finally got to meet her face to face a week after her 1st birthday.

We have met some wonderful people.  We have seen many come to/return to the Lord.  It is exciting to see the church members grow….not just physically, but spiritually.  We’ve made lots of memories.  From record setting snow storms to preparing for hurricanes, and even a familiar tornado or two thrown in for good measure!  I’ve learned a lot about living in the “south” (although Oklahoma is south…I have found that Virginia is truly southern!)  One ritual I learned of was on New Years Eve, at midnight, if you live in the country, it’s normal to go outside and shoot your guns off…not at anyone or anything…just up in the air.   Still haven’t figured that one out!!

I have no idea what God is preparing for us in the future.  He threw us a curve ball last year when my hubby was asked to step up as the Pulpit Minister after our former minister retired.  We are slowly easing into this new position, as more of an “up-front” minister’s family.  I’m sure we’ll have our ups and downs, but we are surrounded by a great group of Christians that will help us…we will help each other!!

I feel truly blessed to be able to live in a beautiful area of our country.  I know we never know what God has planned for us, but I am thankful everyday that He has allowed us the chance to live here in Virginia, to work with some wonderful people, and to raise our children in Him.

“…Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you.  Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.  Your people will be my people and your God my God.” Ruth 1:16.