Pillar of Smoke

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

"By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people." Exodus 13:21-22

For those who may not know, Andrew is in Physician Assistant School. It is a very difficult program and pretty much requires undivided attention. For the most part, I have been doing well, and I can only give God the honor and praise for that. He has provided amazing people here who have taken me in like family and are supporting me. And even though I take care of all household chores, the lawn, the oil changes, the cooking, grocery shopping, and also financially providing, God has been filling me with such a joy for it. 

A week and a half ago, I stood in the middle of my friend's house at our Community Group through our church and a group of friends laid hands on my shoulders and prayed for me. I was feeling pretty burdened and I missed Andrew. I missed doing life with him and being a team. Many prayed things they didn't even realize would impact me so greatly. One friend in particular unknowingly prayed one of my favorite verses and then another prayed and said that an image of a "pillar of smoke" was coming to mind, like the pillar of cloud spoken about in Exodus for the Israelites. She prayed that God would give me a pillar of smoke to guide me through these 2 years when Andrew is so consumed with school and I am carrying more responsibilities. 

This past weekend Andrew and I finally got time together. Friday night I was feeling overwhelmed with holiday prep for my business and the house was a mess. Andrew came home from lab and told me to close my studio door, work for a few more hours and then we would go get our favorite pumpkin pancakes from IHOP to start off our weekend. While I worked, Andrew cleaned everything. When I walked out of the studio, the house was spotless. I couldn't help the tears that welled up in my eyes. It felt like we were a team again... picking up where the other left off. 

IHOP and a campfire finished off our Friday night.

The next day, we went on a mini 2.5 hour road trip to a beach in Louisiana called Holly Beach. There normally isn't anyone on the beach and you can walk for miles collecting the most beautiful shells. We ended up bringing our dog Baya and it was her first time at the beach. It was such a perfect day.

After eating our little picnic lunch and several hours of walking the beach together, we started our trek back. As we drove and listened to music, all of the sudden, we saw this...

A pillar of smoke. 

We serve a God who doesn't mess around. A God who is incredibly faithful. When you look for Him. When you keep your eyes open for His fingerprints in your life, He will surprise you over and over and over again. I still can't believe that after a friend prayed specifically for a pillar of smoke, Andrew and I, together, literally drove by a sugar cane brush fire, that caused a HUGE pillar of smoke in the sky. It doesn't get much better than that...
This past weekend was so fulfilling. The moments of laughter, deep conversations about our future, children, God and each other. I felt like we were dating again. 
This weekend was my pillar of smoke. 
A reminder that even though we are in a season that doesn't allow us much time together, that I have his breaks to look forward to. And I can rest in knowing that we will make it through this and be stronger for it. 
Andrew and I have this song that we have always liked since before we were married that says, "out of the darkness and into the fire, I'll tell you I love you". To us it means we will love each other through anything. We will fight for us. We won't give up on each other. And I am so thankful to know that I have an amazing community of people here who are supporting us as well. 

God is so good. 

The Trip of a Lifetime

Friday, January 30, 2015

"Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life"

In all honesty, this is one of my biggest challenges. Good things take time and good things take work. Not that I am putting running a business on a pedestal, but I feel that there is always something that needs to be done. When you run your own business, you take on multiple hats; creator, customer service, secretary, stocker, thinker, organizer... 

And for me, the even bigger challenge is staying on task when your studio is out of your home. I have to work hard to focus and not get distracted during my work day by piles of laundry, dishes, cleaning, cooking. Its hard to balance the "work at home" lifestyle sometimes. I have come a long way, but still have much to learn! 

We will be moving in June, most likely to Galveston, TX. Andrew got into PA School (so proud of him!!) and we are ALMOST 100% sure that we have chosen UTMB for his further schooling. We will have been married for 4 years in April and still have yet to start a family. We wanted to wait until Andrew is almost done with school before we started trying. 

So... before Andrew starts school and before we begin having children. We decided to do something that we have always talked about doing together. 

The Trip of a Lifetime.

It was almost hard for me to agree to at first. I felt guilt. I was nervous about keeping my shop closed for so long. What will people think? Will we look reckless and irresponsible? Can we really afford to be doing this right now? Maybe we should just wait....

But the truth of the matter was, if we didn't do it NOW... there most likely would not be a better time. So after 2014's year end, we looked at our budget and agreed that now was the time. So, Andrew got to planning. And now it's happening. We are 1 month away from our DREAM TRIP. Most days I can't even believe its going to happen.

This year, June, will mark 4 years for my business! I feel that I have worked so hard to get to the place I am at, and my business is such an important part of our life. It will carry us through Andrew's schooling and allow me to be home while Andrew is studying like crazy (we hear the first year of PA School is a tough one!).

In one month we will be traveling for about 34 days with an additional few days tagged on to the front end and back end in Boston to see our families before and after the trip. And we will be going to the following list of places:


Even as I type out all of those places...I wonder what things we will see, what adventures we will have and certainly what obstacles may come our way with so many flights, train rides, buses, subways and taxis in our future!! 

I am so excited for this trip and especially excited to go on it with my best friend. I feel super spoiled as I haven't had to plan a thing. Andrew loves planning and is currently working on putting together a printed itinerary for the entire thing so I can carry it with me on our trip. 

As I reflect on the quote, "never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life." I am also reminded of the verse in Proverbs 3:5, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart...". This verse is one that God continues to place on my heart this year. I may feel fear of shutting down the For Such A Time shop for this long, but these are precious memories that I will be making with my husband before we begin a new chapter, him in school and me as I support us both and also before we start a family. 

I trust that just as God has provided for our needs thus far, he will continue to do so and that He will continue to use For Such A Time Designs in our lives and the lives of others as He sees fit. I will continue to work hard, serve my customers to my best ability, and trust that God has a plan for me and for my business and that He will always provide for our needs. 

xo, Aly

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