Fall 2013-dark leaves

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Joyful Visits

In looking over my last few posts, the titles are very sad and dreary.

I'm on a mission to post on the positive.

I'll start with the fun we had this weekend with my cousin, Alicia.  She flew up from Crowley, LA, for a visit and jumped right in with us, sickness and all.  She came to bootcamp with me and we hit the Magic House on Friday.  Saturday, while I stayed home resting, she went with Brian and the crew to the arch.  Patrick picked up a stick out of the Mississippi River that looks like a walking stick some old man worked on smoothing out for a million hours.  It's the perfect size around and height.  I hope we keep it forever. 

Anyway, back to Alicia.  She and I are both Pruitts by birth (definitely cut from the same cloth), and she's an easy and fun guest to have.  We drove all around STL this afternoon, and she flew out tonight at 6--it was a great visit.

And we have more guests slated for visits--an old Occupational Therapy classmate is in town this week, the Browns later in Feb, a former youth-group girl in early March (the rest of you should come up too!), and my sister for her spring break also in March.  We love having people over...just let us know when you want to come.  If you don't mind a couch or air mattress, we have plenty of space. 

STL Weather for the week

Tonight, mostly cloudy. Low in the mid 20s. Northeast wind around 10 mph.
Monday, freezing rain likely. Ice accumulation around one tenth of an inch. High in the lower 30s. East wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation 60 percent.
Monday night, freezing rain likely. Some ice accumulation possible. Near steady temperature in the upper 20s. Northeast wind 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation 60 percent.
Tuesday, blustery. Freezing rain, snow and sleet in the morning, then snow in the afternoon. Blowing and drifting snow with visibility one quarter mile or less at times in the afternoon. Precipitation heavy at times. Heavy snow accumulation possible. Some ice accumulation possible. Near steady temperature in the upper 20s. North wind 10 to 20 mph with gusts to around 30 mph. Chance of precipitation near 100 percent.
Tuesday night, windy, colder, snow. Blowing and drifting snow with visibility one quarter mile or less at times. Snow heavy at times. Moderate snow accumulation possible. Low around 17. Chance of snow 90 percent.
Wednesday, blustery. Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of snow. Blowing and drifting snow. High around 20.
Wednesday night through Thursday night, bitterly cold. Partly cloudy. Low around zero. High around 15.
Friday and Friday night, partly cloudy. High in the mid 20s. Low around 15.
Saturday, partly sunny. High around 30.

It's not supposed to be this way.

"Puke/sickness" schedule, in hindsight

Tuesday: Lillian and Patrick puke
Wednesday: Lillian pukes, Patrick is puny
Thursday: Lillian is puny
Friday: e'one seems fine
Saturday: my turn, let's just say I'm sick, starting at 5am; Catherine starts puking about 9pm
Sunday: Catherine pukes, Patrick wakes up puny

If it hits 40 today, I'm considering opening all the windows to air out the house.  After I Lysol all surfaces, knobs, and buttons, and pull all the sheets/towels to be washed in hot water.

In heaven there is no puke.  Or dirty laundry.  Or germs to begin with. :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Shot Down

It took less than 2 hours of careful evaluation by the HR department to determine they are pursuing other candidates who more closely meet the requirements of the OT PRN position that I applied for.

Boo.  I let my friend who works there know, but if I can't get past HR, there may be nothing her boss can do even if he wants me.  (We've never met.)

I'm going to apply some other places.  And if I'm not supposed to be working (more), I won't be.  I am disappointed--who wants to be told they aren't good enough?--but there is also some relief, for now.  The idea itself was pretty overwhelming the last few days.  We'll see how God wants to provide for our needs. 

Now I'm off to clean, clean, clean and do laundry.  Two of the crew threw up all afternoon yesterday and last night.  At least it will feel good to have a clean, clean, clean house.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Why Am I Surprised

It's been the best 2 days for me, yesterday and today.  And in both of them I have spent sincere time in prayer and the Word.  Lesson learned again.  Like I said way back then.

Some things never change.

Monday, January 24, 2011

House is Rented!

Brian got a call this morning from Lisa, the insurance woman, and the family whose house burned down has decided our is for them!  They will order the furniture and move in this week.

We are so thankful to God and grateful for your prayers.  I wish I didn't freak out about stuff like this as much as I do.  Maybe next time--because I'm sure it's coming in some form or another--I'll trust more easily and more fully.  By God's grace it is easier this time than last. :)


Last night I asked a friend who is older than me, a woman, mother of teens and college kids, wife of a pastor, and paid worker (not at home, although that's where she'd prefer to be) to hold me accountable to be in the Word because that's the only thing that's going to change my hard, bitter heart.  She confessed she's been more inconsistent during this time in her life than ever before, so we're going to text each other daily that we've been faithful to read and pray.  To get the ball rolling.

So this morning I woke up at 4:30am, hot (haven't been hot since August), and wide awake.  This wasn't my planned time to read and pray, but it seems God is providing it.  And it's quiet.  And I'm alone.  And thankful.

Maybe he'll provide a nap later too.

Friday, January 21, 2011

OTR job

OK, so I have a friend who's a PT at a local hospital, and I asked her about working there.  She said they're actually looking for an Occupational Therapist to do PRN work right now.  I'm going to apply first thing next week, hopefully get the job, and start working Saturdays asap (but not next week, Alicia!).  If I can swing just 2 days a week, 16hrs, we would also qualify for full benefits.

I really want to throw up.  It's been 10+ years since I've thought about OT.  But the pay is great; more money and in higher demand than what Brian could do as an accountant.  Crap.  Never wanted to have a career, but I'm thankful I can make some real money to help my husband and family right now.

Crap.         Crap.       Why does this scare me so much??


I'm sad.  I'd think that if someone were moving into our house on Friday that we'd have heard about it by now, because that's today.  And it sounds like the other girl wasn't blown away by the house in person like she was online; haven't heard from her either.

But a friend reminded me that God is never late.  And this is not a surprise to him.

Off to camp.  We had a date last night--the free babysitting time was part of a barter for camp, actually--and we stayed up way too late after we got home even.  Running on about 4 1/2 hours of sleep.

Looks like a recipe for a tough day, but for God.  I'll be fighting it though, praying for faith and patience. 

Hope it's a joyful Friday for us all!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

No News

I'm not sure that today is a no-news-is-good-news day, but we haven't heard anything from anyone yet about the house.  Please keep praying.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Just One Thing

The couple who went through the house this afternoon loved it.  My in-laws loved them.  Lilla totally gushed about what good people they are (Auburn fans, wouldn't you know?  He grew up in Auburn, selling Cokes at the games.).  The only thing is that it's a good ways from their kids' school.  Hmmmmm...

And now we have an email from another girl who is "definitely interested" in a lease-purchase, and Lilla is showing it to her tomorrow at 11am.

Whoever wants it can have it!  And PRAISE THE LORD we really like both of the options!  Now, Lord, please make one of these come through!

Red Mountain Music

While we're working on deep cleaning the kitchen just now--the older girls are on their hands and knees alongside me scrubbing the edges--Catherine stopped to put on some music.  To my delight it's the Red Mountain Mix a good friend made for me before we left Birmingham.  Because it's a mix, I couldn't even begin to tell you which albums the songs come from, but I can wholeheartedly recommend any of them to you.   

You can hear Help My Unbelief, as well as 5 other beautifully updated hymns here.  Be careful--you may be inspired to sing at the top of your lungs as you scrub your kitchen floor!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Fire Damage Rescue

We just got a call from an insurance rep who is house-shopping for a family who lost theirs in a fire.  Would we be willing to do a 6mo. minimum lease then month-to-month after that?  What appliances are there?  How do the others hook up?  Could they possibly see it tomorrow and move in Friday? 

Wait...could they move in Friday??  Yes, yes, yes!

She expects to get back to us today to move forward on this. 

We are prayerfully hopeful we could actually have renters BEFORE the start of the month!  Only the Lord could come up with this...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Dropped the Price

We're now asking $224,900 for the house.  It's brought much more traffic on the webpage and someone even marked it as their client favorite.  We shall see.


What do you do when you're so angry you could punch a hole in the wall?  I usually break a hairbrush by banging it on a solid surface.  Or scream. 

I'm so ready to quit this homeschool stuff.  My attitude stinks.  The girls' attitudes stink.  They would never, NEVER treat a teacher the way they treat me!  Or at least I hope they wouldn't.  At least they'd be in BIG trouble if they did.  Plus I hope I would be more patient with a troublesome person than I am with my troublesome little people sitting right here at this table with me listening to me huffy-puffy typing this out, banging the space bar loudly every time I hit it.

Ahhhhhhhh!  Everything right now pisses me off.  It's like I have terminal PMS, but it's circumstances and not hormones.  Rise above the circumstances, Rebecca.  Be a big girl.  Act like a grown up. 

Lord willing the school stuff will change next year.  No details to share yet, but we are praying God will provide an opportunity for me to work and put the kids all in school where Patrick is.  LORD WILLING!  Father, please have mercy on us all.  Please.

And please, Lord, do something with the house.  Soon. 

Friday, January 14, 2011


OK, I admit I sometimes feel like a pretty cool girl (then other days I have great awareness of what a nerd I am, but I digress).  And I often think I have some pretty good stuff to offer others by way of experience, insight and advice.  I hope I listen well.  I really enjoy being in relationship with others, and I usually feel that I can hang with them in the coolness and insight departments.  I also feel like I have a special corner in the "my life is difficult right now" department.  Ewww...I'm being honest here...realize I am disgusted at the pride and arrogance I read in these words, like I expect you are.  Yuck!  Yuck!

Well, today I have discovered the blog of a friend who thinks like me and rambles in her writing like me, but so much better.  This girl is so much cooler and insightful than I am (although she, unlike me, would probably disagree with this analysis, lol), and I so want to be her friend.  I know I've said that about other people, but the difference is that we're already friends.  But now I just want to sit down, listen to her talk, and LEARN from her.  Empathize with her.  Be reminded of all the many, many blessings I have, no matter how hard it might be right now.  Be HUMBLED.

I like being humbled like this.  Really.  It feels good to move things closer to a right perspective.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

War Eagle! and Winter! and Birthdays! and Sickness!

I. love. Auburn.  I love being an Auburn Tiger.  And I love Auburn football.  And we just won the National Championship.  Congrats to everyone who was involved with the team!  We are so proud of you!

And I'm cold.  So very cold.  There is ice on the INSIDE of my kitchen windows.  Outside, right now at 10:26am, it is 13 degrees, but feels like -2.  Our internet wasn't up this morning, but I'd like to have known what it was when I headed out for bootcamp this morning at 5:15am.  I'm seriously bringing up the big coffee maker this afternoon.

Today is Catherine's 7th birthday.  For some reason that makes me feel older than having an 8yo (Sarah Frances).  My second child is that old, ya know?  How old will I feel when Lillian is 7!  Catherine's milking it too--yummy food for all 3 meals today, lots of presents from family already opened (thank you so much!), and cupcakes to take to her sweet class tonight at church. 

Earlier we girls all had to go out in the -2 weather because Sarah Frances has been complaining for a couple of days that it hurt to swallow.  Then yesterday she put herself to bed for an afternoon nap.  Last night I noticed a rash on her back when I was scratching it.  So off to the doctor we went first thing--after opening gifts of course.  It's strep.  And strep with a rash used to be called scarlet fever.  Dr. Birmingham (you read that right) says they don't give that diagnosis anymore because it freaks people out, but that's what she has. 

So it's a mixed bag today--joy and sickness.  One day there will be no sickness.  And everyday we'll feel as special as we do on our birthdays.  And it will be warm, but not too hot.  Maybe we'll all be Auburn fans too, since our eyes will be free to see what it means to be part of the Auburn family and that it's about as good as being a part of the Family.  :)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Rental Showing

Got a call 30 min. ago from a Bonnie West in Michigan whose husband Dick is in corporate housing in Bham.  They are looking to rent beginning immediately for the next 2 to 3 years.  They don't have school aged kids but seem to want to be in Vestavia Hills.  She needs space for her quilting machine and was excited that there was lots of unfinished basement space.  She says they'll be the perfect renters because she'll treat it like her own home.  And that it sounds like it was meant to be.  She wanted her husband to see it today.  We set up a showing for 4:30.

Getting Out and Cleaning Out

I think going out early in the morning makes for a long afternoon.  It's been a busy day, and I can't believe it's only 2:53pm.  Feels like 6:30.  Good thing it's not though, because I don't have a plan for dinner yet.

Sarah Frances and I went to Kaldi's for breakfast this morning.  Then all 4 kids and I went to the Science Center with Marne and her 4 kids.  We got tickets to the 10am discovery room--very fun.  She and John Halsey were planning on taking their kids to a children's violin performance at noon to see if they would be interested in playing, so I offered to keep her 2 younger if she'd take my 2 older.  It was a good swap; everyone enjoyed where they were.  Then when they picked up McIver and Slade, she left Halsey with me and took Catherine.  They've been playing the wii and riding Patrick's skateboard, alternately, for the last hour and a half, and I've been cleaning out. 

See, we helped a new seminary family from Bham move in yesterday, and I was inspired to simplify our home.  The thought of moving everything in this house again freaks me out.  And while we were at the Science Center, Brian was here looking all over for Catherine's brand new North Face jacket she got for Christmas, getting more and more frustrated at the amount of stuff in this house.  We found the jacket, and another new inspiration for cleaning out.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Seminary Epiphany--Part 2

Part of my resentment toward the quesiton, "What does your day look like today?" is that I don't even know what it means when he tells me what he has to do.  It's another comparison thing.

In Bham, if he had a meeting or went to work, I knew the people he was with.  I knew specifically what he was doing there.  And because we had 9 years of history with most of the people and circumstances involved, it only took a minute to fill me in on what he'd been up to with whom.  Even though we'd spent most of the day apart, I felt like I was completely filled in on his life.  And that made me feel like more of a direct part of the life he lived all day.

Now, it's not like I'm a controlling wife!  I'm not wanting to keep my thumb on top of him or micromanage his life or be nosy.  I like to hear his stories.  It's what makes me feel like we're on the same team, walking together through life.  And in Bham it was effortless to do this.

Here in STL, I feel clueless about what he's learning, who he's with, and what he's actually doing.  Often I don't even know where he is.  It makes me feel like I don't know him as well and that I'm not as much a part of his life.  And for me to be filled in well would take much more time than before, when time is more precious now than ever.

And the same goes for my sharing with him.  I would call him in Bham when we were in the car and tell him who we saw at the park or how much I saved at Publix.  We'd touch base throughout the day every day.  Here, I can't count on it being a good time to interrupt him. 

So, I'm not sure this is a problem with an easy solution.  And I'm not seeing that school ending will help it either.  Not sure what to do with this part.

We admit we've always had an easy marriage. We've never fought and rarely disagreed. It was very, very, very easy to just go forward with living. So any little issue is a big one for us.

A friend suggested that the disjointedness might just be part of this season in our marriage (10 years last month).  Maybe.  I have a hard time with just letting it go at that.  But identifiying that IT'S CIRCUMSTANCES THAT ARE CAUSING THE ISSUE helps me be more gracious to him too.  And we can all use grace around here!

Seminary Epiphany--Part 1

Brian and I are still adjusting to this school thing.  This time I mean the part where he's a full-time student and what that means for his day.  It has caused me to ask him often, "So what does your day look like today?"  

I've begun to resent that question a little.  OK, a lot.  I've let it mean, "What are you going to do today without us that is all by yourself and I don't get to be by myself ever but you have flexibility in your day, so what are you going to do?  And if you do have any free time, when can you come help me because I deserve a break too."  I've also thought it was a new question since we moved here, and that it was one I would have never asked when we lived in Birmingham.  I've let that question represent to me how we are living comparatively parallel lives and not keeping in touch as much as we used to.  The newness of the question has made me fearful that it will not get better when we're finished with school.  Like that the truth is we're actually growing apart and not our circumstances alone.

Well, I had an epiphany this morning.  This is NOT a new question.  What it means is not new to us.  We have always had things that we did apart from each other.  The difference is that there is no routine for either of us right now. 

In Bham, we did specific things on specific days, and there was not much variety from week to week.  There were specific and regular hours for work, meetings, and rest/play.  I didn't have to ask when he was busy beause I already knew what to expect.  I also knew when the rest of us could plan on seeing him and getting some good, quality Brian time.

Here in STL, we do have some regular things on the calendar, but most things in our lives are very flexible.  Tests for him come in waves, so his study-time requirements wax and wane.  He may need to leave after dinner to study some days and not others.  He fits in work at the church or his yardwork job where ever he can in the week too.  That means that I am left not knowing what to expect (remember, I like a plan), specifically when we (I!) will get that good, quality Brian time.  I feel like I'm in competition for his time MUCH MORE than I was before and getting MUCH LESS of it than I had in Bham.

My epiphany showed me that this is not entirely true.  I realized the not knowing when I get Brian-time is exaggerating my sense of not having any.  This is huge to me.  How much more gracious am I when I understand this bigger-picture view of what's happening!  I have been outwardly gracious, but grumbling in my heart.  And I fight the grumblys by numbing out.  In order to not dive into resentment, I've gotten increasingly numb toward our "parallelness." 

Well, I feel better.  More joyful already.  Because now that I can say what the problem is, I can take steps toward making it better! 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

House Links

If you or someone you know are looking to buy or rent in Vestavia, boy do we have the house for you! :)

For sale:  http://www.dawnkirkland.remax-alabama.com/remaxal/modules/agent/agent.asp?p=findahome.asp&selected=mls&listing=true&mlsnumber=485330&mlsid=326 

For rent: http://www.rentals.com/Alabama/Birmingham/r950028?WT.mc_id=40004

Spread the word, people!  And please pray with us for God to continue to provide for all our needs.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Support Letter 101

We were approved in the fall to raise support to help defray our debt from these seminary years.  Usually a graduate degree means you'll be making more money when you're finished and can therefore (in theory) afford to take out loans you need for the education, but it's going to be the opposite for us, lol.  We expect to be making less than before.  Which is fine with us!  But at this point we are unable to even make it month to month without help, let alone pay for school.  So we're humbly asking for help from others.  Brian is mailing this letter to specific people in small batches, but he said I could post it on my blog.  If you feel led to support us through prayer, we are eternally grateful!  Prayers are carrying us through this experience.  Carrying us.  But if you feel led to support us financially, we are eternally grateful as well.  Thank you, ahead of time.  If you know anyone who enjoys giving in this way, feel free to pass it on.

Dear Friend,

St. Louis is really beginning to feel like home to us. We certainly miss Birmingham, but there is no doubt that God’s will to make this drastic change is good. We have established some deep and meaningful relationships at the seminary, in our church, and around our neighborhood, where we can love and care for one another. Many of these relationships are with believers; several are not. It is so exciting to be encouraged and challenged through these new relationships. This is changing my view of God’s Kingdom and my vision for being used by him. These relationships are why I’m here—here on earth as a missionary of Christ to a lost world; and more specifically why I’m here at Covenant Seminary becoming better equipped to serve God in his kingdom as a vocational minister.

The changes have not been easy though. It was an abrupt shock to our family life, spiritual life, and eventually to our financial position. Going back into a classroom after 10 years in the business world was definitely a shock to my system. A full-time schedule of classes, necessary study time, and part-time work during evenings and weekends left little time for family, which was another big adjustment for me. We also found ourselves looking for a local church home for the first time in our marriage, which proved much harder than we ever though it would be. Rebecca has been wonderful in all of these changes, working long hours to help me support the family as much as possible. The children adjusted well after some time, and by God’s grace we are feeling much more settled in as we wrap up this fall semester.

Our needs are many and we would like to ask for your help in couple of areas. The first area is for continued prayer. We need prayer for the relationships we are building with non-believers and for our relationships as a family. The other area of need is financial. Rebecca and I have not been able to earn as much as we would like and we need help. Rebecca’s business is going, but slower that we hoped, and my studies limit my part-time job hours. This has caused us to have to borrow $14,000 to pay for school over the first year and a half. If we continue to borrow we will potentially have to take out $40,000 more before we are finished. We don’t want this. This is where we need your help. Rebecca and I are asking if you would support us with regular giving through Helping Hands Ministries. All donations given through Helping Hands are tax deductible.

Helping Hands is able to receive donations on-line via Master Card, Discover, and Visa or via checks payable to Helping Hands Ministries with the Brian Brown Scholarship project in the memo portion of the check. All mailed donations should be sent to:

Helping Hands Ministries,
PO Box 337
Tallulah Falls, GA 30573.

Thank you for your prayerful consideration of supporting us in this mission.

Grace, Mercy and Peace,
Brian Brown

Monday, January 3, 2011

Holding Hands, Hugs, and Kisses

If two girls, say ages 7 and 8, are bickering and yah-yah with each other, a simple solution is to make them hold hands and look at each others' eyes until you count to ten.  Very slowly.  And if either one of them diverts their eyes or lets go of a hand, the counting starts over.  It's pretty much guaranteed that by the time you reach ten they'll both be smiling if not giggling.  Then it gets really silly because after that they have to hug each other and say, "I love you, sweet sister."

Same idea with your husband, but in a different way.  Now, I'm not suggesting this be the solution to a meaningful argument, but if you're just bickering and yah-yah with each other, try kissing for 10 seconds.  You'll see it changes the tone of things, even if you started out pretty irritated with each other. :)

Someone actually suggested that a husband and wife do the 10-sec-kiss thing everyday.  We used to.  I may have to make that my New Year's Resolution.

House Showing

This morning we got an email with info on the Bham house, and we noticed the 4br/3ba house two doors up from our 3br/2ba dropped their price to our asking price.  It's been on the market off and on for a couple of years.  So the dumping competition begins!  Brian was already going to call our realtor this morning to ask her to lower the price.  So that's not in the least upsetting. 

Then the good news came that there's a showing this afternoon between 1 and 2.  I'm assuiming (?) they'll go in both houses, and they'll have nice new prices to consider for both.  And ours will (rightly) be lower.  I hope they'll love it!  Your prayers are appreciated!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Holiday Detox

Am I just a meanie?  Do I tell my kids no to sweets every other minute because I like to be in control?  No.  I'm not a meanine.  It really does matter that they don't have so much sugar.

Am I a meanie because I tell them to read a book vs. watch a movie during afternoon down time?  Does it really matter one way or the other?  I think so.

It takes more effort to keep "fighting" them, but I'm trusting it will make a difference in their long-term health and wellness to have healthy habits established now.

We eat entirely too much junk.  We watch entirely too much tv.  Holidays were a break from the norm for all of us.  I had as much rest as they had fun.  Time to shape it up, kids.  All of us!