Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I has been an ooper-super long time since I last posted on here. Life has been flying by. I don't know why, but we are in CONSTANT season of change in our family. It is exhausting, but that God we haven't had to live in long in any of the seasons we have gone through the past few years, I would have lost it by now. So this is meant to be a little family update, for anyone who has been curious, or just needs a little coffee break entertainment (or if you're looking for someone to pray for, cause I've never NOT needed it)

The biggest news is that Bryan got accepted into an Engineering program and will be going back to school full time in the fall. The most amazing part, was after years of being out of school he still passed all the placement tests and doesn't have to retake or backtrack. He should be graduating in 2 years!!! In case your wondering how this could be possible for our family, he is using the post 9-11 GI bill, it will also give us money for housing as well as covering school.

This brings me to my next big news, I'm finishing my education as well. I started my doula certification years ago just before we had Nolan. I had several hard years with grief to work through, but I have ALWAYS wanted to work with women and am in love with pregnancy and childbirth. It's really my dream job. I'm actually working on 3 certifications; Labor Doula, Childbirth Educator (teaching the classes), and Lactation Educator. So it's a lot, but I have some experience on my side, and I did most of the course work years ago, not it's time to get back up to speed.

In other news, my brilliant husband had an "epiphany" of sorts the other day. The Volvo was in the shop several months ago and got a pretty hopeless diagnosis for the engine. So he has been saving money to get it fixed for quite a while (meanwhile we are borrowing a car from a family member). I won't go into technical detail, too much and too complicated, but while at work it suddenly occurred to him why the guys in the shop were wrong. He came up with a test to see if his theory was correct... he was right. Now all he has to do is some minor repairs and the Volvo should be up and running, maybe by the end of the weekend. Let me emphasize A) i think he is either brilliant or crazy for coming up with the whole thing (which clearly points to God literally answering his prayer through conversation) B) Will save us maybe $1000 and get us back to having to running vehicle AND saving my sanity months sooner!

The kids are doing great, although there have been a few times lately I confess I am looking forward to moving over summer break. We will be moving to the other side of town, and definitely finding somewhere with more space. So I continually have to keep handing over our living situation to God's control, I have all these wants or feelings, but in the end I know there will be perfect timing.

Things that aren't headliners: Bryan hasn't shaved his beard since Thanksgiving. eck.
I will be making Colonel Grade 1 on Halo today (lol) and hearts explode out of me when I die, which confuses most people (men). Also, we recently got headsets so we can talk to other players while playing, most people (men) assume that I am a 9 year old boy when they hear my voice. So when I tear it up (do really well), I get cursed out a lot. Sooo, the headset may not be helping me.
By summer, Lucy's hair will probably be long enough to get into her diaper, so potty training is eminent (or a hair trim, which I'm against)
I got bangs. Fashionable, yet I still feel strange.
One of my bestest friends is having her 5th baby, and will find out the gender next month, I'm soooo excited :)
I am almost done reading "Wuthering Heights", and will soon be re reading "The Great Gatsby" in time for the movie remake to come out.
Oh, and for those who didn't know... the Pack won the Super Bowl.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I just wanted to write a little "pre-Christmas" blog entry. I haven't posted for ages, I have been very committed to trying to really focus on what's going on around me, and make sure all my priorities are strait.
The real reason is that I wanted to brag (and repent) a little about my kids. They have been through so much this year, and with out them I think I wouldn't have had a reason to keep getting out of bed every morning. They lost everything that was normal and safe in their little world, EXCEPT us and Jesus.
I admit I really expected some very negative side effects from all of these changes. I thought for sure they would be acting out, angry, sad, and displaced. But they aren't. They're fantastic. I really think that, although the losses were painful, and change was hard, we were following what God wanted us to do in this season in life. The call often hasn't made sense to us, but he has continually protected our children.
Since living here (in this tiny living space) we have put nearly ALL their toys in storage. I am a little OCD about clutter (I'm not a neat-freak, but clutter increases my anxiety) so minimizing as much as possible was my only option. There are still days when one of the kids will ask something like: "where's my Lightning McQueen cars?", and I have to say: "remember, honey, they're in storage, and we'll see them again someday."
So, as any mom can imagine, it has been HARD work to keep them entertained in a small space with not much to do.
But here's what I noticed when I was watching them play today:
They are SO content. I even asked Jack what he wants for his birthday and he literally couldn't think of anything, and got angry when I asked him again later. They just like to talk to each other, move around, look at books, sing together, and are truly happy with what they have.
I am so proud of them. They are some of the strongest little people I know, and have over-come more challenges than many adults I know.
So, not to leave anyone fretting or feeling sad for them, they are going to have a fantastic Christmas (and birthdays on the 28th and 30th). It may actually be more than they can handle...
I hope you all, like me have really taken the time to evaluate what you are teaching your children, not just with the Christmas season, but with your lifestyle. The hard road is often the road to character and success. I am so thankful that the difficulties in my life have been used to make my children stronger people.

So for the repenting: I don't know if they ever have or ever will have another Christmas like this one. We DO NOT put an emphasis on gifts etc, but this is the season we are in and it's a small way to bring a little sunshine into their life. Hopefully it don't come back to bite me next week when I have to take back everything I've said previously.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I have several blogging friends who participate in "Thursday Thanks...", and I love reading those posts. It's so important to take time to recognize all the blessings God has provided us with, because if we don't we are apt to start viewing God as selfish and impersonal. Today is not Thursday, but I wanted to take the time to make a list of "thanks". I think I'm writing this post more for myself to view than anyone else, but I hope that it can be used for others as well.
The list actually is going to start a few years back, not just things from this past week. As I said, I'm really writing it for my own recognition of Gods work in my life, and I just want to see some of the major things all put together.
If my "Thank you Lord for the Life you have given me" list brings up some memories and feelings about your own life, please make a list or blog of your own, and make sure you let me know how it turns out.
Lastly, fall is always a very meaning time of year for me. Six years ago in the month of October, our unborn son was diagnosed via ultrasound, with genetic abnormalities that would ultimately end his life. October is "Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness" month. If you have lost a pregnancy or infant, I will be having a vigil through the 15th of October (Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day) on my other blog  Please visit their and leave your babies name/birthday/heavenday or any other thing you like to commemorate your loss.

I am Thankful for

~ The day I  married my husband, Bryan, January 5, 2002.

~ The day my son, Aiden Conner, was born. February 18 2003. Looking back I realize that he had challenges (autism/etc) even on that day, but I wouldn't change a thing.

~ The day my son, Nolan Michael, was born and born again in heaven. March 21 2005. This includes every day of his life, spent right next to my heart.

~ The day Jackson Cash was born. My FAVORITE birth experience BY FAR. Amazing. I would have 100 children if it would always be like that day. Cutest baby EVER.
~The day I found out I was pregnant with Lucy, just a month after my 5th miscarriage, when we had decided we wouldn't try for anymore children.

~ The day my daughter, Lucy Clover was born, via emergency c-section, on my 26th birthday, December 30, 2008.

~ The day Bryan lost his job, in June 2010. It's hard to explain, but it was an answer to prayer.

~ The day we sold our truck, last Friday.

In my heart, the list is much longer, with lots of joy, loss, suffering. I just can't explain it all.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

On selling the truck

Life isn't always like this. Sometimes, to the glory of God, we have to whether the storm like soldiers. Knowing about what Jesus, a real man who suffered real pain, went through, not just for us but BECAUSE of us, we should be able to stand up during difficulty and have courage.
BUT, sometimes God intervenes and calms the storm. It isn't based on anything we have done, but His love Grace and mercy toward our human condition. I don't believe in a distant mythical God who looks down at the chaos of the world. Jesus, my God is personal. He has experienced life in a physical body, with all that is included. People hated him, because he was a pioneer in civil rights, women's rights, and a friend to the suffering and oppressed. I never have to think of my God as someone who doesn't understand how crappy life is, who is privileged and pompous.
This is all about His Grace and Love, something I STRUGGLE to understand in a real and complete way. Everyone looks at a particular part of Christianity or the bible and thinks "most of this is true, but probably not that". Some people have a hard time with creation, and seeing that God created the science in the world (as if science were to exact for some sloppy god) or maybe struggling to understand why the bible is relevant to our lives now. For me, however, the struggle has been with God's unconditional Grace and Love.
I struggle to BELIEVE that "God" would love each person, and I struggle to believe God would give Grace to each individual person. I know that it's true, because I believe in the accuracy, completeness, authority, and God inspired Bible, and the bible tells me about the size of God's Grace and Love.
So why do I struggle? because of my own personal pain and loss. There were times I was allowed to suffer, struggle, or fall. There has been a pretty heavy amount of loss in my life, and in working out my grief I always come down to one question "if he loves me so much, then why did this happen?"
But the truth is, the real answer lies not with in "how good has God been to me?" but with in my own personal sin, incompetence, depravity, and inability to save myself. People try to be their own "personal savior" their whole life. Using tools like but not limited to: money, power, religion, self-righteousness, physical fitness, and good intentions to try to make themselves whole. Trying to make all their mistakes, weaknesses, and losses go away or become justified somehow. But the fact is we can't.
So today, God has used His Grace and Love in an area of my life that could have seemed like a nice coincidence to someone else. But today I'm going to choose to see the Love behind it. I need to learn this lesson. It's the only way to allow the pain to be fully His, and not hang on to it for myself. I have to accept both the lessons from pain and the lessons from joy, not only the things that turn out the way I want.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Last week was CRAY-ZEY. We were confronted with financial issues that could have been pretty devastating. As a family we have had to work really hard to overcome many financial blows from this past year. We had to learn to do the right thing to the glory of Jesus, and not because we thought there would be pay off or a reward in the end. Medical bills, Bryan's job loss, moving from Washington to Wisconsin, and so many other unexpected things along the way.
Last week we came to realize that with things the way they are we weren't going to have an easy time of getting financed to buy our truck when it's lease is up this week. Thursday I was praying about this, when something happened that is rare and unusual for me. God answered me on the spot. We weren't supposed to keep the truck. it all made sense and I knew we had to give it up in order to receive whatever God had planned for us.
But there was a problem. I knew Bryan wasn't going to like this idea. It was something that had been briefly discussed before and not positively on his part. I was pretty sure my asking him to do something like give back his truck and settle for something less was going to really tick him off. So really, I prayed about it. I prayed about it for about 2 hours with out ever receiving peace on the issue, when my phone chimed. Bryan sent me a text, humbly asking me if I would be okay with it if he just turned the truck in.
When he got home a few hours later we were both so relieved to be on the same page,  both feeling strongly that it was truly what God was asking us to do. But now we had the issue of finding out how we were ever going to afford another vehicle. We were nearly broke as it was. We knew that we were being led to pay cash for something, so that we had no monthly payment or investment in a car, leaving that money open to other use. So we turned to good old Craigslist. We searched and made offers on a few things. This vehicle had to run, and have enough room to squeeze in 3 kids. Finding such a thing for the amount we had allotted was proving to be impossible. So we prayed about it some more. We both felt very strongly that we should not spend over $500 for this car. (I think that's because God didn't want us to become vain and start making prideful decisions about what we wanted) Bryan found one car that ran, and was listed at almost $1000, but at this point he was getting serious about our budget, and despite the number of sellers who had been really irritated at his low offers, he offered $450 for a car that was clearly worth more. NEVER did we expect almost an immediate response (which is also rare when using Craigslist) that simply said "its a deal".
So, on Saturday we went and picked up our new family car.
I'm not telling this story to brag about what an awesome deal we got, I just wanted to allow people to see this example of the way God provides when you follow his will. Now we have a car and no car payments. And, it's a pretty nice care believe it or not. It's a volvo and it has every bell and whistle and everything works!
Now, to continue the story (sorry, there's more) we are now trying to sell the Nissan instead of turning it in. It would make a HUGE impact on us financially to be able to sell. I would appreciate all of your prayers on this, we only have DAYS before we have to turn it in. I know at this point that it is totally up to the mercy of God, and if it isn't meant to be it isn't meant to be, but I am really hoping.

So, here's the second story, which is much shorter. most of my friends know that I have been having health issues. Praise God we started up our insurance last night and we can now go to the doctor whenever we want. We also have full eye and dental coverage, which is a good thing because the kids ruined my last set of contacts last night by filling the case with tap water.
Anyway, so I have praying a lot about my energy level, and that I will find a doctor who can help me, or that God wold heal me. Several months ago I started to develop a large cyst or something on the side of my foot. untreated it continued to grow and cause pain. I don't know what happened, all I know is that I had been praying that it wouldn't rupture (because I know that would be super painful and could cause infection) and that everything would work out if I was told I needed surgery (which it was pretty obvious I would).
Then last night when I was reading to the kids, I noticed that the pain and pressure in that part of my foot just "wasn't there". I was so used to the pain, it had been there for months. I reached down to rub my foot to feel only foot. It was gone. Seriously, just gone. I realize there are probably plenty of medical explanations for this, and that doesn't surprise me because God created the human body and all its functions, but really I was shocked. To shocked to even think about it. I think it took about 30 minutes to tell Bryan, and not even with any enthusiasm, because I was just too shocked.

So, there is my testimony for the first week of October. I love October, and I love fall. This is the beginning of a bittersweet holiday season for me every year, when I can't avoid or deny the blessings and presence of God in my life. No matter how difficult the rest of the year has been.

I'm going to go to Starbucks and get a pumpkin pie spice latte now.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Family Update

Here's just a little update on what's been going on with our family here in Wisconsin:

Aiden is getting into the swing of things at school, making friends, loosing teeth, and getting chased by girls. The babies and I have been enjoying some down-time at home. Bryan was recently made an official full time employee at work (he was on a 90 day probationary period since June). This means our new health care will start up October 1st, a HUGE answer to prayer.
Friends please continue to keep us in your prayers, we are still adjusting to our new life here.
If you would like to pray for us specifically here is our list of requests at this time:
- Continued success for Bryan at work
- Guidance and patience for us in deciding what to do about our living situation. We are still in a 2 bedroom apartment, and are trying to decide how long to stay here and what the plan should be next. It's so hard for me to have patience in this area!
- Health issues. I am having some issues (praise God for health insurance!) And Aiden is going to be having some more testing and evaluations. I'll keep you posted.
- A vehicle. We sold the motorcycle to help pay for our move out here, and now we only have one vehicle. This is becoming a challenge and we are concerned about winter. It is about an 8 minute walk to the bus stop, and I have to take all the kids with me. Temperatures go well below 0 here in the winter. Please pray that we would find a solution.

we are really excited to see my parents here next month, and then to be visiting my family in Indiana over Thanksgiving holiday.

Friends, if there is anything I can be praying for for you please feel free to email me
I love to hear from anyone who has questions or concerns!