Sunday, July 31, 2011

My Miracle- 30 years ago tomorrow :)

I have copied an pasted my testimony that I wrote a couple of years ago.....and have updated just a bit.  MOST people don't know how our crazy story of our life started so here it is.  When I was 8 God granted my a miracle that forever changed EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 First here is a picture of Joanna- just because well she is cute :)

..............As it is my Birthday...I thought I would share some of my testimony of my life with all of you. I grew up in a Christian Family- they are wonderful. My parents taught us from a very early age abut scripture, God's Love for us, repentance, guidance, church, friends in Christ, and sooo much more. As with all children you never realize what you have until you are older or you miss it. That is how I feel as well. I used to cringe when people said I was just like my I consider it a high compliment. (more on that maybe in a later post.)

So a big part of my life that most people don't know....unless you have heard my testimony before is that I am a cancer survivor. When I was 8! Actually a day after my birthday is when I found out. We were on a camping trip with our family. I had the urge to use the restroom.....again and my parents took me to the doctor. They did tests thinking I had kidney failure. What they later found with more tests is a tumor that had shifted to leaning on my bladder.

They did a surgery a day later- 7 doctors.....14 hours later........and I was done. After a yearish of radiation therapy, hospital stays during the week, and coming home on weekends only......AND DID I MENTION LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS OF PRAYERS SAID BY SOOOO MANY PEOPLE I WILL NEVER EVEN KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was healed- by our GREAT PHYSICIAN! I was officially pronunced cured at age 18!

This was a very difficult time for our family. My dad was a truckdriver, my 2 brothers stayed with grandparents, and we saw each other only on weekends. Very tough - on my brothers, on my parents, on me.....not to mention my dad lost his sister to cancer about 7 years prior to this happening.

My grandmother called me a "walking miracle"- which is soooo true!!! The cancer weighed a whopping 5 lbs. which for an 8 year old skinny girl was a lot! They took out anything that wasn't absolutely necessary for me to live- including all of my "female" organs, scrapped all kinds of organs, and took bits so they were triple sure to remove anything cancerous. They thought before surgery that it was benign, but discovered during surgery- it was malignant and had burst outside of itself. Making my recovery and life- A MIRACLE OF GOD!!!!

It doesn't get any better than that!!! To be born is a miracle of God!!! To be saved by HIS AMAZING Grace- another MIRACLE!!!! To be cured of cancer- ANOTHER HUGE MIRACLE!!!!!!!! What can I say- you all thought I was crazy and Blessed just because of our family, but I say everyday I am alive and can breath in and out - is a miracle Blessed By God!!!!

What can I mom was heartbroken that I would not be able to have children. She even had a crazy notion that she would have children for me.....and when she had to have a hysterectomy as well- cried her eyes out. When she told me about it.....I simply said- God has brought me this far and HE has a plan.

I remember those long days sitting and waiting for a doctors......all the mom would be reading scripture, devotions, praying, and just loving every minute she had with me! I could never know exactly what she and my family went through, but I do know that God did many miracles in all of our lives through this crazy, tough, hard- financially, physically, spiritually time.

Praise God I was able to see HIS plans and when He provided my AMAZING husband who loved me - no matter what. When HE provided each one of our little Miracles- I MEAN HUGE MIRACLES!!!!!!! It just goes to show HIS GLORY even more!!!!

I mean our life is a story that no one could just think up. 2 people from different countries camp.....a girl with cancer.....survives......they marry......and adopt 8 children (more to come!).....I mean who could think that up??? Not me!

But, I am BLESSED on my Birthday to remember all of the many, many, many, many miracles God has given to me....and part of my calling is to share that with as many people as possible! So I wanted to share with all of you!!!!!

Thank you for reading this incredibly long post, and please feel free to share with others my miracle or never know how it may change someone's life forever- FOR GOD!!!!!

I pray that today you are BLESSED!!!  Praying for miracles in your life to show God to others who need HIM!  So glad to be turning 38 today because that means I have experienced a miracle that most don't get.  I have been Blessed with 30 years of life after surviving cancer- ALL BECAUSE OF GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!  PRAISING HIM TODAY AND ALWAYS!!!!

Saturday, July 30, 2011


 Our kids have never been to Vacation Bible's true!  When we lived at the camp it was so far away that a 45 minute trip to and then from VBS in the middle of summer camps going on was NOT going to happen.  Of course our kids went to camp instead :).  But, because of timing and money issues this year our kids didn't get to go to camp. 
 So instead they went to VBS- with all of their cousins.  This was a few weeks ago.  THEY HAD A BLAST!!!  They memorized verses- special mention Andrew got a patch for memorizing his verses at this VBS.  They sang all the songs!  They LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!  They loved learning, they loved the activities, they loved being with family, they LOVED IT!!!!
 Awwww.....Look at the picture above- 7 of the faces you see are all related :)
 Then last week a friend invited us to their VBS- soooo seeing as the kids didn't get to go to camp this year- oh why not?  Again, they loved it!!!  They made new friends, met some old ones (from my great foster/adoption group of mommies), loved the activities, the music- all of it.  In fact at this VBS if you memorized all the levels of verses you got to ride in a limousine on the last day- and Abigail and Andrew ENJOYED that very much!
Then last night they went to my other cousin's church- for a one night VBS on creation....and again had a GREAT TIME!!!!  Learned about the Bible, the songs, and the activities!!!  WE LOVE teaching our children about the LORD!!!!  It is our passion, but I also love that there are soo many others out there also willing to sacrifice so much time to help my children grow in faith and understanding as well :) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In fact this weekend my oldest Babe is gone to a weekend camp at our church!  I am sooo excited for her because I know she is having a blast!!!!!!!!  Of course we are all missing her.....but praying as she takes steps in growing in her faith.

DREAMING- Ahhhhhh........we have been dreaming!!!  A LOT!!!!  About finally settling into our home!  Have I mentioned it is only 20 MORE DAYS YET???  Well, it is.  So last night while the kids were at VBS Jason, I, and Joanna went to IKEA for a romantic dinner and to dream.  You know- look at curtains, decorating ideas, shelving, furniture, kitchens, all that jazz.  The last date we went on included a lot of the same- going to Sears- you know it is romantic to look at tvs, mowers, ovens, yard equipment right?  Well, it is to us :)

You see our dream has been a lot different than we imagined.  We imagined being in our new home months ago, being settled in already.  Not still hanging over our heads.  Not still waiting to even remember what our furniture looks like because it has been in storage for over 4 months!

And yet....our dream has come true in that we have our family, great new friends, and we are settling in- even in the temporary.  Even in our dream that soon we will be painting, decorating, hanging pictures, putting together bunk beds once again.  Dreaming is a fun way of thinking of possibilities.  Which is what we have been doing.  Even if we can't afford it all- it isn't about the money is about the future together part.

It is about having a permanent HOME TOGETHER- with family, friends, and church home.......So GLAD GOD has given us this opportunity even when it has been extremely hard.  Thank God for HIS provision for us. 

Couple prayer requests.... :)  Jason and I have been sick each 3-4 times in the last few months!!!  It is getting ridiculous :(  Tired of being unwell.  We know it has a lot to do with adjustments....Thanks!

Also, it seems we have a new neighbor to be that is not fond of our family :)  So we are praying over them!!!  For God to change their hearts toward HIM.

What are you dreaming about?  Have any prayer requests?

Oh and if you like the new blog look- Thank my HUBBY who is AMAZING :)
THANKS JASON!!!!  I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fun and Couponing.....

 So some people say things like- well with 8 kids how does your youngest get enough attention?  Well, let me tell you really I worry about- is she getting spoiled silly?  YES is the answer!!  May I present Queen Joanna....
 Yes, her royal highness was wrapped up, and carried/  slid around in the laundry basket for quite some time.  She giggled and smiled and loved it.  And her siblings- well they LOVE spoiling her too!  Hmmmm...I would say she is doing great!
 And, may I add Baby Girl has new skills.......  While we were at the home we are hoping to buy soon- for the inspection.  There are stairs there (it is a split level) and she walked right up to them, sat down and started scooting. 
 This isn't at our new home to be, it is in our rental.....with daddy supervising of course. 
 But she is telling you she can do it all by herself - Thank you very much!
See- told you I could do it!  :)  oh Joanna you are too stinking cute!!!  LOVE YOU!!!  Watch out world she has skills!!!!!!!!!!!!

So you might be a couponer if?
1)  You love the Sunday Newspapers coming to your door.
2)  You are respectful, and don't take the whole shelf of goods, you are respectful to the store, the person checking you out, and you buy what you actually need and will use!!!!!!! 
3)  You get excited looking through Smart Source, Red Plum, or online coupons.
4)  You save over 50% on items you already purchase.
5)  You love the lingo- wags, bogos, stacked Q's, MM.
6)  You don't spend 20 hours a week doing coupons!!!!  I don't!!!
7)  You love sharing how you coupon and the great deals.
8)  You brag about how much you just bought this item for when you are eating around the table.  :)
9)  What is in your cupboards is what was on sale this past week ;)

Pray your day is going well!!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Our Love Story...part 5 The Wedding

 We have only 1 wedding pic scanned and I already posted these are some pics throughout our years together instead :)  So where was I....Oh yes, it was 6 weeks before the wedding when I flew over to meet up with my fiance and family.  So what is the first thing you do- go out and buy a wedding magazine of course to check out what to do when, hints, tips, etc.  Well, that was a JOKE!  Why?  Because there was no way we had that kind of money first of all, and because the list included all kinds of things- but there was only show up to the wedding in the last 6 weeks.....YIKES!!!  he he he

I won't say it wasn't stressful trying to plan a wedding in 6 weeks, but it was AMAZING!  No stressing for a year over the cake, dress, etc.  NO people telling me they didn't like the dress I picked at the store!  No silly spending on things that really are NOT going to make you happy on your wedding day no matter what the tv shows or experts say.

Jason was working still so I was hanging out with the family waiting for him to get home, and helping out around the house :).  First thing- wedding invitations.  There was a guy from the church who does graphic designs for signs etc.  He volunteered to do our invites for us for our wedding gift.  Of course the family had to give me a little fun surprise and welcome to England gift.  As we are in the car on the way back from the airport they show me a copy of the invite- let's just say there were a bunch of sillies going on with the invite :)  mustaches on the picture, from the nut house, yep- this is my family!!!  Of course after laughing at the fun, they handed me a copy of the real invite :)

Then onto the dress- my mum made my dress for me- by hand!!!  We went to the store, picked out the pattern, picked out the material, and she made it!!!  Of course there has always been a joke about the dress because it was supposed to have a bow.  I made it clear to mum- NO BOW!!  Nothing to accentuate features that did not need it thank you :)  So whenever something happened she would tease just wait until you see that bow on the dress.  he he he......  Well, the bow did appear- in the nice van that drove me from Jason's sisters house to the church with my dad- draped across the back of the front seat- The bow complete with puffy painted smiley face!  :)  Still have that......of course right now in storage somewhere. 

Oh one more quick story about the dress.  Mum had it all laid out awaiting my final fitting.....when she walked upstairs to her room where it was spread across the bed....with coffee in her hands.....and tripped.....yep it's true, THANK THE LORD it didn't get on the dress :)  WHEW.........
 We had a very traditional wedding in lots of ways- we had marriage counseling, we got married in the church Jason grew up in, My father walked me down the aisle and gave me away, we did traditional marriage vows, and we waited to see each other (in my dress that is) until that day. We had one bridesmaid- I told her to bring a few nice dresses and we picked on for her to wear for the big day, one best man- my younger brother Scott- Jason and Scott wore matching pants, tux shirts, and vests with bow ties and fun cuff links.  We had cream and silver as our colors.  We had eucalyptus and cream colored flowers that fragranced the chapel.  The eucalyptus was free- from a neighbors tree.  The flowers a gift from the pastor and arranged as a gift from someone in the church.  Our cake traditional- English style with rolled icing- made for us by a member of the church as a gift.  Our wedding pics were done by 2 people as a gift from the church.  We had a reception under tents rented and put in the back lawn of the church.  We split after the service to a nearby park to do pics.  The food was catered by friends in the church at cost.  The dance afterward was in the hall at the church (awww....shucks no alcohol allowed I guess everyone will have to remember our reception he he he- I am NOT against people who drink alcohol, just a choice we made) with music by my brother - the best man- who happens to love to dj   :)  Are you noticing a theme here?  Yep, our wedding was cheap!!!  It's true!!  We didn't want to spend lots on a wedding....we wanted to spend it on a great honeymoon.  We did everything within a couple thousand pounds for real!!  So if money is a reason to wait to get married- not for us!

The wedding itself was also NOT traditional in that:  our pianist did an original piece that he wrote for me to walk down the aisle with.  We had a skit during our ceremony about the different kinds of love.  We both gave our testimonies during the service (hey for some it is the ONLY time they go to church).  We sang a song to our parents- Thank You by Ray Boltz.  Of course when we went to sign the registry - which you typically do during the ceremony in Enlgand- my mother in love, my brother Scott the best man, and Juliette Jason's sister, and my father in love- played and sang Buddy Holly songs.  As you do right?  My mum and dad also performed after that for us a worship song.  We had a sermon about marriage as well as worship songs such as Shout to The Lord.  It was GREAT!!!  It wasn't so short that you were there for only a few minutes.  We figured if we were getting dressed up and going to all the trouble make it a bit longer :) 

For the honeymoon we rented an English Cottage in the south countryside, visited a castle, went to the beach, relaxed...oooh yeah.....and Jason got sick and had to drive himself to the doctor.  We borrowed our parents car and it is stick shift- wrong side for me I can't shift with my left hand :(  -poor sweetie. 

Ohh......the miracle that happened- well we got married earlier in the summer than planned.  Well, what we didn't know is anything about immigration :( UGH!!!  They said it would take 6 months to get approval for Jason to come Home with me (we had 6 weeks to get back for my job).  Are you serious...I can't handle that!!  I was going to go back to teaching in my wonderful small town and being a volunteer EMT.  :(  Sad days.  Well, Jason's dad is a builder- he paints, puts in cabinets, fixes toilets, retiles, lays flooring, etc.  He had done work for someone who works in the US Embassy.  So he gave him a call and explained our situation.

With LOTS of PRAYER!!!  He made sure the papers went from person to person with no hold ups!!!  PRAISE JESUS we had an embassy appointment the day before we left to come back to the US!!!!!!  Another big WHEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Of course when we hit immigration in Canada I had to go on by myself....I totally worried and fretted as I waited until the FINAL boarding call for Jason to walk through the doors.....

Once we were home we had a reception in the US too at my school gym of course.  Our pastor there did a marriage blessing, we wore our wedding wear again, danced the night away, walked to and from our home in our wedding outfits down a couple of blocks, and had a great time........  and look at us now :)  LOVE how God orchestrated everything :) 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Our Love Story...part 4

 Sooo.....yep it's true this crazy man broke my heart!!!!!  My world crashed because I heard the fateful words on the know something like- I am not interested in you anymore.  CRASH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Of  course this was before he was to come over.  So in my ever hopeful way I convinced him to still come over and I would still go over there.......because there is always hope, right?  So I did what anyone who gets this kind of news does- ate lots of ice cream, chocolates, prayed, cried, prayed, cried, and ate more ice cream!!!

We still talked on the phone, but not as often......and when the day came for him to fly in I was soo nervous.  Was he going to reject me in person or was this just cold feet, living too far apart from each other kind of thing?  After pretending that being friends was fine....we both went about our days hanging out with each other, but no real hope yet.  He stayed in the basement of an elderly lady across town- and so at night I cried myself to sleep.  Well that weekend we went to visit my parents in Clear Lake, IA where the "magic" first sparked.

While there we talked- A LOT, I remember walking out on the frozen lake.....and there we made up!!!!!  Whew....because I tell you when you are in love for real the thought of never seeing that person again scares the life out of you!!
 So after that- I was walking on clouds!!!!  NEVER wanting our visit to end.  Then the day came for us to fly to England.  OK so I am a country/small town girl getting on a plane to visit my future inlaws...... insert music- dun dun DUUUNNNN - he he he.  The thought was a bit nerve wracking, but my mind was put at ease when I realized his parents are my parents.  What I mean is they seriously replicate my own family!!!!  You should see them when they are together it is hard to get a word in edgewise!  They are seriously the best parents ever and I am totally NOT saying that because my mum reads my blog either ;) he he LOVE YOU MUM!!!!!

Insert crazy story- ok so I promise you no matter what Jason says he did NOT tell me his dad was a twin.  And the morning after arriving still a bit in jet lag his dad pops his head in the living area to say good morning.  Of course I said my greetings back.  Then within a few minutes I SWEAR he did it again.  Now I am thinking???  What in the world is happening??  Until later Jason clears it all up by introducing my formerly to his uncle Ken.  Yeah- so his dad and uncle sometimes wear "matching" things on the same days - not intentionally.  And of course they look a little different, but not much.  And the only real difference is the glasses.  (so come to find out my mum in love actually dated Ken at one point too.....and then ended up marrying dad instead.  he he he)
 Well, as you can imagine when it came time to fly was very sad!!!  But we had already planned to have Jason fly over in a month.....a really really really LOOONNNNGGG month.  The next time he flew over it was for almost 2 months.  Now you are thinking- how could he do that and have a job.  Well he worked for a hospital as a "as and when needed" to do filing.  His job made decent money not huge amounts, but enough.  He lived with his family - which in England is very common mostly due to high living expenses.  His job allowed him to come and go as he pleased.  So we worked for the money for his next ticket (we always said my ring is really simple because all the money went into those tickets- which was way more important)!  I am a simple girl as in - I have never really wanted or needed big money items, ate sandwiches, had a tiny black and white tv, went to school events for entertainment (free for me as a teacher), didn't really eat out, never really went anywhere except once every couple of weeks to get groceries.  I totally was CHEAP :) !!!!  Didn't care about a new car..mine long as I had enough for our hour long conversation once a week when he was in England (figure out the cost of that!), and we just seriously saved every penny for the ticket to get him back here!!!  The start of our living cheap as you can philosophy to do things you really want to do!  :)  Like have more kiddos :)

So then the next time he came back was the end of April-mid May.  That was when he had a surprise for me.  We had obviously talked about our futures together.  BUT he proposed- coming into my high school band class reading his written poem about me, him, and God as our guide.  In fact my ring has 3 stones- the reminder was God brought us together and is the middle stone between us ALWAYS!!!  In our wedding bands- we have Mark 10:9 "What God has brought together let no man separate"  Let's just say the comment one of my students said was- if you don't marry him I will ;)

That was AMAZING!!!!  Then the time came to tell my parents- yeah it took him FOREVER to come out and say it.  He he he he- he was sooo nervous as if they would say we don't approve???  He already knew they loved him most.  Once we told them (they had come down for the weekend to visit) of course the next question was -when?  We had planned for me to go to England already for the whole summer "vacation" time.  Then wait until the next summer to get married- with him moving to the U.S., getting a job, and planning.  Then my mom said- what are you waiting for?  You have to understand my mom and dad met and got married within 5 MONTHS!!!!  Yeah, for real, not lying!!!  After thinking over it a did make more sense.  There really wasn't a real reason to wait.  Since then we actually figured from the time we started dating until the time we were married we probably saw each other about 5 months of that time :)
So we set a date in August, but when Jason called his pastor in England he was going to be out of country with his wife's we moved the date up AGAIN to July 19th which happens to be 11 days after Jason's birthday and 11 days before mine which is fun!  When I contacted Deb my maid of honor - she said no more calls otherwise you are just going to tell me you eloped!  :)

After finishing up school teaching stuff, and taking my big volunteer EMT (Emergency Medical Tech) tests....I flew over to be with my fiance, and the world was well because we would never be separated again ......except we had 6 weeks to plan our wedding.  He he he he he.......

Alright....more on the wedding to come.....hope you are enjoying our crazy story- because it is ALL GOD!!!  I mean how else does a small town girl end up marrying a handsome man from another country????  Seriously ONLY GOD!  Love the fact that I did NOT get my dream come true, because God's dream is SOOO MUCH BETTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Oh yeah, our big miracle is coming up too- one ONLY GOD could have done :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Our Love Story....part 3

 Well, so we left off after Jason said something that really caught my attention, and melted my heart - go back a couple of posts and find out how it all began :)

You would think that was it- we started dating etc.  BUT remember broken heart on my end, nerves about summer ending and him going home to England on his end and my end, and well the busyness of being on a Christian Summer Staff- yeah....not happening.  Until, you guessed it the last 2 weeks of camp!  That weekend before the last two weeks I invited him to come back to my small town to meet up with Deb- my roomie in my home (she was working at another Christian camp that summer).  Well, after many many torturing hours in the car and him still not asking.........FINALLY he worked up the nerve through a LOOONNNGGGGG conversation. 
 Yep, he was chicken- hiding out like in the picture above :)  he he he......  BUT Hallelujah he finally asked!!!  And we did silly things that weekend, like go to a store that was open 24/7 which he couldn't believe.  In England they never had this- well, now they do following us crazy Americans.  Watching movies all night, playing card games and board games......and got our first kiss.......  :)

So then back to camp!  Our first date was going to Applebees together, and we ran late coming back to the camp staff meeting- oooppps!!!  I was on lead staff so big ooopppsss!!!  Then a week a part as we were counseling different camps- complicated to explain, but we didn't really see each other that week because the "sites" are not close together.  And of course it is about the kids not us!

The last week- we lifeguarded together.  Unfortunately- Jason got sick this week with strep throat.  But it was our last time to have any time together :(  before I had to leave a bit early to get back to my teaching job.  YES there were lots of parting tears.......
The next time we saw each other was Labor Day Weekend.  Earlier, as in the weekend before I had met up with my parents and told them I thought Jason was "the one".  Of course my mom thought so before then, but when I said I was driving 7 hours one way to see him for the 3 day weekend.  She pretty much guessed how serious this was, because I was the "fun girl" not wanting to be too serious, and this sounded way too serious.

We met up in Kansas City.  Jason was staying with friends who had traveled to England and he temporarily worked there for a yearish.  We took our second official date- and went to Six Flags- St. Louis!  Now anyone who knows our craziness you are thinking- sounds like their dream date, and it totally WAS!!!  We both love theme parks :).

Then it was goodbye - again as I had to get back to work, and Jason had planned a cross country trip.  His grandmother had left him some money and he chose to come to camp and share Christ with kids all summer, and a trip across the US afterward to see the "big sites".  Yep, so I was teaching in small town which remember I LOVED, and getting postcards from The Grand Canyon, San Fransisco, New York City, Niagara Falls, etc.  Nice huh??  But we did call each other when we could- remember internet and emails were non existent at this time....or really limited!!

Well, he finally went back to England.....and finally told his parents he had met me etc.  Yeah, he didn't tell them before this ;).  Dropped the bomb, and his parents were happy :)  so all was well!

We arranged to meet up 2 weeks before my Christmas Break (back when you could say that even in schools).  He flew over here.  Then I was to fly to England during my break.  Keep in mind this whole time limited phone calls because it cost .50/minute back then to call England- and I was a teacher in tiny town- you can guess my salary...he he he!!!!!!  We wrote letters- A LOT (and yes I still have all of them).  We sent each other tapes (yep sounds strange tapes, tape decks??  we are old??) of ourselves talking, and yes I had tapes of him reading scriptures, playing keyboard, can you say- MELT MY HEART?????  Yes, my hubby is a romantic- be jealous :) !!!

Well....except a month before he was to come already bought......he broke my heart.......

he he he-  and with that you will have to wait for more!  :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Part 2 of the Jason & Dawn story.......The words that melted my heart!

 Yes, this would be the Happy Couple- 14 years and one day ago :) 
This would be our picture.....for our very first homestudy!!!!!  WAAAYYY Back 10 years ago :)

Sooo....oh yes, 4th of July weekend.  Well, let's say I had a great time with friends as we went to the fun fair, to fireworks, the parade (and I would like to point out that Jason wore his British socks to the parade which I pointed out was not really....ummm.....well you know appropriate) and in general had crazy camp type fun together.  If you have ever worked on a summer staff you know what I am talking about.  It is silly things that you totally enjoy.  Well, during our weekend something strange happened- we had frozen pizza.

Most of you are thinking that sounds pretty ordinary to me:  but I promise there was something in the pizza?  We were laughing and hanging around and all of a sudden a conversation started happening.  A conversation about life as in:  I said something about how I needed someone (to marry) with great cooking skills because I can't cook.  Jason piped in and said I can cook (of course he can- AMAZING cooking skills!!!!  That I didn't even know about...yet).

Then I mentioned something about the fact that I really loved my job and "needed a man" who could look after the kids while I was off at work.  Jason replied that he loves kids and would happy to stay home with the kids.  Yeah, it's ok to laugh really really really hard now.  But just sayin' that is how the conversation went. 

Then, well being at my parents we watched Ma & Pa Kettle.  Now the funny part is....we sat on a seat together and my mom happened to take a crazy cute picture of us together.  Realize- I was not interested at this point!  SERIOUSLY!!!  It was a JOKE!!!  Also would like to point out that Ma & Pa Kettle had 8 children as well......just for added sense of crazy humor!

My parents LOVED Jason.  From the beginning no worries about daddy not approving because they LOVED HIM!!!  I still think sometimes they love him more than me :)  he he he......  They loved the fact that he folded all of his "stuff" for the weekend and put it in the corner of the room.  They loved the fact that he was sooo polite- as in true British politeness.  They loved the fact that he talked to them personally- not just in our group.  Yep, he worked his smooth magic with them.

So what happened after the "infamous" weekend you ask?  Well, we went back to work at camp.  We spent little time together because we only had 24 hours off in a week....most of that you slept to keep up and did lots of laundry.  BUT we did write lots of notes back and forth to each other.  You see when you worked "outpost" which meant you were out in the woods for the week.  You came in once a day to get "supplies" - and we exchanged notes through the provider of supplies.  We asked questions about how we grew up, things we believed in, information about our families, our dreams about the future, our faith stories......everything!

Soooooo....were we dating???  NO!!!!!  We were both adamant- NO WAY!!!!  He he he- except everyone at camp thought we were.  Mainly because we became close friends.  We stayed up at nights on weekends to chat......on one such night Jason said the words that made my heart stop.....

No it wasn't let's go out for Dairy Queen although we did do that- and we both dip our french fries in our ice cream :)  It wasn't will you go out with me- REMEMBER NO WAY!!!!  It wasn't any of those.....

It was in a conversation about our future spouses.....Jason said "I want to love Christ more than my future wife".  Those were the words that totally stopped my heart!  They totally made butterflies go everywhere in my heart.  WHY?  Well, besides the obvious, my grandma had said to me once about the fact that when God brings you your future husband he will love God more than you.  At the time when my grandma said this, being a crazy teen I rolled my eyes I am sure and thought- yeah, whatever....

And well.....more on our come :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Our Anniversary story.....14 years....tomorrow......

 So looking at this handsome man.....
 And this crazy lady......
 How did we end up here- married for 14 years???? is our crazy story....and unless you want a 15 page scroll down I will break it down :)  he he he...

It all starts with camp :)  of course it does because there are a lot of things that start in my life- with camp!  So I was a band teacher in small town - Albert City, IA.  I loved teaching- A LOT!!!!  I loved teaching 5th, 6th, 7-8th, and high school bands!  Yep!  BUT summer times at a small school in the middle of tiny town Iowa seemed to be not my thing.  So I went back to my "home" CAMP!  I had counseled there during all my college years and went there as a jr high camper too a couple of times. 

So during staff training I met all the summer staff which was around 40 people.  A lot of people I knew who had also worked there plenty of summers.  Some of my former staff?  Yeah, it some are married and have children!!!  YIKES!  Ok one of those summer staff members was this cute British guessed it.

Ahhh.....but for me- I really didn't want a whole lot to do with any relationships- especially long distance relationships.  Sadly, I didn't really realize how much a heart could be broken.......and mine had been shattered, sort of repaired and shattered get the picture.  I did not live like I pray my girls and boys will do, unfortunately for me.  So I was there to be a witness to the hundreds of children that were coming to camp that summer, see my old friends, make new ones, and grow in my faith!!!

Now when it comes time for 4th of July - most camps have some longer which we take full advantage to catch our breath.  Now, I did have a home of my own, but remember tiny town...not a lot to do.  So I called my mom and said- hey, would it be ok if I brought some camp friends home to your house for the long weekend?  We will crash on the floor and enjoy the fun fair and fireworks.  My mom....knowing I totally LOVE my camp friends said sure :)

I invited anyone who didn't have family plans already.  Jason really didn't want to go.  He he he - told me this afterward....I mean it does sound weird unless you know my fun mom and dad....who wants to go home with a young lady to her parents home for the weekend?  BUT he had no other at the last minute he said he would go with our group- which was about 10 people :) will have to wait to hear more :)  Tomorrow is the big day!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Life is Messy....

He he he- I mean look at this cute girl!  She is a mess.....or at least that is a figure of speech we use.

TODAY!!!!!  After waiting 5 MONTHS!!!!!!!!!  Our tax return was deposited into our account!!!!!!!  

I would say between moving....moving again....moving again.....Jason changing jobs, myself changing to a full time Stay At Home Mom, waiting for this money to come so we could buy a home- with a good down payment so our monthly payments are affordable, something within budget, something with a yard!, and dreaming of the day we could have some permanency....

Life has been a bit messy!!  I won't lie I have wallowed a bit in self pity.  I have not always given my best.  I have failed.....over and over.  But really isn't that part of life.  To transition again and again and again.  I think if I had a "normal" life where I never changed, never challenged myself, our family just stayed the same day after day after day.....well I would NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO!

It's interesting that sometimes we forget how precarious life can be.  Our pastor mentioned in his sermon that we are all one phone call from disaster.  All it takes is one phone call, a few words, a look from your spouse, a text, a note of dismissal from your job, a friend telling you the news.......and our lives change.

There are soo many things I have learned and am still learning in my state of constant transition.
1)  This Earth IS NOT MY HOME!!!  Thank the Lord!  I don't have to worry about that!
2)  Because number one is true- then we don't and shouldn't stress about the small stuff.
3)  Waiting STINKS!!!!  No matter what you are waiting on it is NOT fun, but growing closer to Christ- leaning on HIM as if your life depended on it (because it does) is AMAZING!!!!  Not fun at the time because we are control freaks!
4)  I can get by with a lot less as long as I have people to rely on.  Seriously we have all seen movies that depict this, but living with a lot less teaches you this in a whole new way.  I am thankful for that.  A reminder that I HAVE EVERYTHING and way more.
5)  Life is just plain hard.  That is why our Creator God gave us the Holy Spirit to deal with things we otherwise couldn't.  Even in our groanings, our "mud puddles" (as a good bloggy friend puts it), in our times of despair, in our times of doubt we have a COMFORTER!!!  This comforter is much more than a good friend that stops by although that is amazing as well.  He is more than just someone who sort of knows our every need.  HE IS THE ONE WHO MADE THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH....the ONE WHO CREATED US IN HIS IMAGE!!!!!!!  PRAISE GOD for this.  You know there are times when we truly forget that the one who is walking this road with us is soo intimate with us- he knows EVERYTHING about us.  And instead of running away - He gave His ONLY SON to die for our sins on the Cross!  THEN he sent the Spirit to be our COMFORT!

You know that NO ONE LIKES change in that there are always adjustments.  Some last a long time and others a short time.  I am PRAISING GOD that this waiting time is over.....and we will be in our home - Lord 35 more days!!!!  But that means another move, more transition, more changes.  It also means a deeper faith, a stronger courage, a deeper relationship and understanding on my part of who my Lord is to me.  It doesn't get any better than that!!!

Oh, and if you have been wondering why I have been a bit more quiet.....I am working on lots of paperwork- not for another adoption.....yet, but for Mother Goose so I can help with the agency :)  It's not on a consistent basis (I WANT TO BE A STAY AT HOME MOM), but as and when needed for specific cases- doing paperwork, visiting birth families, etc.  REALLY EXCITED about this.  Never know where God will lead with this.  Can't wait to see how HE USES IT for His Glory!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

WAHOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! More BIG news.......

 I feel like this RIGHT NOW!!!!!!  Why you ask.....
 Well, God has blessed us with this........ (check last post if you didn't see our new house pics)
 And this is my family- that literally live minutes from us....
 I mean look at all this cuteness :)
 Way to go!!!
 Concentrating hard on the hula hoops....
 Gotta Play.....
 we are going to do it this way.......
 Look at these kids they are playing baseball - well you know practicing because they want to form their own team :)
And having family is really important.....

SO IS GETTING YOUR TAX RETURN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So that you don't have to crash on your family's floor for months while you still wait for it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Because I love my family and I want them to love us back :) he he he- but I know they wouldn't let us sleep on the streets....or at least I hope they wouldn't ;) he he he

Praying for all those who don't have their tax refunds yet and need them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Just to give you some hope- the whole you get interest is TRUE :)  YEAH GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Only 38 more days until we are the official owners of our home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Got pics of the house :)

Tada!!!!  Here is our new home :)  Corner Lot!  At the end of the very little traffic.....
Look a for real yard!!!  Oh how I have missed you yard...a place to play, run around, put up a tent, and have fun!!!!!!!!  And this pic doesn't show it, but it is all fenced and ready to roll!!!  YEAH!!!
A pool........and not just a pool, but a nice size, goes to 8 ft deep, salt water (which is way cheaper to maintain and easier too), have I mentioned I myself am a fish?  I mean that I love to swim???
A deck area, although this pic you don't see the hot tub that is also on the deck--off the left of this pic near the railing area.  :) OH yeah!!!!  Did I mention we have rented a house with a deck in the mountains, and Jason and I spent every evening just hanging out and talking in the hot tub?
This will be our living room......several windows, plenty of space because this picture you can't fit it all in, but it is nice.  (no they aren't leaving the pool table although they offered, we needed the space :)
This is where our home schooling area will be :)  can't wait to put all my maps back up on the wall again!!!  And my shelves :)
And this........hmmmm more home school area of course- which leads right out to the deck.....and have I mentioned that even though this is the south and it is warm- well I mean HOT, our kids LOVE HAVING PICNICS!!!!!!!!!!!!!  As in they beg to eat outside- all the time???  YEAH!!!
Kitchen- see those nice big windows to see right out into the yard and pool with??   LOVE LOVE LOVE!
And look at this- a dining room with our nice big dining table in mind!!!!  AWESOME!  Because you know if you have space at your table....and room in your can have more children :)  Just sayin'  :)
Another shot of our future home school area.....
And look at that circular drive out front!!!  Made for our huge 15 passenger :)  Made for anyone who wants to come visit!!  :)  Ok so no pics of the bedrooms.....they are ok, not huge, but really they are only for sleeping in our family anyway.  So there you have it our new home :)

In case you couldn't tell I am just a weee bit excited????

So that brings me to something that is different for us than most people.  We have not owned a home since the first couple of years we were married.  When we lived in small town Iowa and I was teaching, Jason was a teacher's aide....we thought that was where we would live for a long time.  Our Realtor was our insurance agent as well, and I believe he did other things too in was a tiny town of 800 people.  Our house then cost less than our Suburban did.  Not kidding!!!  It was 3 bed, with lots of extra space, porch, corner oversized lot, etc.  Had some "character" to it.....and we loved it.

Until we felt Called to go into full time ministry.  And well we moved to the Christian camp and were still in Iowa- Golden Valley.......for 4 years.....then moved to Louisiana for 7 years......and now we are here- so in that 11 years we haven't owned our own home.  And what makes this even more special is we aren't "planning" on moving in we want to stay here.  Seriously happy to stay here forever.  :)

Of course we all know the Lord calls us to do things sometimes we hadn't planned on, but we are happy to stay here :) if that is His Will.  We have found a great Biblical Church!!!!!  We have family- my cousins, my aunt, my grandma.  We have friends!  Yes you read that right- like people we actually talk to, visit with, and hang out with!!!  THAT IS HUGE!!!  We have a vision for missions we would like to get involved in here, and things we already have gotten involved in.

And just because God can....he did.....Jason has been going to Ironmen- it is an early Sunday morning men's devotional time, and meeting.  This past Sunday was the 2nd time he went.  He wasn't even feeling well, but at the last minute decided to go anyway.  When we were done with church, and our membership class Sunday....he excitedly told me he met someone that was a Divine Appointment.

You see this man was new too.  They have 4 kids, and are on a journey to more!  Through Adoption :)  He shared his worries about finances, etc.  Their kids are the same gender/ages as 4 of our children :).  WOW!!!  Can you say- HELLO GOD!!!  Yep, that is right, He set up a meeting for us to meet each other, and share a road together.  Can't wait to see what happens next!!!!!!  You can go check out their story HERE!

Only 30 Days until we officially get to be in our HOME!!!  :)