Saying Goodbye.

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Just two weeks ago I said goodbye, or more appropriately, “See you later,” to one of my BFFs and her sweet family. Jaime and her pilot hubby Jason, along with their 3 kiddos, left to serve the Lord in Papua New Guinea and will not be back in the states for 4 years. You can read about their journey here thebrewerhouse.blogspot.com.

Saying goodbye is never easy. This girl is special. She’s my “sole sister.” We both love Converse shoes,( hence the sole reference), ¬†Madea, and music that probably won’t make it into the Sunday morning song service at church. ūüôā She’s one of those friends that you just give a look to and she knows what you’re thinking.

But the coolest thing about Jaime is that she loves Jesus. She loves Him enough to pack up her entire family and a small portion of her house and move across the world to serve Him. She inspires me and she sharpens my iron as a friend. And if you’ve never heard her pray….. You’ve missed a blessing. I honestly never heard someone pray for me the way she has. I remember once when we were getting ready to sing a choir song that I had a solo in and she knew how special the song was and she stopped me beforehand to just pray over me, the song, and the service. She’s prayed for my kids when they’ve gone through a rough time. She just pours out her heart to God and it’s beautiful.

God allowed them safe travels and they are settling in to their new surroundings. I was told they are eating well and the kids are settling into school too. Answer to prayer! What makes it easier for me is knowing that she is obeying God’s call on her life and that the safest and best place for her to be is in the center of God’s will.

I miss my “Partner in Crime,” (as she appeared on my contact list in my iphone ;). But I rest in the fact that God’s doing something great in her life and we get to be a part of that too. Until we meet again, preferably at the Orange W,…….

Love you JBrew.

15 Years.

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Today marks 15 years of marriage for Jeremy and me. It’s so cliche, but time has flown by.

We were young when we got married, 18 and 19 years old, just babies really! Babies……having a baby. Then 2 more babies came before I turned 23. Sounds kinda……small town, doesn’t it? There are other phrases I can think of, but I digress. :0

I’d like to say these 15 years have been just perfect, but as anyone who has been married for more than a month knows, they haven’t. That’s not to say they haven’t been blessed because they have. What have I learned about marriage in 15 years? Well……

It’s hard.

It’s a lot of work.

It doesn’t work if you’re both selfish.

It doesn’t work well if you put all your energy into your kids and leave no time for your spouse.

You must be willing to forgive. Even when you hurt. Even when you think you can’t take anymore, forgive. God will bless you and your marriage.

Jeremy and I have so much to be thankful for. I was not saved when we got married and there was a lot of adjustments at first, and we still have issues some days! We do not deserve what He has given us: 5  healthy, beautiful kids, wonderful in-laws, a cozy home, the best friends anyone could ask for, and an abundance of other blessings.

My prayer is that our children see Christ in the middle of our marriage. They are going to repeat what they live and I hope we haven’t scarred them too much, lol.

Here’s to living out an imperfect, but Christ-centered marriage for our children and their children as well. It’s been an interesting ride so far, so I’m hanging on as we look forward to the next 15!

 

 

Homeschool Book Fair 2012

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The hubs and I got a chance to go to the Homeschool Book Fair this year. This post isn’t actually about that exactly, but more about a workshop we attended while at the fair. It was titled, “Courtship and Dating; What’s the Difference?” It was very interesting so I thought I’d share a bit from what I learned, here. ūüėČ

The workshop was lead by Pastor and author Dennis Gundersen of Grace and Truth Books. This post will be¬†very random as my notes are not in front of me right now! One thing he said on the topic of dating¬†was that, “The reason for dating is not to build a strong marriage, but rather to give us the fun we want right now.” How true is that? These days kids try on boyfriends and girlfriends like they try on a pair of shoes!

He also quoted author Joshua Harris who says that, and I paraphrase, “Dating is teaching kids pre-marital divorce.” WOW. When he said that it literally gave me chills-it is so profound. And true. By the time a girl or boy is in their early twenties, they have more than likely already experienced at least one or two break-ups. The thought that comes to my mind is that it desensitizes them to the pain of divorce. They’ve already had their hearts ripped out a few times before, so maybe they think¬†divorce is about the same. It’s easy for them to “go there” in their mind because they think they’ve “been there” before. Know what I mean?

Another thing Pastor Gundersen mentioned is that we are a culture that is addicted to recreation. Yep, nail on the head once more. He was saying that the norm for our culture’s dating scene is to go out and spend money on things, like going to the movies, out to eat, etc. What’s wrong with that? Nothing of course is wrong with that-until you are newly married and broke and realize that you now have zero money in the bank to continue to go out and do those same activities, lol. Young people need to learn to just spend time together; learn how to communicate and really get to know the person without all of the distractions. Do I think this is utopian to a degree? Yes, but I do believe it’s doable and worth taking some time to think about.

As far as spending time together, it was mentioned that this be done at each other’s homes, with their families present. How does the young man treat his siblings? His mother? Is he respectful of his father, etc? What about the young lady? Does she get along well with her family too? One thing Gundersen cautioned about was having a daughter get involved with an “Extractor.” Will this young man take the daughter away from her family and hardly ever see or spend time with them? It can take you by surprise when after the “I-do’s” are over with and all of a sudden a wall goes up. There is supposed to be privacy¬†and time for “leaving and cleaving,” but it can be disconcerting if you are cut out of a life you were once a part of. Lots to think about in picking a husband or wife.

Mainly, Pastor Gundersen suggests to be a guide for our son or daughter. If we gain the hearts and respect of our children as they grow up, then naturally they should want to come to us for advice on one of the biggest decisions of their life.

¬†Courtship is a very antiquated idea for the vast majority of people today, even Christians. For those that choose to go by the model of courtship, if there is such a thing, then it will look different for every single family that does it. One family may allow things another may not. For us, we have already talked with Sam about dating, as the subject came up last year. Eek. She was asked to go “steady” with a boy one day before she turned 13. Good golly were we unprepared for that. We talked with her and decided that she was too young and that even though we know the boy and his family (who are awesome people!) there was really no point in it.

Whatever we decide to do, I sure am glad we attended this workshop. It made me really think about they whys and hows of dating and courtship and it was definitely an hour well spent.

I swear I was not paid to write this, I just thought it was very interesting! ūüôā

My next post will be about the overwhelming-ness that is the Homeschool Book Fair and how I felt after attending….stay tuned!

2012 so far

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Let’s see. What’s been going on this year for us so far? Here’s a recap:

New Year’s came and went, at home by ourselves…guess we’ll file that under “casualties of having a family with more than 4 kids.” I guess people assume you can’t get a babysitter? Never know ’till you ask! Or maybe it has nothing to do with the kids, and pondering that hurts even more.

February brought Noah’s 11th birthday; hard to believe he is 11 already! I’ll have 2 teenagers before I know it. It also brought another birthday for me, but it was just another day… Glad to have had 33 years so far! God is way too good to me.

March came and we, along with mom, took 8 kiddos and drove out to Phoenix to see my sister Shari. It was a neat drive out there! I had never been to West Texas, let alone New Mexico or Arizona and they didn’t disappoint. The rock formations and the mountains were just glorious!¬† It took us about 20 hours to get there, and the kids did pretty well for that long of a drive. Arizona is sure beautiful and my sister lives behind the Superstition Mountains and you walk outside and you can see them from her house-so pretty!

In the same month Noah started guitar lessons. It’s been, um, interesting so far, lol. He just needs to put forth more effort into practicing. He’s enjoying it though.

April is here and the weather has been quite entertaining, if you will. Tornadoes the first week¬†and more rain and thunderstorms have followed. We’ve needed that rain so it has been a blessing as well. Of course it’s mowing season again so Jeremy is not too thrilled about that! It sure is pretty to look out and see green grass and colorful flowers though. The kids and I planted some new shrubs and several different types of flowers and they worked real hard on them. I’m glad for their help outside because I wimp out easily ūüôā

May is on the horizon and we’ll see what God brings. There are things we are praying about and hopefully we will be able to share more about those soon.

I can say that I am ready for the beach. We’re kicking around ideas and even if gas is still $4 a gallon, we¬†plan on going.¬†It’s been a looong¬†year and we need some family time away.

Ready for sand, sun, flip flops, and sunblock ūüôā

 

Blogs Happen.

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Blogs happen, and in the most unusual places sometimes. I was waiting in the drive-thru line to get the 3 little boys some donut holes for breakfast before school today and a song came on the radio that I hadn’t heard in years. As I was listening to the lyrics and singing along, I began to think of friends and some difficulties they are facing in their lives right now and¬†our situation too. Suddenly I found myself in line for donut holes….crying. Good grief. It was a mixture of sad and happy tears-girls you know the kind. Here’s why:

The Lord already knows the end. He wrote the story.

¬†So why do we keep trying¬†to re-write it? We need to keep our eyes fixed on the One whom the story is about. Satan¬†tells us that we should be living an autobiography.¬†“Write your own tales of adventure and self-discovery,” he taunts.¬†But that is wrong. We are to be living biographies; illustrating with our lives the glorious gospel that saved us and¬†transforms lives.¬†So I cry thankful tears¬†because I know¬†God is in control and that if I would just let him, he will direct my path. I know myself too well and mess things up pretty good when I try and come up with my own way to remedy a situation. And how much of life is really in my direct control anyway?

The song is “When I Let it Go,” by Sierra. They had some really good songs back in the day and the messages in them still hold true. I have¬†to trust that God is going to work this stuff out for my good; that’s what I’m learning in my life. I am learning to trust. I don’t trust easily so maybe that’s why God has me on this year long journey. If I can trust him with my salvation, why can’t I trust him with every other detail in my life?

Here is a link to the lyrics as it won’t let me copy them here.

 http://www.leoslyrics.com/sierra/when-i-let-it-go-lyrics/

Learning to let it go……….

Cape Disappointment.

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The secretary showed us into the meeting room at the lawyer’s office today. It was¬†a room filled with shelves and shelves of old law books and such. We were told to take a seat and wait on the legal secretary to join us. The table we sat at was a large wooden table with a glass top. Underneath the glass top was a map of the Americas, North and South. I suppose it is there to distract from all the yucky legal proceedings and happenings that might take place in that room. I’ll come back to the table in a minute.

There have been 2 situations in my lifetime so far that have hurt my heart very deeply. As of today there are now 3.

The legal secretary came in and gave us the¬†documents that¬†needed to be read and looked over for errors. There was a wrong address so we sent it back with her to fix. And then we waited. And waited. All the while memories and happier times replaying over and over in our heads. The birth of the first son, and 11 months later the next; same birth weights, same dark hair and eyes, same birth month. Just like their mom and aunt-born 11 months apart, same¬†birth weights, same dark hair, and almost¬†the same birth¬†month.¬†The preemie boy number three who, born at just 3 pounds, is a little trooper. The planning of a mom’s first baby shower. The excitement of a new sonogram picture. Playing with cousins.

I hear some sniffling and see the wiping of eyes. I am holding it together. I feel like I must or this may not go as planned.

Finally the secretary came back in with two witnesses. She asked my sister if she had any questions and my sister said she didn’t. The tears are falling from her face. My mother is quietly crying across from her. I was fine until my sister begins to sign the papers. The dam breaks and I can’t hold it in any longer. The gift of¬†motherhood slipped away in that very moment and all I could do was sit there and cry. Motherhood is a gift, and if I didn’t know it before I sure do now.

Back to the table.

In the time while we were waiting for the secretary to fix the error on the documents, I perused the map. There right in front of me was a tiny island off the Eastern Coast of South America called Cape Disappointment. I kid you not. Go look it up. Irony, oh how you slay me.

I am currently a tourist on¬†the Island of Cape Disappointment. There are so many disappointments, hurts, worries, fears, and concerns, so I may be on this island for awhile. I don’t plan to make it my home, but it may take longer than a “3 Hour Tour.”

Pray for my family, please. I know the Lord has a perfect plan and I am trusting in Him to bring it to pass, but I am exhausted in so many ways. I must not “Grow weary in well doing.”¬†I’m holding on.

Holding On by Jamie Grace:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hSyfGuDtgY&feature=related