A story of life-change cont’

Y’all know Hezz.  I wrote about him and some of his story in this post in 2017.  If you’re local, You’ve seen him around our South Fork Campus.

In that post in 2017, I posted one of my favorite pictures….my friend Zach and Hezz right after Hezz was baptized!

This picture is outside of our church in Hezz’s neighborhood.  This neighborhood we didn’t have on our radar, but God knew.

Hezz wasn’t on our radar but God knew.

Hezz is an answer to prayer.  We prayed for a person of peace in the neighborhood and God answered.  Hezz encountered Jesus.  Hezz’s life is changed and now he’s a spark.

We prayed Hezz would take that spark and get involved.  You see, we believe everyone has a next step to take in their relationship with Jesus and our team prayed for baptism not to be the end for Hezz.  We prayed for Hezz to continue to move forward in his relationship with Jesus.

We prayed Hezz would get involved, serving within the context of the local church.  Hezz now serves and leads in Guest Services, rWorld, and REVO Students.  God answered our prayer.  Hezz is moving forward!

We prayed Hezz would LIVE BOLD, share his faith in Jesus with someone.  Hezz has done that through Skyping with a friend who is serving in the military over seas.  In fact that friend put his faith in Jesus and brought another friend to hear the story of how Jesus changed Hezz’s life and now that friend also believes in Jesus!  God answered our prayer!  Hezz is moving forward.

Here is a specific prayer we prayed as a staff team and I wrote for you all to pray for regarding Hezz from the post in 2017: It is our specific prayer that Hezz would baptize one of his friends at our next Baptism in May!”

God has answered this prayer as well!  Hezz is baptizing someone this Sunday at our Baptism service!

God is so faithful!  Thank you for praying for Hezz.  Thank you for supporting us and through us supporting Hezz.  God is using your faithfulness, your generosity to impact His Kingdom in the South Fork Neighborhood of Winston-Salem, NC and across the world on a ship in Japan.

Praise God for His Faithfulness! Praise God for your faithfulness and friendship.  Our family is honored and blessed to be witnessing movements of God firsthand in Winston!

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Frugal Living….what are those?

Heads up – I’m a happily married mom of 4.  Kids are all 8 or under.  I stay at a home and am fiercely determined in all things I do.  Our grocery bill (including all cleaning supplies for our house and laundry) for our family of 6 is $400 or under each month.  It’s like this because of my determination, self-discipline, because of some sacrifices on our part and because of some tricks of the trade, I’ve learned along the way.

So just the other day I posted a picture on one of my poorly managed social media outlets.  The idea was simple; I desire to reuse or repurpose everything in our house.  In doing so,  it may lower our bills even further.  Honestly it’s a game or challenge I’ve given myself.  Really the money management in our home breaks down like this….Josh makes money / I manage and stretch the money to new limits.  Some people even say I can squeeze a penny and outcomes a quarter.

Anyway, I posted this picture.

What are those?  Those are my own dryer sheets.  Pieces of PJs too small for any of the kiddos, soaking in a sort of vinegar / lavender oil concoction.

Why dryer sheets?  They’re not that expensive.  True Statement they’re really not.

A box of 160 for less than 4 dollars that’s a legitimate good deal.  That’s 160 loads of laundry, works out to about two cents per load.  That is unless you’re my husband.  I swear it’s like Pringles once you pop you just can’t stop.  He must use 25 every time he runs the dryer.  Then there’s the time I get in the car and think to myself….that’s funny why do I smell laundry in here.  He had actually hidden 100 dryer sheets in the car to help it “smell less like a car and more fresh” according to him.

Seriously? More fresh.  That’s probably what prompted me to it.  I had material lying around the house and well if I save $4 dollar, I save $4 dollars!  So I took old PJs cut em up and voila new free dryer sheets.  Total cost <1 cup of vinegar and 2 – 3 drops of lavender.

Best part?  Besides being free?  My husband doesn’t use them to freshen the air of our cars.  It’s a car with 4 kids 8 and under.  It smells like dirty socks, left over shoes and too many stale snacks that I swore they wouldn’t eat shoved in the cracks of booster or car seats.

So you wanna save $4 make your own dryer sheets.  Here’s how

  • Step 1 – Get some Old PJs or fleece material and cut it up.  It can be any material.  I just had these old PJs lying around so I chose those.  Bonus the ends of the fleece wont fray.
  • Step 2 – Place cut up PJs in a container (tubberware or whatever you have laying around (needs a top).  I use mason jars
  • Step 3 – Pour about a cup of white vinegar in the jar add in 20 drops of your favorite essential oil.  I like lavender oil.
  • Step 4 – Let steep.  Steep in longer than a French Press but don’t age it like a fine wine.
  • Step 5 – Wring out most of the moisture and store in airtight container.
  • To use – ring remaining moisture from the dryer sheet and well…place it in the dryer.  Make sure to retrieve lest it go the way of all my kids matching socks!  Where do those go anyway?!?

What do I do with the $4 dollars?  That’s not a lot of money.  Less than my favorite Java Chip Frap from Starbucks.  Check this out.  I do 8 loads of laundry a week.  Let’s say we use 5 dryer sheets per load.  That’s 40 sheets per week, that’s 160 per month.  That’s 1 box of dryer sheets per month.

$4 x 12 = $50 per year x 10 years = $500 in 10 years!

Four dollars isn’t that much!  But $500 that’s not insignificant.

Really who cares?  Does anyone really want to know how or why I do these things?  With more pressing came more questions and comments, I’ve arrived at the following: if I can help just one person save for a date night with their spouse or shift their grocery budget marginally then it’s worth it.

SO that’s how you do dryer sheets?  I’ve got more ideas and I want to use this platform (it already exists anyway) to briefly share some of my tricks of the trade.

I realize my suggestions are extreme and involve some sacrifice, and I’m not naïve enough to think that someone will adopt everything our family does.  I do hope however that there are some tricks, some bits and bobs that help y’all in saving some money and taking one step on this journey of frugal living.

Where we’re going:

The #FrugalLiving topics are as vast as my failed Pinterest ideas.  Is clothing the biggest bang for the buck?  Cars? Home Improvements? Groceries?  Each of these categories has some value, so why not cover each at least once.

So a bit of a preview of sorts

  • Throw away all your cleaning supplies and get these two instead
  • It’s time you learn to cook – why homemade pizza, chicken leg quarters, and spaghetti are making a comeback
  • Let’s get dirty – a look at the world of gardening
  • Reducing our footprint – how going “green” can actually save us money
  • Who’s Issac Singer and why you should learn to sew.
  • Your new favorite phrase – “I can use that” – how turning trash (or as my husband says never generating trash) can save you money one day.

I’m sure there are more but 2 of my kids are arguing about what Disney Now show to watch so I’ve lost my train of thought.

That’s where we’re going.  And here’s what it’s going to take.

Self-Discipline.  A can do attitude.  And a thorough defeat of the fear of failure.

People and specifically women (who this blog is geared to) have thought for far too long that they cannot do this.  We are afraid to fail, and therefore afraid to try.  As Ms Frizzle would say “Take Risks.  Get Dirty.  Make mistakes.” (sorry they chose Magic School Bus).

To make a dent we will risk.  To save we have to learn.  I’m here on the journey with you.  Thanks for adventuring with us.  And let’s get to some serious Frugal Living.

#Frugal Living – An intro

#Frugal Living

If life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.  It’s a commonly used phrase  to say, make the best out of a bad situation.  Our life is anything but a bad situation.  It’s a great situation and Amy and are always saying how much we love our crazy, blessed and chaotic life.  Actually when we look at that statement, we instead see that it’s really a testament of stewardship.

Stewardship, making the most of what you got.  It’s been a theme of our lives, likely sown into us as we lived, worked, ate, played and shopped in Belize.  Amy and I LOVE to make the most of what we have, whether that’s the wood left over in the eaves of our garage from the previous home owners or the land that’s around our house.  We’re maximizers at heart.

Our whole family has gotten into stewarding what we have.  In addition to that, Amy is so passionate about helping families find margin in their finances and learning how to maximize what you’ve got.  Stewardship – making the most of what you have.

Awhile back, we were at an Apple Festival and Amy signed up for a home food delivery service to come out and give their “pitch”.  I asked after she signed up what she was doing and she said “They give you free food after the pitch.”’  So it comes time for the pitch and as it turns out, they actually cook the food in your oven and then it’s a taste test (not exactly what we were hoping for).  However, we did get the left overs for lunch.  The salesman asked “so what’s your monthly grocery bill.”  Amy answered: $400 per month .  His response was “for all of you,” and Amy said yes.

His heart sank. He knew that he couldn’t get his product services as low as our typical grocery budget.  He knew we weren’t his best client.  In fact, as someone formerly in sales, I was eating all of this up. I enjoyed the pitch, the salesmanship, the endearing himself to us and our way of life.  It was great salesmanship.  We left with let us review and then we will be in contact.

I got disappointed in the salesman because he never called back, never reached back out.  He knew we weren’t buying and he didn’t waste his time on a cold case.

As you all know Amy doesn’t work.  She doesn’t work for a variety of reasons but primarily it boils down to, desire to partner in ministry together and the blessings that is to our marriage and church and family choices.

Therefore, our budget is pretty fixed.  Over time, and especially after living in Belize, we began to develop frugal habits and became passionate about sharing some of them with our friends.

We would hope over the next few months to share some of those frugal living habits with you all, our audience.  As my mentor would tell me “Take the meat and throw away the bones.”  The same applies here.  Take what you want to apply to your life and don’t apply what you don’t want to.  We hope our anecdotes, tricks and tips are as much entertaining and funny as they are practical.  Our life is an adventure.  Come on this #frugalliving adventure with us!

To get us started, I thought I would share a very recent #Frugal Living Story

I am bald well not bald my hair is receeding….far.  In fact it looks pretty janky if I don’t’ keep it trimmed, really close, like I have to use the balding shears.

Anyway, since I can’t grow much hair on my head anymore I LOVE to have a beard (although it’s starting to get a bit more than speckled with gray hair).  So I was in our bathroom and we keep the razors in a medicine cabinet that is over the toilet.  And we have kids, who seem incapable of actually flushing the toilet and NEVER put the seat up / down or close the lid.

So it’s a morning I just got back from a run, quick shower, and trim the beard before a meeting out of the house.  I see the razor needs to be changed, so I grab the new blade and it slips.  And falls faster than a speeding bullet….all the way down into the toilet, with it’s water of a deep yellow hue….thanks to one of the boys.

So there I am needing to trim the beard. There’s another cleaner razor blade outside of the pee-filled toilet but there’s the brand new razor that’s just SITTING THERE in the boys’ pee.  TAUNTING ME!  What to do?!  It may cause plumbing problems and it definitely is wasted money if I do nothing.

So I did what any self-respecting person who’s on a fixed budget would do.  I plunged my hand in the toilet (filled with “yellow water” by the way), grabbed the blade, washed it off and it’s now on my razor!  YUCK. ICK.  GROSS.  Sometimes #frugal living isn’t glamorous but it’s always the right price!

Not mine but Your’s

A prayer request from last week’s post….

Court – We have a court case for L and her future THIS WEDNESDAY.  Pray for clarity and favor for those presenting evidence to the judge.  Pray for wisdom for the judge.  And pray for peace for our family, for L, for her bio family and all those impacted by the judge’s decision on Wednesday

Well we had court and The Lord answered your prayers!  He provided wisdom for the judge and is providing peace for those involved.

It was OUR plan for L’s mom’s rights to be terminated.  It is OUR plan to adopt L if we have the opportunity.  It was OUR plan to be done fostering with the meetings, the visits, the this, the that.

And this court date was supposed to go OUR way.

Only it didn’t.  It went God’s way.  So now we trust and we pray!  The judge ruled that L’s mom is making progress and we will review again in 6 months.

Join us as we pray for L’s mom!  We are praying that she continues to make progress to reunification, if it is God’s plan.  We are praying most of all that she meets Jesus.  That she meets a NEW LIFE in Christ and is forever and eternally changed.  We pray that her life reflects Christ redemption plan and His glory in all she is and all she does!

AND We celebrate!  We have 6 more months until the next court date and we don’t know the outcome.  But from now until then we CELEBRATE at least 6 more months with L, the life of the party!  She’s our wonderful 3 1/2 year old going on 18!

Thank you for praying for her, her mother, for us as we celebrate and for Jesus’s glory to shine brightly in all we say and do!

For now and forever We trust and we pray!  It’s the Edmonds Adventures there’s really no other way!

Proverbs 3:5-6

 

New Things

So it’s been a little over a month since Z has left our house and we grieve.  We’re sad on days and we’re sadder on others.  We talk about her as often as we need to and fortunately (some) of us get to see her when picking up L from visits or going to lunch at school.

Eli and Amy have it the hardest.  They haven’t seen Z in a long time and Z was Eli’s playing buddy for a lot of the time.  And Z was / is (whatever it is I’m not sure) Amy’s daughter.

We all went to see a performance that Madeline was in at the elementary school and Z was there.  The moment Amy saw her all the emotions started flooding over Amy.  Amy grieved, was sad, and mad all simultaneously.

We know many will say “Well Z was not your daughter”  But we would disagree.  We had to make a decision that was best for her and the rest of our family.  It was a decision that we have total peace about BUT feel the devastating loss about as well.

NEW THINGS

All that to say is that our life over the last month has been lots of new.  New Rhythms. New Activities.  New Adjustments.  It’s been fun and hard.  Some quick updates on each of us.

  • Amy – Amy’s been splitting her time evenly between partnering with me in Children’s Ministry (something we swore we would never do again together when we moved to Belize…My how God Laughs) and her garden.
    • Children’s Ministry Curriculum– It is an amazing blessing to have Amy’s expertise in teaching as she leads the way editing our children’s ministry curriculum!  She painstakingly and prayerfully agonizes over each activity filtering it through “is this going to make Jesus famous?” / does this communicate the Gospel clearly?”  I am so blessed to have this person in my house.  It’s almost as if God was preparing her as a teacher for this role now.
    • Financial Stewardship – She not only edits the curriculum but is the driver on finding the best deals for supplies ensuring we are honoring God with finances in the children’s ministry.  I always ask her this is what we need – who has the best deals?  She mentally flips through the sales ads and coupons that are in her head and immediately comes up with the best option.
    • Organization – Amy’s the organizer of our house and the primary organizer of the “stuff” in Children’s Ministry.  And goodness there is so much stuff!  Two full supply rooms, plus a room for donations.  CRAZY!  But one of Amy’s love languages is ORGANIZING, so she goes right at it!
    • Garden – When Amy’s not volunteering her time at church to help with the children’s ministry or managing the house (She’s super woman you know?), she’s out in the garden.  We took on about a 50% garden expansion this year that allowed for the growth of certain crops (e.g. 100 onion plans) and the addition of some others (black beans).  I would list all the crops we have going but it would probably take too long and I’d leave some off.  But our family is thrilled to be blessed with an amazing garden again this year!
  • Madeline – Madeline is finishing up the 2nd grade year and is amazing!  She so enjoys school and her friends.  Most of all she enjoys READING.  Her teacher even joked that she finishes her work as fast as possible to get back to reading whatever book she’s into. The librarian at school calls her “my most consistent customer.”  We guess she’s reading about a book a day right now and are concerned about the number of trips we have to take to the library this summer!!
  • Jojo – Jojo is almost done with his Kindergarten year!  He’s still ever the servant.  Even from an early age he served his sister and now serves all the kids in his class.  It’s even gotten to the point that all the girls have told me they have crushes on him because he helps them!  I told Jojo “hey that’s what got me your mommy so keep it up!”  He loves school and loves anything sport!
  • Elijah – Our Belizean boy Elijah just graduated from preschool last week.  And seriously I wasn’t crying at his graduation it was just dusty / or maybe someone was chopping onions!  Seriously, Elijah is a clown, goof, and the most sensitive and serious all at the same time. He’s the one that is preaching in our house sharing the Gospel with everyone and always asking questions about the Bible!  What was the dumb stuff Judah did?  How is Jesus a Lion??  Amy and I were just talking the other night about all the trials he’s been through in his life.  We acknowledge that they aren’t as devastating nor as horrible things that happen all over the world but it’s almost as if the Lord has Elijah set apart and the enemy comes at Elijah trying to derail the course!  God’s got big plans for that boy.
  • L – L is the light of the family.  Her smile brightens any room and her love for her siblings and everyone is genuine.  She’s social…really social!  We just finished 2yr old preschool for her and she’s excited to be with mommy and everyone all summer!  She’s all smiles and sometimes a priss-pot with a whole lot of attitude as well!
  • Josh
    • Children’s Ministry – Well if Amy does all that for Children’s Ministry – what are you doing? Well to be honest we are partnering together in the ministry and it’s a beautiful, fun, and challenging partnership.  While Amy carries the curriculum mantle, I’m recruiting volunteers, following with families, reaching out to new families and those who haven’t’ been there in a while, meeting one on one with several volunteers and working on what’s next for the ministry (expansion, etc).  I took on learning Hoot Suite to up our social media interactions and transitioning some email features to make them more “aesthetically pleasing”.  We’re almost a year in and I feel like the first year was a whirlwind.  Now it seems we are getting our legs and ready to refine, and move forward.  Children’s Ministry takes up a lot of our time at “work” and at home but we live it breath it and love it!
    • Resourcing Parents –  I’m recently spending some time reading books to recommend for parents on any variety of subjects from anxiety and depression in kids and teens to how to handle technology today!  I’ve learned a lot and our poor kids (hopefully) cannot get away with anything!
    • Discipleship and Study – One of the most rewarding things over the past 6 months has been meeting with a couple of guys one on one studying the Bible together and getting a better understanding of who God is and what He’s done, so we can better live out a life of worship!  It’s been incredible watching these guys take next steps in the relationships with Jesus.
    • Birthday – Oh and I had a birthday this past week as well! 37 years young!
  • Family Time – Big family / fixed income = free activities or discounted activities for larger families! So our family days are filled with hikes, swimming at the pool in the neighborhood, puzzles and board games!  We had a blast on our first hike to a creek near our house…well minus the downpour we got caught in!  And our neighborhood pool is such a blessing!  We love connecting with new neighbors and swimming (read tiring out) with the kids!  And just passed this weekend my dad’s work sponsored a mud run and Madeline, Jojo, my dad, and I ran it!  It was the right price and a BLAST!!

So that’s a 30 second (probably took you more like 5 minutes) update on our family!  It’s been a full month, a month of grief, a month of fun, a month of full!  Here’s how you all can continue to pray for us!

Prayer Requests

  1. Financial Partnership – Our ministry partnership with Amy is functional because Amy does not work “full-time”.  In fact that’s why we raise support, so Amy can partner in the ministry.  We feel called and we feel that the Lord has uniquely designed and gifted us to do this together.  This requires faith that the Lord provides for our needs through financial partnership.  We are looking for 20 families or individuals to partner with us and our family in ministry at $25 / month.  If you are a family or individual that is interested in that, reach out to myself (joshua.m.edmonds@gmail.com) or Amy (edmonds.amy@gmail.com).  We would love to connect with you about how you can financially partner with our ministry in Winston-Salem.
  2. Court – We have a court case for L and her future THIS WEDNESDAY.  Pray for clarity and favor for those presenting evidence to the judge.  Pray for wisdom for the judge.  And pray for peace for our family, for L, for her bio family and all those impacted by the judge’s decision on Wednesday.
  3. Family – We are truly trying to make memories that last a lifetime.  Pray for us as we live this ministry family life.  Pray our kids pursue Jesus with all that they have.  And that they like us and each other…literally that we are a family so full of love and fun and most of all Jesus that they leave this summer liking being part of our family!

That’s a wrap friends!  It’s a new season we know!  It’s full of new things!  Most of all it’s full of reliance on God.  He is our everything!

Partners in ministry crazy – eyed on our hike with the kiddos…right before the deluge.

Beauty according to Amy – one of her organized “masterpieces”

Kick off to the pool season!

Sometimes partnering in ministry looks like buying the Dollar Store about of pool noodles

She’s a do it all kind of person.

Family fun Friday nights (weather permitting) always involve a fire and marshmallows

The Birthday Girl

The Birthday Girl

So yes of course, if you have been following our family at all, especially over the last month really, we’ve had some interesting changes.  But that’s for another time.  Another post.  I’ll get to that.  But what I really wanted to do is celebrate like crazy because Madeline turned 8 a couple of weeks back!

Amy and I can’t believe we have an 8 year old.  Are we old enough to have an 8 year old?  I mean I feel old enough to have an 8 year old.  In fact I ran 6 miles and biked another 4 today and have calf cramps now that run from my hips all the way to my heels!  Ugh!  That’s old feeling!

Madeline says now that she’s 8 she can know all the bad words.  She mentioned in the car the other day that she knew the “s” word.  I paused briefly and let her know the car was a safe space and that she could repeat it just this once but not again after that.  I wanted to verify (or gain CIA-level intel) into what she knew.  She lowered her voice to a whisper, leaned in, looked around (we were the only ones in car mind you) and said…”STUPID”

I (surprisingly) hid my chuckle and said: “Sounds about right.”  I then said when you’re 8 I’ll tell you all the bad words.  She responded that’s ok I already know the “H” word….HATE!  Great!  Sheltered so far so good!

But Seriously, 8 years old.  She’s starting to notice boys and boys are starting to notice her.  And at our Friday dates at lunch time, I notice the boys that are starting to notice her so I flex my muscles and make motions that I am watching them!

Madeline LOVES to read and consumes about a book every couple of days!

Madeline LOVES art  We played basketball and she’s currently doing running club at school BUT man does she love coloring, drawing, painting, sketching, building with play dough!  In fact she loves art so much that for her birthday she wanted a shirt that said “Art is my favorite sport.”

The other thing that Madeline LOVES is people.  She is the most compassionate, forgiving, empathetic and extroverted of the children.  Madeline’s favorite thing to do is to come home after finishing up homework, come outside and sit wherever Amy and I are (usually the garden) and just talk.  She loves hearing and sharing stories. Being present with people is way more important than presents!  She’s amazing!

When the kids were younger, I would put them to bed and sing them a song almost as a Lullaby.  Usually it was a praise song.  Now that Madeline turned 8; I asked the now “grown-up” Madeline if she wanted me to still do that or if she was too old.  She looked at me and said “Daddy I’ll never be too old for you to sing to me.”  So of course I sang while choking back the tears!

So Happy Birthday Madeline.  My prayer for you and my prayer that I pray over you is Proverbs 31:30 and Luke 2:52.  Would you join me in praying that over her as well!

Madeline’s Birthday Interview

  1. What is your favorite color?
    • Fucia (spelling?)
  2. What is your favorite toy?
    • Legos
  3. What is your favorite fruit?
    • Blood Orange
  4. What is your favorite tv show?
    • Liv and Maddie
  5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?
    • Quesadilla
  6. What is your favorite outfit?
    • I like to wear Pajamas a lot. I would wear them all day if I could.
  7. What is your favorite game?
    • Matching / Memory
  8. What is your favorite snack?
    • Pretzels
  9. What is your favorite animal?
    • Horse
  10. What is your favorite song?
    • Juju on that Beat
  11. What is your favorite book?
    • Dork Diaries
  12. Who is your best friend?
    • Kaleah
  13. What is your favorite cereal?
    • Rice Chex and Frosted Mini Wheats mixed together. That’s always what I eat…well if we have it.
  14. What is your favorite thing to do outside?
    • Usually jump on the trampoline or play in the sandbox
  15. What is your favorite drink?
    • Sprite
  16. What is your favorite holiday?
    • Christmas
  17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night?
    • Lucy and a blanky
  18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
    • French Toast
  19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday?
    • Fried Chicken and Celery
  20. What do you want to be when you grow up?
    • A second grade teacher or a Kindergarten Teacher

An Ode to an Oldie

Meet Olaf.  No not that Olaf.

Madeline names our cars.  This something she picked up when we lived in Belize and had several staff automobiles.  We inherited some names and then got a couple of new ones.  Madeline took to naming them.  It’s something that just stuck when we moved back to the USA about 2 ½ years ago.

Therefore, meet Olaf. 

Olaf is a 1993 Ford Aerostar.  When we were moving back from the USA, we didn’t have a car, didn’t know what we would need for the house and prayed that we would have a car that could meet our needs.

Enter Olaf

At the time, Olaf was residing as a gently (rarely) used van at my grandparent’s house.  He enjoyed quick jaunts to church, the grocery store and well that’s about it.  In recent memory (before Olaf became part of our family and received his name), Olaf traveled less and less.

Enter our family.

Our family was growing, although not as big as it is now, and we needed transportation during furlough.  We didn’t have the capital to rent a car so Olaf was made available.  Good ol’ Olaf.  1993 Ford Aerostar.

A quick history on 1993 Ford Aerostars and me.

When I was 16, I was gifted a Ford Tempo…if you were ride or die with me in high school, you may remember that Tempo.  It was RED, really Red.  Red outside.  Red inside.  Red steering wheel, Red dash. In fact I am sure the instead of the tape deck was red.  Anyway, one day the Tempo and a Tahoe did a Tango when I was driving to school. Alas the Tempo was no more.

Enter my first experience with a 1993 Ford Aerostar.

My parents had a Buick Century and a Volkswagen Rabbit.  Then we had a Saturn.  And it was time for my dad’s new ride.  He wanted a truck.  He got a green 1993 Ford Aerostar, not quite sure that’s what he had in mind.  But dads are dads and sometimes you do that.  Don’t worry though, he is the proud owner of a Toyota Tundra King Cab, extended bed, super truck.  In fact I am quite sure it could qualify as a monster truck.

Let’s Continue.  Due to the Tango with the Tahoe for the Tempo, the van became my new ride of necessity.  It went to my senior prom.  It took me on dates.  One time I was sure that I was being chased around on neighborhood because I flashed my lights at a car that didn’t have their lights on…I am sure they were in the Bloods and I was going to die.  I didn’t die and our van got me thru it.  I hated that van.  It wasn’t what I wanted.  It wasn’t cool.  It wasn’t sleek or sporty.  I was a spoiled, rotten, terrible attitude about cars teenager that should have been thankful I had anything at all to drive and I wasn’t riding a bicycle everywhere.  Actually at that point, I was too out of shape to ride anywhere so I would have been really out of luck!  I did what every dumb teenager would do, I said “I will NEVER own a car like this.”

Olaf is born.

Around the same time that our family got our van, my dad’s brother (my uncle) and his family were in the market for a new (to them car).  Enter Olaf.  After searching for some time, my uncle and his family made the purchase and Olaf entered the Edmonds clan.

In a parallel universe, my grandparents finally got rid of their Ford Bronco (no it wasn’t white but maybe the OJ thing caused them to re-evaluate) and were down to one car. That’s ok because they were retired but eventually they needed a 2nd car.  So Olaf, after faithfully serving my uncle and his family for some time, was transitioned to my grandparents.

Fast-forward several years and our family is home on furlough.  We need an automobile.  We can’t afford to rent one on our missionary salary. Graciously, my parents and grandparents reckoned that Olaf could be for us.  And thus began our beautiful friendship!

He got us from point A to point B faithfully. 

There was of course the unfortunate incident where during a hard freeze outside I pulled off the handle of the sliding door.  Equally as unfortunate there’s not a real market for those side handles thus manufacturing for them had ceased.  The junk yards were out of them, so Olaf went without.

All this really meant for us is that we passed kids in through the windows on the driver side and kids climbed out the passenger side front door when being dropped off for school.  Man you should have seen those looks at carpool.

His horn stopped working once and we had to go hunt for a new part in the steering column, couldn’t find it, so we had an auxiliary one wired up.  I preferred to drive around with an air horn but Amy and apparently “the law” wouldn’t let me.

Olaf carried around children’s ministry supplies to two campuses and became a children’s ministry on wheels of sort, candy and crafts falling out of every door from time to time.

Olaf, is gone and that is sad.  But we are happy and blessed he chose to give up the ghost here at home.

Yesterday as Olaf was burning in the driveway (that’s literally what happened), we mused (after putting out the fire) about Olaf and how he was able to make one last return to my uncle’s house to say his goodbyes!

To Olaf a great car, a good joke, and as of 2018 officially a classic automobile (25 years old).  Twas a good run my friend.

Now we’re off.  It’s time to find the next Olaf.