Friday, January 6, 2017

Great Things He Hath Done

I am sure you all would like to hear a few more details, like how Ivan and Leah met. :)

Back in the spring of 2015, Ivan (who lives about an hour away from us) was looking for a house church to be a part of, and in a roundabout way, found out about our family and our house church. He began coming then and was a definite blessing to the group with his deep love for the Lord and His Word and for the wisdom and insights he would share. My Dad and he quickly developed a friendship (which has grown quite deep now), and my Dad became like a mentor to him. They met for coffee regularly spending hours studying Scripture together and talking about just about everything.

After time had passed, Ivan began spending more time with our family, and yes, an interest in Leah was developing, as it was her for him. In April of 2016, he and Leah began courting with the intent to discover if marriage was what God would desire for them. At this time, we knew him quite well, had seen his strong heart for God and for others, had seen him growing in the Lord, had been greatly blessed by his love and care for all of us (he was such a help to me when I went through what I did last spring!), and much more.

There were many days spent with him (and his son Abel) joining our family either doing house construction projects at our place or helping him with his; taking outings together; or things like that - and of course, lots of time for Ivan and Leah to talk and spend time together. :) With Ivan's work schedule, we sometimes watched Abel for him, too.

(The below photos are from our Thanksgiving day . . . he and Abel were our company!)

Walking back after Abel had stepped into the muddy water (hence, no shoes!) 

Dad saw this cave up in the rock, and teased Ivan about climbing up there . . . Ivan took him up on it and did! 

Let's hope there aren't any snakes in there! :) 

Remember the photo of Abel and I from the Thanksgiving post? This is more of the story :) . . . Ivan, Abel and I had fun climbing up here! (And Leah would have, too, but she had boots on that wouldn't work for climbing.)

Throwing rocks in the river

Love Ivan's and Leah's happy faces here! 

It wasn't very far into their courtship that Ivan and Abel were both beginning to feel like 'family', and as the weeks and months passed, Leah and Ivan (and the rest of us) began to see that God was indeed leading their paths together. Not only were their beliefs and values so similar, their personalities and life vision complement each other so well. And you all know the rest of the story. :) But you haven't seen the pictures! Here is a glimpse . . . .

Ivan had such a sweet proposal (which I won't go into detail on here :) and completely surprised Leah. He had brought gifts with names in a hat to draw out of. She didn't realize that every name was hers! In this photo, Abel is reading the name on the slip of paper he drew out . . . surprise, surprise, it was Leah! The second gift she opened led into his beautiful proposal asking her to be his wife. 

Putting the ring on her finger 

With their matching mugs which were one of the later gifts (Abel wasn't quite ready for this photo!)

Helping unwrap the last gift . . . a porch swing for their future home

So happy!!!

Getting ready to facetime his family and share the news

So exciting to tell the news to his family! (though they were expecting it :)

Playing UNO together (and after the engagement)

The next morning, Dad set up the spotting scope for Abel to watch the birds at our feeder. Abel loved it! He spent so long watching them, learning how to find the birds and focus on them, and then learning to identify them as well. At one point a bird he hadn't seen before came up, and he exclaimed: "A new species!"

There you have a glimpse into our special and memorable New Years! And now Ivan and Leah are in the very special season of growing closer to one another and planning for their lives together.


The wedding date is tentatively set for sometime in September. Ivan is in the process of completely gutting and rebuilding the house they will live in, and it will likely take until late summer to finish that big project. Needless to say, helping with that will be a big part of our 2017!

Abel liked watching the birds so much that Dad got him a surprise . . . this is part 1 (part 2 isn't here yet) 

 Two bird books! (Don't tell, but part 2 is his very own pair of binoculars!)

We had so much fun looking through the books together! He's going to turn into quite the birdwatcher I think. :)

There are many times in life when one can look back and clearly see God's hand working . . . this is one of those. As the old hymn says: "To God be the glory, great things He hath done!"

24 comments:

  1. Absolutely Lovely, Sarah -
    Thanks for sharing,
    Blessings,
    Mrs.B

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    1. You're welcome, Mrs. B! And thank you. :)

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  2. Congratulations, Leah!!! We're happy for you all!

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    1. Thank you so much, K. Family!

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  3. What a perfect proposal, not just from Ivan but from Abel as well! Just right. They look so happy together.

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    1. It was, Elizabeth! And they certainly are!

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  4. That's so wonderful!!! I'm so happy for you all!!! How exciting!!! (How in the world could Leah concentrate enough to play Uno after an event like that?! :D)
    I bet you're all very excited to begin wedding planning and preparations. :D :D :D
    Thanks for the pictures!! Pass my congratulations on to Leah and all your family for me!
    God bless,
    (YAAAY!!!!)
    -Christina

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    1. It is indeed, Christina! Thank you for sharing so much in our excitement and joy!

      Well the UNO game came quite awhile after the proposal and we had been planning to play it all day with Abel (it is his favorite game - plus it's always fun to play a game all together!) Though she may have been *slightly* distracted during it! :)

      Yes, the wedding planning has begun which has been exciting and special to do! They think they may have found a church, Leah has been looking at bridal gowns and color schemes, and we've been looking at attendant dresses as well. Lots to think about and plan for!

      You're very welcome for the photos. I passed your congratulations along to my family and they all say 'thank you!'

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    2. Hee, hee, I confess. It makes my day to hear about anyone getting married! :D :D :D

      Haha! I'm sure you all, as Leah's competitors in Uno, couldn't complain for the slight advantage. :) When my hubby asked me to court, I was so shocked. It rendered me pretty much useless the rest of the evening. Lol! I'm glad she wasn't as incapacitated.

      Wow! That's a lot done already. Way to go! Wedding planning is great deal of fun, especially if care is taken to keep it from getting too stressful. It's was easy for me to get so wrapped up in the details, I forgot the Lord's perspective about. With Leah having so much help, I doubt that will be a challenge to her, though! :D

      I'll be praying for the Lord's help in pulling everything together! I hope God makes it Leah'd dream day!
      -Christina

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    3. I can see why, Christina! It is a very special, beautiful, and wonderful thing.

      No, we didn't complain about the slight advantage. :)

      Yes, the planning is a great deal of fun, though as you shared, sometimes can be stressful, too. As Leah and I were talking with a friend yesterday, the wedding, while very special and a very memorable event, is still just the stepping stone to the marriage which is so much more important and beautiful. That helps to keep things in perspective!

      With the planning done so far, it is looking to be a lovely wedding - we're loving how things are coming together! Thanks so much for your prayers!

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  5. Oh, how happy! Give my congratulations to Leah! I will certainly pray for you all this year as Leah prepares for this big and joyful event. It's a blessing to see her beaming smile, and it's a little contagious. :) These past two posts have been a wonderful surprise. Thank you, Sarah, for sharing this sweet story!

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    1. It is indeed, Katie! I passed your congratulations on to her and she says 'thank you!' . . . your sweet note was a blessing to her! Thank you so much for your prayers for us during this season. We appreciate them!

      Her smile is just a little contagious, isn't it? :) She is so happy!

      You're very welcome for sharing! It was so special to be able to.

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  6. How exciting!!! So happy for Leah and from how it sounds she won't be moving too far from you? God's many blessings during this joyful time!

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    1. It is indeed, Sara! Yes, she'll only be about an hour away which will be so nice to have her that close. Thank you so much!

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  7. Its fantastic! They do look so very happy. So many adventures you will all have together!

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    1. It is, Alex! And yes, they are indeed so very happy!

      We certainly will. :)

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  8. This is such a sweet love story. : ) What a joy to see their happy faces! May the LORD continue to bless them both!

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    1. It is indeed, Sarah! It is beautiful to see how God has worked in their lives.

      Thank you so much for your sweet comment!

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  9. Thanks for sharing with us more details of how they met, how Ivan & Abel proposed to Leah, etc. Happy for them! I enjoyed reading it!

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    1. You're very welcome, Leah! I am glad that you enjoyed it. :)

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  10. That's happy news! I know your family is rejoicing over God's work in their lives. Thanks for sharing this testimony. That is sweet how your dad is bonding with his future little grandson. :)

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    1. It is very much so, Hannah! And yes, we are indeed. God has been so good in how He has blessed and led in their lives! You're very welcome for sharing.

      Oh yes, it is so sweet to see the bond that is developing between them! My Dad is a pretty special Grandpa. :) (As is my Mom a special Grandma!)

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  11. So excited for Leah!!!!! :D Thanks for sharing the news with us!:)

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing in her (and our) excitement, Salinn! You're welcome for sharing. :) It was exciting and special to do so!

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Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)