Saturday, December 30, 2006

He's Here!

Ben got here yesterday afternoon. It's so wonderful to see him again. :) Just wanted to let everyone know!

We had lunch and then my Great Aunt June came over and she, Grandma, and Grandpa were telling old stories from life growing up on a farm. It was really neat to hear all their stories. Life back then was way different. Perhaps I'll post some of the stories when I get a chance. After Aunt June left, Mom and Dad went down the hill to see some old friends, and Ben and I hung out and caught up...haven't seen eachother in forever (approximately 2.5 months). Later in the evning we went out to a Christian bookstore around here. We didn't buy anything though. It was fun to go, though. They're hardcore KJV only...which I don't agree with entirely, though I read the King James version. Grandma made lasagna, Ben's favorite, and we all sat around talking. Ben went to bed around 9:30, because he was up at 6 yesterday and worked for a bunch of hours, since he had to finish before he came.

We're heading to his family's home in Virginia a little later today. It's only 3 hours away, so that shouldn't be too long of a drive. Plus, we'll be together, so it's all good. :o)

(yes, I'm in love!)


Thursday, December 28, 2006

Another Update from the Mountains

Hello, everyone! Just popping in for a quick might be one of the last ones of my trip, since Ben is coming in the morning! :) Maybe even in time for breakfast!

Today was a really nice day. I slept in until nearly 7, talked to Ben a while, and then spent time with the family. We went out this afternoon to the sock shop, which was kind of fun. We all got socks. This place used to only make its socks in Mt. Airy, but now they have factories all over. it's called Renfro's socks--very comfy socks! Then, we went to Barney's Diner. If you've ever heard of the Andy Griffith show, it's the Barney who was in that show. It was a cute place, although I'm not used to having people smoking while I'm at a restaurant since that's illegal in Florida. My Aunt Debbie headed back to Greensborrow, NC after that, and we headed back to Grandma's.

When we got home, we chit-chatted a bit. We were talking about sewing and homemaking (this was my Mom, Grandmother and I) and Grandma gave me a beautiful king-size quilt that was handmade by the Great-Grandmother, as well as some lovely aprons that my Great-Grandmother made. I just love things like that! I'm very excited. I'm much looking forward to becoming a homemaker and keeping my husband's home one day. What a priviledge! I'll probably post pictures of the lovely items I received when I get back to Florida.

After chatting for a while, my parents and I headed out to go to the grocery store (I'm seeing Ben tomorrow--I'll be doing some baking!). On the way, we stopped by my Great Uncle's law firm. My Mom used to work there, back when she and Dad moved to Mt. Airy. That's where she was working when she found out she was pregnant with me! One of the ladies who works there worked there back when Mom was there, and Mom really wanted to pop in and say 'hello.' Of course, they were all amazed at how I've grown (a lot happens in 17 years! haha). My uncle was trying to convince me to go to law I said to a few people, I don't think he quite knew who he was talking to (see Titus chapter 2 for more info ;o) It was a nice visit, though. My uncle is a very good lawyer, and he told me about the case he's working on right now, and that was pretty interesting. After that, we popped into the grocery store for a few minutes and picked up some goodies for me to bake with, and then we headed over to the newspaper where my Dad used to work when we lived here in Mt. Airy. It was neat to see those folks as well. One lady, Peggy, used to babysit me when I was a little girl (before age 4). I hadn't seen her since I was really little, so that was nice.

Now dinner is being prepared, and I need to copy down an absolutely splendid recipe for "Angel Rolls" that my Grandma made...they're so good! So, I better get going. I might update again before I get home, but there's no guarantee (which I know is a big boo-boo in the blogging world...but I'll be with Ben, so I've got a good excuse)!

Many blessings!
Mary Jo

"And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments." ~1 John 2:3

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I'm here!

After all the storms and travel and whatnot, we got to my Grandma and Grandpa's house yesterday afternoon. It is wonderful being here with my family, and being able to fellowship with them. I love them very much. This morning we went out to breakfast with some aunts and cousins and relatives. It was a lot of fun talking to them. I don't see them very often at all.

But, the mountains are so gorgeous (you can see them from the back yard at the house). God is really so good! Ben is coming over on Friday, probably, and I'll head over to the Murch family's home until January 10th, when I head back. I can't wait to see's been since October! Hope everyone is doing well, and enjoying some time off! :)

PS: I'd be interested to see who all is reading my blog, since I'm at 800 visitors as of, if you want to comment and tell me something about yourself, that would be neat. :)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Hello from Georgia!

Hello everyone! Just time for a quick update...I'm in Savannah, GA. We couldn't leave for Mt. Airy, NC early yesterday morning because of the major storms in Florida and much of the east--safety first! ;o) So, we left home about 6:30 and Dad drove us to Savannah, Georgia. We got here about 10:15. The hotel, a Holiday Inn Express, is very nice. The room was comfy and smoke free, and Dad was able to pay for it with points, so all we paid for was bottled water! :o) We're taking off soon for Mt. Airy. My Grandma has internet, so I'll probably update some from there. I'll try to get my promised Sidewalk Counseling post posted.

Mary Jo

Friday, December 22, 2006

Road trip!

So, I'm going to Tampa today with Kim, Crystal, and Kyle from church...just for the day. Crystal wants to see Nolan (they're courting and he's home for Christmas, instead of in Orlando), so we're all going. I was invited at the last minute. . .being the youngest in the group, I hope I don't cramp anyone's style. I should be back between 9 and 10, I think. We'll see, though.

The promised sidewalk counseling post will probably not be completed until next week, when I'm in North Carolina. We shall see, though.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Some Encouragement

Right now, I'm reading through the Bible with Matthew Henry's unabridged commentary. I'm in Genesis 5 right now, and I was reading the commentary and there is an excellent paragraph I want to share with you. Hopefully it will encourage you in following after God and keeping your eyes on Him! The passage he is commenting on is Genesis 5:21-24.

Henry says,

"To walk with God is to set God always before us, and to act as those that are always under his eye. It is to live a life of communion with God both in ordinances and providences. It is to make God's word our rule and his glory our end in all our actions. It is to make it our constant care and endeavor in every thing to please God, and nothing to offend him. It is to comply with his will, to concur with his designs, and to be workers together with him. It is to be followers of him as dear children."

It's a Small World After All...

Yesterday after ministering at the abortion mill, my Mom, Patte, Patte's son Brendan, and a man named Jay went out to lunch at Panera's to discuss pro-life stuff. It was a sweet time of fellowship, lasting about 3 hours! Towards the end of the conversation, we talked some about Operation Rescue, and Jay mentioned he had done rescues in New England. I was surprised and said, "Oh, wow! That's where the Murches lived during Operation Rescue!" He was like, "You know the Murches?" Do *I* know the Murches? :D I'm going to BE on of them! haha

It turns out, Jay and Mr. Murch (Ben's Dad, my father-in-law-to-be) did a rescue together in Brookline and were in jail together after the rescue. It really is a small world. I guess when you have such a small circle of pro-lifers who are willing to DO something to save babies, you'll see how we all are connected in some way or other through friends. Since becoming involved in pro-life ministry, that IS something I've noticed. And it's really cool. :)

For those of you who don't what Operation Rescue was, I'll tell what I know. Back in the '80s and early '90s, large groups of pro-life Christians would get together and blockade the doors of abortion mills, destroy their equipment, and other (peaceful) things that would prevent babies from being killed. Once FACE, an act making it a felony to blockade an abortion mill or do anything to the vehicles, etc of abortion providers (AKA: murderers), it slowly fizzled out. I might have some of the details wrong, as I wasn't involved back then (I was a little squirt towards the end of the Rescue days), but I think that's the basic gist of it.

Here's an article Jay Rogers sent me this morning about the rescue he and Mr. Murch were arrested at. It's worth a read.

It really is the church's responsibility to do something about the slaughter happening in our nation, right in our back yards. You can expect a post in the near future about sidewalk counseling, and why I do it. I think it will present some thought-provoking points to the many who think sidewalk counseling is a hateful, un-Christ-like way of ministering.

I've got to go shower and do a few things, but I'll try and post later today.

Mary Jo

"I tell you nay, but except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish" ~Jesus

New Product from Ben

Hey, I did a post this morning (as Ben) on his blog for him (he asked me to--no sneakiness!), with pictures of all the light-up birdhouses he's made so far. They are absolutely beeeautiful! He really is so talented.

Check out the post here. Check out his other birdhouses at his website,

God has been so gracious in growing Ben's business lately. It is our prayer that He'll continue to do so, so we might be able to be married as soon as the Lord is willing! I'm so thankful for Ben and all his hardwork--I just love him! :)

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Hey everyone!

I'm just writing to inform you all that--I'm DONE with high school. I just took my last test, the American History Final. I am very excited. So, I just thought I'd let everyone know. I'm looking forward to the next months, a reprieve from schooling. I plan to do a lot of reading, get more organized, and more in shape, too. I am very much looking forward to seeing what the Lord has in store! In March/April-ish, I'm going to enroll in Homestead College of Bible and I plan to go ahead and get a Bachelor's in Biblical Studies, but until then, I'm going to enjoy not having any school to do!

Time to re-work my schedule! :)

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom..." ~Prov. 1:7

Friday, December 15, 2006

Girl Speaks About Her Abortion on TV

Check out this post by Crystal. I'd heard about this girl, but hadn't seen the clip until this morning. Being directly involved with pro-life ministry (on the front lines of the battle), I so appreciate O'Reilly's willingness to air this, as well as what Crystal had to say about it.

May God grant repentance to our nation!

Frugal Fridays-3 Questions

So, I've never done a Frugal Fridays post before, because I can never think of anything to write about, though I always read almost every single post that's posted on Frugal Fridays. Biblical Womanhood is a great blog, and a lot of seemingly great ladies participate each Friday. But, this Friday, Crystal posted a few questions to answer. So, even though I'm not a housewife yet (an almost homeschool graduate), I can give my input. Exciting stuff!!

The Questions:
1. What is the best resource for frugality you've found (book, magazine, website, etc)?
2. What is the best deal you've gotten recently?
3. What is your best idea for a creative and inexpensive gift (I was specifically thinking this might be helpful for those who still are looking for some last-minute Christmas ideas!)?

My Answers:
1. is by far the best resource for frugality I've found. Knowing I'm going to get married before too terribly long, Crystal has definitely encouraged me, through her writing, to use my future husband's money wisely (as well as help my Mom use Dad's money wisely). I've learned so much from reading her articles and blog posts, and have been able to help Mom lower our grocery bill by planning weekly menus, looking for coupons and sales in the grocery store ads, and making a list of groceries. Thanks to Crystal, I now look forward to much to being a wise steward of the money my husband works hard for, one day when I'm finally Ben's wife, and plan to, by God's grace, do it to the best of my ability!

2. The best deal I've gotten lately has got to be on the books I've purchased in the last couple of weeks. I've been wanting to build my library with books by great Christian authors/theologians (RC Sproul, John MacArthur, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, Matthew Henry, Charles Spurgeon, George Whitefield, etc). Books, brand new, are SO expensive! But, I found that on, they have people who sell their own books through the site, and most books have some copies in good or very good, or even like new condition, for far less than what you'd pay at a bookstore. Also, and ebay are great places to look for books. even has a section with books under 99 cents! The best thing to do is look for the lowest price book (compare all three websites) and the person with the highest feedback %. You want to be sure you're getting a good deal, for real, and not buying something from someone who will make your purchase stressful.

3. For inexpensive gifts...I don't know too much about them. If you know how to sew, etc, making something is definitely ideal! And so special! But, if not, books are nice gifts. Or cute cookies for people. :)

That was fun. My first Frugal Fridays post! Be sure to check out Crystal's blog for other posts by people who know way more about being frugal than I do!

-Mary Jo

Thursday, December 14, 2006

In All Thy Ways Acknowledge Him...

"and He shall direct thy paths."

God really does work all things together for good for those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose. I've been thinking a lot lately about the little things that seemed miniscule at the time they happened, that proved to lead to life altering things. A year ago yesterday, Ben put the letter in the mail seeking my Dad's permission to court me. Just over a year ago, we joined Cornerstone Baptist Church, where we still attend.

I was thinking about little events leading up to it, and really...the first thing I can remember is when Mom and Dad decided to get me a subscription to Guide Post for Teens, a "Christian" magazine for teenagers, that is no longer in print. After receiving it for a year or so, I headed over to their website and joined their discussion forum. A few months later, in December of 2003, a debate about predestination was started by a user called AJLightBearer. Aaron is Ben's older brother. Upon debating with him briefly, we began talking over IM. Shortly after, I became acquainted with Lauren, their younger sister (who is now 19) over IM, as well. The following December (of 2004), my Mom, Dad, and I met up with Aaron and Lauren, at their church. Ben drove them there. That meeting, though short, was a great blessing.

Just 3 short months later, Ben and Lauren came down to minister in Pinellas Park, FL, where Terri Schiavo was being starved to death, and they stayed at our house. Had we not met up previously, they likely would not have come over. This is when Ben and I got to know eachother some, and after spending one day in Pinellas (April 2 is the post date) with them, it was also when my interest in pro-life ministry was sparked. About a month after Ben and Lauren returned to Virginia (I think it was towards the middle of May), Ben and I began PMing through their family's discussion board. We quickly became friends.

At the time, I was trying to figure out a way that I could homeschool, with both of my parents working. Knowing the transition from public school (for K-9th grade) would be quite a big one, we decided it would be good if I went to a homeschooler school. Our first attempt failed, as they wouldn't let me in because both of my parents worked. A friend of my parents' from our former church told us about a school called Smith Prep. It was exactly what we were looking for.

Around the time I was registering with them, I read an article on the Murch family's discussion board by a lady who did pro-life ministry in Orlando, named Patte Smith. I remember thinking how amazing it would be to hook up with her, because I really wanted to get involved--God had placed a burden in me for the helpless unborn. Within a day, we received a letter (via e-mail) from Mr. Smith, of Smith Prep. In the signiture of the email, I saw the name "Patte Smith." I quickly put two and two together, and realized that she was the same woman who wrote the article. I became very excited, and Dad said it was fine if I began ministering with her, since she was my teacher's wife. So, June 4th, I went for the first time (and if you're a regular reader, you know I still do).

It was through the testimony of the sidewalk counselors, as well as the recommendation of Mr. Smith that we decided to visit Cornerstone. The first week we went, I was sold (I'd been listening to Pastor Dave on the radio for a couple of weeks--he's SO good!). Within a few weeks, Mom and Dad were too. Also, Ben and my friendship continued to blossom, and on December 23, it will be exactly 1 year since our official courtship began.

What a joy the last couple of years of my life has been--what a journey God has brought me on! It really is amazing to take a look back and see how He so clearly works everything together for His won purposes. He is so good, and has blessed me (and continues to!) me SO FAR beyond what I deserve (His undilluted fury and wrath).

Monday, December 04, 2006

Ben Murch featured in his local newspaper!

I wrote a press release a while back and sent it to some VA newspapers, and the News & Advance, a paper in Lynchburg that goes throughout central Virginia did an article about Ben that came out last week on Tuesday. It can be found here.

In other news, he has a couple of auctions up on eBay with his exceptional work. He sure is talented. His latest auctions can be viewed here. The big one is his first attempt that the Greek Revival style. It turned out beautifully. The other is a smaller, more affordable birdhouse--very lovely, indeed! You should check them out :)

Also, he is offering free shipping on all orders placed by December 31, 2006. Take advantage of that great savings ($30 or more!) while it lasts! His website is

I'll probably have an update about life and all that good stuff sometime soon. I just haven't had the time lately...been so busy. Hope everyone is doing well!