Fall 2013-dark leaves

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Wars Within and Wars Without

I spent time this morning in Isaiah 42 and 43. And as I am getting up to begin the day, I am confessing my fear of Satan's typical attacks on the mornings that I begin by asking for help to be a gracious, kind, and patient person, even as I am asking for patience, kindness, and grace.

He created me, formed me, redeemed me. What do I have to fear? I so want to rest in him and maintain my focus. I'd like to say I want to get away from myself, but that's not the point of being redeemed. I do want to put the old man to death and put on the new Rebecca. The Rebecca who I was created to be, who I will be when there is no more sin. When Satan can no longer tempt me to indulge that old man.

And yet, when I strive for holiness, I'm afraid I'm making the bulls-eye on my back even bigger.

And YET, it is that exact sinful nature that im fighting (of the old man) that makes me fear Satan's attacks. When, in fact, I have the power of GOD on my side.

And YET, I sure can--and do--botch it all up all the time. Stupid sin-nature.

AND YET he loves me. And promises to never leave me. And will continue to change me, by his grace, until I am completely new and the old me is entirely replaced with the real me. (which won't happen till I get to heaven or till Jesus comes back for us.)

So come Lord Jesus! And do please help me this morning to be gracious, kind and patient.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is tomorrow!!  Christ is come!!  What joy, what peace!!  And for such an undeserving, little old me.

When I consider that Jesus, creator of all things, came to Earth as helpless as my newborn nephew Pierce, it BLOWS my mind.  I mean...he held all things on Earth together but couldn't even hold his own head up.  And all for the purpose of sacrificing himself just 30-something years later for people who didn't understand or want his help.  Dying for me, who forgets him all the time but becomes a complete sloppy mess with gratitude and praise when I do.

And for this, for much more than just this, we celebrate tomorrow.  And it makes me want to literally dance.  It DOES make my heart dance and my eyes water and my arms reach for husband and kids.  And drop to my knees, weeping, before the goodness and holiness of my Savior.

So in response, I'm going to go serve my family right now by doing laundry, dishes, and cooking a fabulous meal so we can celebrate the coming of our King to save us for today, tomorrow, and forever.

And beg that he come back quickly!

Friday, November 16, 2012

No good reason

I'm anxious. Not without reason. But much more than lately. And my shoulders hurt. Like muchos pain, and this without reason. Except for the reasons causing anxiety. Which are not good reasons anyway. Rest, Rebecca. Feed yourself truth and ask for help to believe what you believe.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Lillian's Club

Joey, Matthias, Taith, Treasure. Lillian's list of sixth grade boys (repeated more than once for clarity) who can be in charge of her club. Make those last two Tait and Trevor, sweet four year old. Lol! But rest assured that everyone can be IN the club!  The older boys will just be in charge.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fall 2012 Newsletter

Here is our latest newsletter.  I know it's small type on here.  Please comment if you didn't receive it via email, leaving your address, and I'll send it to you as a pdf asap!


Friday, October 26, 2012

Get A Room!

It's date night. Soccer games don't start tomorrow until 1:30. So we got a room downtown (through a gift of hotel points) and are going out for the entire night and half the morning (since our babysitter lives here and all). We're planning on hitting the St Louis Art Museum then splitting a great burger.  In the morning I want to take Brian to The London Tea Room where I heard a talk last week on Jane Austin and peruse through the English furniture store next door.

I'm so excited to get away for an entire 18 hours! For real!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

First Goodbyes of the Year

I think I assume most people are like me.  They think like me, they care about the things I care about, they want the same things I want.  Most of the time that's an incorrect assumption, which I usually learn pretty quickly.  But it's where I start.

Then there are a few handfuls of people who know me well enough to understand the heart behind the words I'm saying without much explanation.  I don't have to give disclaimers to them when I'm in conversation because they know me well enough.  Their friendships (hither and yon) are extremely dear to me.

But this time it's even different than that.  I have been given a friend who really seems to be just like me--our thought processes, our gifts and struggles, our hearts, our personalities, our marriages all seem to be uncannily similar.  An added bonus for me is that she is my mother's age, so I also have the benefit of her wisdom and life experiences which speak so clearly to me.

I've known her just over a year, and she's been a direct and specific answer to 2-year-old prayers for an older woman in my life who desires a mutually benefitting relationship.

She moves to Colorado on Thursday, and my heart is breaking.  It's not really a surprise, although a bit earlier than we expected.  It's not like we won't talk again.  But I'm sad we won't have our Monday afternoon dates anymore.  That I can't just drop in on her because it's all just gotten to be too much.  That we won't be able to share space, even if we're not in conversation.

Sadness.  And just the beginning of goodbyes.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

For Joy, I AM a Feeler!

So I cried yesterday for basically two hours straight.  Probably more, to be honest.  At first I was hanging with a girl friend who I don't know especially well, but we've been meeting for several months to talk mostly about her.  But the Lord saw fit to let me share some of my heart yesterday, and the ball just kept rolling.  Lo and behold, she feels things deeply and had much encouragement for me.

THEN I went straight to a marriage counseling appointment where the tears continued to flow as I shared more about what I was experiencing and thinking.  And feeling.  And I fought to stay in the moment vs. moving past it on to whatever logically comes next.  Brian and I have been seeing the same guy together for over a year and a half, so we were able to really dig in and put some big puzzle pieces together.  It was awesome.

My girlfriend encouraged me to pay attention to my energy level after experiencing all the emotions, and I'll have to say, while I was exhausted after the tears stopped rolling, I am much "better" today than usual.  Well, that may have to do with a deeply felt prayer I shared with another girlfriend this morning.  We prayed for joy and peace and rest.  But regardless...  It seems that feeling all these feelings and asking God for help in them is a good thing.  No duh, huh?

But I thought I'd share a little more about how this process is going.  It will be good to look back on when I don't have the emotional age of a 4yo.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Twisted Temps

Tomorrow's high is 81.  Friday's is 52; Saturday's is 54; Sunday's is 56.  The low is 34 Sunday night.

Time to get out the blankies, smart wool socks, and hot chocolate.  Not a bad start to the month.

And, can I just say again, how THANKFUL I am to not be doing boot camp??  I like being with Brian in the evenings vs. being distracted by getting ready for camp.  And to not have to watch the weather.  Or write workouts.  Or get up at 4:45 three times a week.  It hits me over and over and over again that I feel different-funny (like yikes--what am I forgetting to remember?!) then realize it's because I can rest both mentally and physically from these things.  And that no longer do I have to get up and out Monday morning at 4:45am in 34 degree weather.

Praise the Lord!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Boo--it's October!

I dread October.  Truly fear it.  We have a history, and it's not pretty.

Today a friend and I talked about Psalm 136.  The entire psalm alternates an event with the line "for his steadfast love endures forever."  Over and over, no matter where in the story, we are reminded that God's steadfast love endures forever.  That the events occur because his steadfast love endures forever. That the story's point at every turn is that his steadfast love endures forever.

This is true today also, as the story continues.  Even in October.  Every time October comes around.

So it's my prayer for this month, no matter whether it hits the fan this year or not.  I pray that I will remember momently, in the good and bad moments, that God's steadfast love endures forever.  And preface and end the prayer in thanks, just like the psalm.

Because he is forever worthy of my praise and gratitude, because of his steadfast love.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Oh, no, I'm a FEELER?!?

I give in.  Well, I'm thinking about giving in.  I think I'm a closet F (feeler).  Good friends have been challenging me on this for a couple of years, and I'm succumbing to the truth about how God made me.  I think.

See, I've lived my whole life with a very high T (thinker) for a father and a husband, so I've expected myself to be one as well.  It's the way I've functioned in my relationships with them and others.  Emotions?  I didn't think I really had them, and if they snuck in the picture, I quickly stuffed them down before they got in the way of the task at hand.

No more.  Well, let's just say I'm more open to the idea of being a F.  Open enough to read about the differences between ENFJ vs. ENTJ.

And, lo and behold, if I'm not really more of an ENFJ.  Brian is going to die when he reads the part about affirmation.  It's our on-going conversation du jour.

Feelers are just so MESSY.  I don't have time or energy to be messy.  But apparently 30+ years of not feeling is catching up with me, and the stuffing is going to backfire.  Is backfiring.  I'm a complete mess more often than I care to admit, whether I like it or not.  My secret hope is that feeling the feelings will get them out of the way so I can go on functioning like a T.  How realistic can that possibly be?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

White Ink

Would it surprise you that I've been chewing on getting a tattoo?  It's been a thought for well over a year.  Maybe two?

I know it would be in white ink.  I'm pretty confident it would have to do with rest.  I have no idea where it would go.  And no clue how to get past the needle issue--as in I'm scared of them.

Hee, hee.  Makes me giggle to think about it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Here and Now

A friend asked me just yesterday how I'm doing.  Really.

And, really, I'm good.  By the precious grace of God, I'm practicing resting in this life he's given me.  There are so many things going on in day-to-day life that I have every reason to feel overwhelmed, but right now I am able to have an objective view of it all and feel God's hand holding me steady as my people and circumstances try to rock my boat.

It certainly has not always been this way, and I know it will likely change again.  But for today, I am thankful for this very real, very secure perspective on where I am.

It all has to do with being tethered to God and not the people and circumstances he brings to me.  I'm able to enjoy those people and the circumstances more (even the difficult ones) as I see them as part of the story He wrote for me before time began.  As I own my adoption as a well-provided for, perfectly loved daughter of The King.  As I grieve and mourn when things aren't supposed to be this way but look past it to the hope that all things will be glorified and made perfect in the new earth.  As I learn to trust God for real.  I mean, really trust him, with all of my life.  As I pursue a deeper, more real relationship with him, the author and perfecter of my faith, which in turn tethers me more closely to him.

It's good stuff.  And I am thankful.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Promise Won!

Just thought I'd let you know that Promise Christian Academy won the Monsanto grant!  Thank you, friends, for voting.  It was back and forth till the very end, and your vote made a difference.

What a miracle that a school with 22 children could win such a contest.  They are all overwhelmed and so very grateful!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Children over Cats

Please vote today for Promise Christian Academy to receive a $15,000 grant from Monsanto.  The link takes you to a page where you can read how the school would use the funds.  Basically Promise is a school for kids with special needs.  It's a small and relatively new school that could greatly benefit from the money.

One of my closest friend's daughter goes there, and I've seen first hand what a blessing it has been to her and their family!

Their biggest competitor is a cat shelter.  Now, I love a good snuggle cat.  And I know we are called to care for all God's creatures.  However, I also know that caring for those God created in his own image with unique needs definitely trumps caring for even the snuggliest feline.

Please vote to help Promise win.  You can vote daily until the contest ends in 2 days.  And if you don't mind, ask your friends to vote too.  It's a close race for the top spot.  Thank you for your help!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Transition Prep and Pep

Earlier when I was putting the boy to bed, I asked him if he had anything he wanted me to pray for.  He immediately said, "I don't know."  Well, I know that if I wait in silence long enough (although it doesn't usually take too long), he'll say something specific.

"Mom, you can pray we don't go back to Alabama so I can stay here in St. Louis with my friends."

It's not the first time he's talked about being very sad at possibly leaving here.  It hurts this mama's heart, although I did chuckle that it seems in his mind there are only two "places" we could possibly live.

So we prayed just that.  And I let it go.

I didn't remind him that God has a good plan for us, that he is entirely trustworthy, that where we go is not a surprise to him.  That he already knows if we'll stay or go, and that if we go we can know it's for his glory and our good.  And that it will be good, even if it's hard, wherever it is.  And God will provide all of us with specific new friends and new teammates and new classmates.  And none of this is unknown to God, even if it's unknown to us.

I didn't remind him that our stories were written before time began by a good and trustworthy creator.  That our job is to cling to him, always seeking him in the Bible and through prayer, learning his heart, so that ours are changed and conformed to his, so that we're more able to rest in his knowing and his goodness even when we don't know and don't trust.  Because that is the point of it all.

It's right to have space and time to mourn and be sad.  To ask the Lord for what our hearts really long for.  Our boy needs to be allowed to go ahead and really long for something out of his control, not knowing if he'll get it, practicing the habit of taking his heart to God.  He's learning that the relationship he's building with the Lord is what is going to make him be OK, however his story plays out.

I'll save the pep talk for another day.  For him and for me.

Friday, August 17, 2012

To Run or Not To Run?

So it seems many of my friends are smaller and more fit than they were before (whenever).  Totally unfair!  It also seems that they're all runners.  So what if my baby fat is from the baby who is four now.  I'm still rebelling...

Friday, August 10, 2012

Dear Six Flags

You are not Disney World.  Please adjust your prices and fees accordingly.

A family just trying to allow their two kids opportunity to use their free tickets.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

External vs. Internal Processor...

...on road tripping.  It's funny to see our differences.

Peaceful:  when the internal processor is driving and the external processor is engrossed in a book.

Tricky:  when the external processor is driving and the internal processor is trying to read.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Verbal/external processing/processor (disorder)

So I think out loud, and I'm currently very annoyed with this. But regardless, I can't seem to squash the need to do it. So in an attempt to defend myself (and others like me who work through our thoughts by saying them out loud) to myself, I googled "verbal processing." It came up as the suggestion "verbal processing disorder." Great, I thought. It's a DISORDER. Figures it's so obnoxious to everyone that it's a disorder.

 Then I looked up verbal processor. Better...

Then external processor. Jackpot!

 "External processors tend to process things by talking about them. A good word picture is to think of them having a verbal blackboard which they brainstorm their ideas onto by talking, and then they arrange and evaluate their ideas once they are out there on their verbal blackboard."

The problem with this is that it's generally considered wield to talk out loud to yourself. But I NEED to talk through things. If I don't, the words get all jumbled up and overwhelming to me like the other morning. So get over it, people. I'm a talker because I have to be.

And get over it, me, because if you don't, you'll explode. God is your judge, and he made you this way. Talk out loud to him if you have to. Dont be fearful of what other people think. It's just processing after all--nothing is organized and set in stone yet.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Words Don't Work

My words are failing me.  Overwhelming me.  There are long strings of disclaimers to every thought I have, requiring more words to explain the words I wanted to originally communicate or even just consider for myself.  Words are racing through my head, begging to be evaluated, requiring the work of sifting through them to find the nuggets of truth and good and correctness, and then evaluating the un-truths in order to better understand the sin that would bring to mind those words (that perspective) to begin with in order to fight said sin.  But that sounds too neat and tidy.  (see the need for more words to explain my words?)  It's all a mess up there in my head.  A big jumbled up mess.  

It's stressing me out.

And I can't sleep.

And I want to throw up.

But the alarm just went off.  Time to get ready for the prelims, and check in is at  6:45am!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

10 months and counting...

Brian told me it would be helpful to him if I sent out an email to all my girl friends asking them to keep their ears open for pastoral ministry jobs, so I thought I'd post the letter on my blog too.  I love helping him, and advocating for him.  He's going to be an amazing pastor--it's already sooooo exciting to watch him teach.  I can't wait to sit under his preaching too, someday!

Hello, ladies!  

I hope this finds you well.  We are enjoying the last few weeks of summer: wrapping up swim team for the older three, swimming lessons for Lillian, Brian's mission trip to London while the rest of us went to Dallas, and visits from various friends and family members.  I'm working on a newsletter with pics, and I'll send it to you as soon as it's done.

But the point of this note is (with Brian's encouragement) to inform and remind everyone who might care to know that this is our last year of seminary.  Brian will graduate with his MDiv this coming spring, May 2013.  What, you may wonder, does this have to do with you?

Will you please be our eyes and ears this year?  If you know of or hear of any opening for pastoral ministry in the PCA, we would love to know about it.  It seems most jobs are not posted on job boards or advertised online because of the deluge of applications.  More often than not it takes knowing someone to find out a job is even available.

So I'm humbly asking for help.  First and foremost, please pray with us.  We are asking God with great hope to provide a job that's a healthy fit for our family that would start early next summer, for a smooth transition to whatever is next for us and the kids, and for freedom from anxiety as we anticipate whatever is next.  (That last one is mostly for me, hee hee.)

Secondly, just let us know if you hear of anything.  An email (briandreb@gmail.com) or phone call would be awesome.  And, if you don't mind, let others know you have a friend who is looking so they can let you know too.

As always, we would be privileged to pray for you if you have anything you'd like to share.  We love praying with and for our brothers and sisters.

Happy Sunday afternoon!  Hope you're enjoying a restful day!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Four Sweet Messes

So Brian is out of the country for the first time ever.  I was very nervous about it because, except for one week in Canada, I've not been out of the country either.  Neither of us have any context for this kind of thing.  He flew across the pond with three other men from our local church to London to do LEAP with World Harvest Mission.  They are working book tables and canvassing neighborhoods, surveying the community for several church plants already in place, as well as visiting Sikh, Hindu, and Muslim temples/mosques and learning about their religions and cultures from their leaders.  It's hard and draining work with long hours.  Talking on Skype has been so very helpful, but we are eager to have him back home with us.  He flies in Monday evening.

Meanwhile, the rest of us have been hanging in there.  It's a different thing for a husband to not be present, as in entirely unavailable, vs. just not being present because he's at work or studying late.  I have a very weak but newer empathy for single moms and military wives. 

It's been good though--there have been several times in the last few days that I've looked at my kids and become overwhelmed with gratitude for my family.  They are so good at rolling with the punches. 

For example, there was the swim meet on Thursday.  I was Skyping with Brian until time to leave, while the kids packed the snacks and towels, and I showed the plumber the clogged sink in the middle of it all.  We get to the meet and I realize I have nothing for my 4yo to do during the meet.  Not a coloring book or legos or doll for all five and a half hours of the longest meet ever.  She never complained.  She did get to swim a little in the play pool and ended up falling asleep on the ground next to our chairs about 10pm.  And Patrick snugged up with me while we waited for Sarah Frances to finish her last relay.  Catherine was content to watch too.  I literally sighed with a proud and full heart as they all picked up the bags and chairs to head to the car together about 10:45.

Then yesterday I swam with them for fun.  Twice.  I hardly ever get in with them.  They're so loud, and it's very wet out there.  But it was really enjoyable just to play with them.  Reminded me that I like them even when it's overstimulating. 

And yesterday we had errands to run--the kind where we all five have to get out of the car four times and drive through once.  Their behavior wasn't perfect by any means, but it wasn't too much for me to handle.  It wasn't too much.  Amazing.

Last night I let them pop some corn on the stove and dish out Rocky Road in a sugar cone for their dinner.  We ate on pallets in front of the TV watching 2 entire movies they'd picked out at the library earlier that day.  Again, I had a moment when I looked at each of them and thanked the Lord for my large brood. 

Today they played with lots of friends for about 3.5 hours at a birthday party, and I was hardly interrupted by anyone needing anything from me.

Tonight Sarah Frances baked fish sticks in the oven entirely by herself (I was on Skype again), and we watched the third library movie.  At least most of us did; Lillian sat with each of the rest of us for a bit.  She's an equal opportunity snuggler/wiggler.  Then they all went willingly straight to bed.  Amazing.

As I write it out, I'm seeing some of the forest--they're getting so much older and more independent.  I've not worked myself out of a job by any means, but it sure is nice that they can take care of so much by themselves.  And care for each other more (even if they're the ones causing each other's trouble) vs. coming to me with every little need.  And work things out between themselves vs. me constantly having to intervene.  And be content with less.  It's a beautiful thing to watch and experience.

It's gospel living: lives are changing as we are growing, loving and serving each other very imperfectly and effortfully, yet effectively, only by the grace of God.  It's messy, but a sweet mess.

And, wow, I sure do love my four sweet messes.

Friday, July 13, 2012


...on packing a snack for the pool: one large gallon-sized ziplock bag containing Cheeseits, animal crackers, ginger snaps, and cinnamon letter cookies shoved in the cooler bag vs. four sandwich baggies each with its own food arranged neatly in the cooler bag. True story.

No more camp

We have had a generous financial gift to help us get through the last year of seminary, namely to allow my stress level to drop significantly and sleep hours to increase as well. A gift to the tune of a year's worth of boot camp income.

Thank you all who have prayed for camp to work. It has worked a number on my heart as well as on those who I worked with as campers. Thank you, Jesus, for providing the giver with ability and willingness to freely give, and that it means NO MORE CAMP! Woo-hoo.

What a huge relief for me!! I really didn't think I could do it all again, and now I don't have to. Three jobs left, which will be much more manageable when I'm not sleep deprived on top of it all. Thanks be to our good God!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Half Way Home

Mary Martha and I took the kids to Dallas for a long weekend and just arrived home tonight after a 12 hour drive. (Brian is away on a mission trip-more later on that.) It felt like we would never ever get home, but the delirium provided a series of unrelated and hilarious interactions. I wish I could remember them all. Comments appreciated, MMA.

Dallas was a huge hit. We stayed with my brother, his wife and their 19 month old daughter. Also there were my sister and bil, and our parents. Crazy, but lots of fun. Our days were packed going to a water park, a Rangers game, and Legoland. Their neighborhood pool is also a half block away, which provided excellent entertainment for us all.

Right now I am exhausted. Utterly and completely. I've poured a margarita to sip on while watching a Doris Day movie on Netflix. There's nothing like a 12 hour road trip to make me appreciate all things home.

Now to get my other half here too. He flies in Monday night. Woo-hoo!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Been Too Grumpy

Wow, my posts have been grumpy lately.  Here's some of the good:

Last night we had a wonderful date night:  happy hour at PFChang's, shoe shopping for Brian's trip, dessert at Trader Joe's, and a Karen Choi concert at The Wolf Pub with lots of friends around.

Today Patrick has a birthday party and wants to have a friend over.  I'm going to help Lillian and Catherine clean their room, Sarah Frances is getting her long-awaited haircut with her dad, and I am meeting a friend for coffee at 2.

At the swim meet this past Tuesday, Catherine's free relay set a team record!  And Sarah Frances is the fastest 9yo in most of her races.  She's begging to start swimming year round.  Patrick is still mostly interested in what the other swimmers are doing while he's racing.

Lillian is learning how to get along pretty well in the pool.  She's not the strongest swimmer, but she can propel herself from point A to point B as long as it's not more than 2 breath's distance.

Brian painted a fence this week; I called him Tom Sawyer.  He's also been more available to play with us since he's not in class.  We all went to see Brave yesterday for a huge treat, and to stay out of the 108 heat.

I've been taking lots of naps lately.  The kids are doing summer reading for prizes, and when they go up for silent reading time, I go down for a nap.  It's been a very, very nice break from the busyness of school days.

So, yay for the good!  I'll try to share more of that.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Swim Diapers

For years the kids have sat down in life jackets to be supported in the water from the bottom up (no pun intended), keeping their hands free to play.  They call them swim diapers.  Apparently it works well in the pool too.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Don't Hate the Hard

I've been working since Christmas on Eric Metaxas's bio on Bonhoeffer.  I'm not half-way through yet, but this morning I read something that hit home.  He was preaching on Jeremiah, a sermon I'd love to read in its entirety because it seems that I too am wrestling with God a lot these days.  And the way Metaxas describes Bonhoeffer's wrestling as Bonhoeffer compared it with Jeremiah's wrestling, resonates with me and my own current wrestling.

"He (Bonhoeffer) was beginning to understand that he was God's prisoner, that like the prophets of old, he was called to suffer and to be oppressed--and in that defeat and the acceptance of that defeat, there was victory." p. 210

And from Bonhoeffer's sermon: "The triumphal procession of truth and justice, the triumphal procession of God and his Scriptures through the world, drags in the wake of the chariot of victory a train of prisoners in chains.  May he at the last bind us to his triumphal carriage so that, although in bonds and oppressed, we may participate in his victory!"

These days God is leading a processional of reality and truth straight through the heart of my being, awakening a deep internal struggle within me, making me wrestle with Him as he breaks down false supports and lies that I've leaned on for too long.  He is stripping away everything that is not of Him, orchestrating hard, sin-tainted events to show me the brokenness of those supports, leaving me nothing strong enough but him to lean on.  Tearing down my idols.  Elevating himself to his rightful place.

It is right for him to do this.  And good of him to love me so much.  And oh so very painful and hard to experience.  I don't know if any of this makes sense to anyone but me, but I do know it's worth the wrestling.  Isn't it?  Yes, it is.  It's worth the sacrificing of things that are already broken to be closer to him who is perfect.  It's a more real place to be--accepting the defeat of myself and my brokenness and the brokenness of others to lean on the one true God.  But, damn, if it doesn't hurt to be so broken and see the brokenness of it all.

Have I said it before?  It's not supposed to be this way.  Sin is so. very... wrong.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Uncle Eddie

Brian's uncle is on his way to heaven.  Eddie has been very sick for a very long time.  He's in the hospital right now, where they're trying to get his oxygen regulated, then they're sending him home with 24hr. hospice, expecting him to make it a couple of weeks.

We're praying for mercy for him and for his wife, Mary.  They have three grown children with spouses and seven grandchildren, as well as Eddie's 2 siblings who live in town, and all their children and grandchildren.  Only 2 families out of all these people don't live in Birmingham, including us.

From our side, pray for timing.  That sounds awful, but Brian's three semester hour class is over next Friday.  He really can't miss any classes nor likely postpone the final which is on the last day of class.  But we'll go for the funeral.  I say we'll go.  I'm assuming we'll all go.  I guess we'll see...

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Pulling Away

Marne and her oldest 3 kids were here this week for a visit.  They moved to Birmingham about this time last year, and we've missed them a ton.  It was a blast to have them stay with us.  The kids had fun together, they invited other friends here, we went with them to another friends' house, and Thurs. night Marne organized a girls' night out.  Liluma got more than they expect from this ladies group of six!

They just left this morning to head back to Bham, but with more people than they arrived with.  My youngest two caught a ride to visit their grandparents in Alabama.  They'll spend a handful of days with my parents, then swap out to be with the Browns for a bit.  But the total number of days is killing me.  I'm not going to see my babies for ELEVEN more days!  That is way too long.  Maybe the time will pass more quickly than I expect right now, because right now my heart hurts.

Now, when I walked back into the house after they pulled away, I looked right at the girls, threw my hands up in the air, and yelled, "PARTY!"  I told them it's what we do every time any of them leave.  Then I hugged them tight and told them I was teasing.  A little bit. ;)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Mercy? Not this time.

Later than I wanted to be leaving for swim team this morning. Rolled through the stop sign just around the corner from my house. Got pulled over. Begged the Lord for mercy. The cop gave me a ticket. Had a total breakdown/panic attack for the next 30 minutes. Not my best day.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Goin' Gray Gracefully

I got a haircut this week.  First one in 15 months, if you don't count the trim I gave myself 5 months ago.  It was LONG and a very different color at the ends than at my scalp, although I've never colored it.  It was just that dead and lightened from summers of pool play.

Now it's at my shoulders.  The light hair is gone.  The layers have returned.  Guess--just guess--what they've revealed.  TONS of gray hair.  I mean, I knew it was coming.  It's pretty significant at the corners of my forehead, but as revealed by the new haircut, it's much worse than I knew.

I say worse.  I don't really mean that.  I don't really mind them.  Brian says he actually likes them, and I believe him.  Proverbs 16:31 says gray hair is a crown of glory.  I just didn't realize how quickly my crown was coming in.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Holes in tights are not the real problem

Next year they're enforcing the dress code more strictly, in particular the girls can wear only navy leggins or tights under skirts or jumpers.  This morning one of the girls put on (unbeknownst to me) a pair of new-to-us navy leggins under her skirt (why play in a denim miniskirt?) then promptly fell off her bike and ripped a hole in the knee.

I'm fighting for joy this morning.  I am so frustrated at all the goings on around here that I can't keep up with, that they don't pick up when they're done.  And at the personality of a child who does spend 10 entire minutes sweeping in the kitchen without complaining (amazing, really), but her focus was down both sides of the fridge instead of around the edges under the cabinets.  But I can't correct or direct her because the grumpy drama will start.  If I hadn't been in the kitchen, I'd swear she didn't do any of it.  At dirty clothes on the bathroom floors (mine too!).  At unmade beds and unbrushed teeth.  Yes, mine too.  I mean, it's 10am.  What HAVE I been doing?

Panic is ensuing, even this moment.  I have to let go of my control issues.  I know I haven't trained the kids well, but please tell me when in the world I'm supposed to have done that over the last 3 years?  So here we are.  I feel like it's beyond repair, but I know it's not.  They're not even being bad this morning.  They're actually trying to help when I ask.

Maybe that's what's making me panic.  They're doing a good job this morning playing together and straightening when I ask, and I'm still upset.  Frustrated.  Scared that life is always going to frustrate me.  That I'm always going to be cleaning and straightening and paying bills and cooking and doing laundry when I am actually home and will miss enjoying them.

So I shoo them off to get the work done.  They play and I work, which frustrates me.  Or I require them to help, which frustrates me.  Or I let it go and just play, which frustrates me when we come back into reality.

I hate plans and programs for chores.  I have no follow-through skills.  I am one of those moms I thought I'd never be, which makes me the most frustrated.  And most sad.  Because my heart is the real problem I have, it's just playing out today in my frustration with the house.

Stupid heart issues.

Friday, May 25, 2012


God is always faithful and always good.  This week Ginny Bourland, a dear family friend of ours, had great news this week regarding her cancer.  We have been praying for her, and the kids especially have been asking others to pray for her, for months and months.  

Here's the link to her Caring Bridge page.  What relief we feel.  What hope.  What joy!  

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation!  
Oh, my soul praise him for he is thy health and salvation! 
All ye who hear, now to his temple draw near.  
Join me in glad adoration! 

Monday, May 21, 2012

New Job, Etc.

So please keep praying for boot camp.  My teaching job, nanny job, and researcher job are not happening this summer.  We'll need it to pick up the slack because costs don't decrease just cause it's summer, you know.

However, we are so excited about our new jobs starting this fall.  I'm keeping the Aide job at the school and picking up the PE job (have I mentioned that already?).  And just today Brian was offered Director of After Care at our church's school. The researcher gigs will continue throughout next year, as will Brian's yard work jobs.  We are so thankful!

The best part about the After Care job for B is that for the first time since moving here--and likely the last time ever--he will have a hard and fast end to his work day.  The job is over at 5:30, and he'll come home for dinner.  Neither student-life nor minister-life (so I'm told) typically work that way, so I am very thankful for some "normalcy" this coming next school year.  His day will end at the same time every day and he will then come home to us.  Woo-freakin'-hoo!

Brian finished up his semester last week.  This is the final week of school for me and the kids.  Our landlord scheduled the pool's opening for this Wed or Thursday.  Our house guests leave this week too.  We love school and our guests, but let me say clearly--BRING ON SUMMERTIME!  We are ready!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Read Between the Lines

This day is one for the record books:

Teach boot camp.
Work the 3yo class, put in an extra hour.
JK Mother's Day Tea, carpool pickup.
Home to throw together an appetizer and find tights without holes, (loosely) supervise 8yo making cake to take to...
4yo's ballet recital and reception.
faculty and staff drinks and apps party.
home to prep for 2-week house guests (kind of.  prep, that is).

And each event above has a whole set of stories to go with it.  Wish I'd write it all out, but I'll have to read between the lines later when I'm looking back at this.

And why am I still up?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Tears and Fears

I need a good cry. It seems, however, that whenever I have time to cry, I'm not emotional. When I'm emotional, it's not a safe time to let go. Nothing is really wrong except for everything. Everything and everyone are broken. Broken cisterns. Cracked all the way-top to bottom. Cancer sucks. Infertility sucks. Selfishness sucks. Fear sucks. All of it. Absolutely stinks. Oh how I long for the new heavens and new earth. Come, Lord Jesus!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Already May already?

I didn't blog in April? Ever? Not even once? Crazy. But now its May. We're in countdown mode for school. For our school and for seminary. That's 16.5 days of school left this year, and one year and two weeks till graduation from seminary. Woo-hoo! On both counts. Patrick is playing baseball. He's by far the cutest guy out there. Pics to follow soon. The girls are taking piano. One more voluntarily than the other at this point. And Patrick still likes to sit and play for his own pleasure. Last week they finished knitting club for the year. Lillian's ballet recital is next week. Pics to come. Many of our dearest friends are graduating this year. I'm working through my abandonment issues still. It's a sad, sad thing in many ways. But we'll see them again, if not here then there. But Mary Martha is staying in town and continuing to live with us for the next year. Biggest woo-hoo ever to that! I got the PE job at our school for next year, so I'll work MWF mornings as an aide and TuTh afternoons as the PE teacher. I'll get to know all the kids in the whole school. Fun, fun, fun. I mean, who doesn't love PE, right? We're working on plans for summer trips. Looks like we'll be in TX and AL both sometime. And Brian's going on a short term mission trip to London with our local church. We're expecting a load of houseguests too. Awesome. For-real awesome. Brian and I took a trip last week with 12 Pastors and their wives for three days and two nights. The focus was our marriages. We were working the trip, which wore me out more than I expected, but dont think it was all work. We hiked, swam, read, slept, didn't sleep... And learned to listen and hear each other in a new way. THAT we demonstrated for all the couples to see how it's done. OH, MY! But it was soooooooo good to get away. Field day is coming. Field trips to the butterfly house and art museum. Poetry day. The mother's day tea. Baccalaureate. Graduation. Families visiting. Makes my heart race. I so love it all. Pool's opening soon. Let me know when you want to come join the fun!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Seven or Eight

Seven or eight (or more?) campers this Monday.  Amazing!  We are so thankful for your praying with us and that God is pleased to answer yes!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Richard Pratt, Genesis 12, and What Else Would You Be Doing?

Years ago--maybe 2007 or 2008--Richard Pratt came to Faith Pres in Birmingham for our Missions/Outreach Conference.  I believe it was Saturday night's sermon when he preached on Genesis 12.

(Genesis 12:1-4 ESV, emphasis mine)

[12:1] Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. [2] And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. [3] I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

[4] So Abram went, as the LORD had told him...

I was sitting on the back row with a child for some reason, away from Brian and away from anyone who might notice the tears streaming down my face.  We had been talking about going for years, along with all that Dr. Pratt fleshed out that it means to leave, but it was during this very compelling sermon that I knew that WE were leaving it all and going to an undisclosed place that God would one day show us.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago.  Dr. Pratt was in St. Louis for some reason tied to the seminary, and Brian had opportunity to go eat lunch with him and a handful of other men.  They all shared parts of their stories, and Brian told him that it was during that sermon in B'ham that I knew we'd end up doing this.  His response?  He tucked his chin and chuckled, shook his head, and said, sarcastically, "Oh, I'm so sorry."  And then he said, "But what else would you be doing?"

Do you know Richard Pratt?  How funny he is?  How he calls a spade a spade and pushes hard against stereotypes?  Because that answer was stinkin' hilarious.  Really.  What else would we be doing?

Absolutely nothing nearly as good as this!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Posts To Come?

The other night I wrote out some blog posts I'd like to work on:

Richard Pratt, Genesis 12, and What Else Would You Be Doing?
October Fear
Graduation vs. Katie Herzig and Matthew Perryman Jones
Coffee and Cider
1 Year in Pics--Graduation to Graduation
When Words Don't Work-->Music-->Dance
Free Concert Season Review
Brian Is A Risk Taker.  Always Has Been.  Seriously??  Yes.
Attractions to Living In The City-City
Abandonment Issues

So, you see there is more to come.  And it's spring break this week.  (LOVING spring break, btw)  So maybe I can get some of my thoughts down.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Good News

I promise there is more to life here than what is happening with this boot camp, but I feel a good, healthy obligation to share a quick update. You are a huge part of my good news.  My other post ideas will take a little longer to write...but they're coming too...

Anyway, I got a text last Friday from 2 former campers who are coming back next week.  Then this morning I received 2 emails from my website that there are 2 new campers I don't know who just registered.  I also "happened" to run into a former camper a couple of weeks ago in the grocery store who I haven't seen in over a year, and she said and a friend are intending to come too.

I am so encouraged!  And so thankful that God is pleased to answer yes to all of our prayers.  Thank you, thank you, for praying.  Really, God is so good.  All the time.  And I am thankful too for having this month off, even if it's a financial strain.  It's a bigger rest than strain in the grander picture, actually.  All the time, God is good!

Please keep praying...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Zip, Zilch, Nada

No one is in this camp, so this time God answered no.  Please keep praying.  The corporate people who do Adventure Bootcamp are re-vamping the logo and making all kinds of updates, so there is reason to promote it as "all new" next time around.  Maybe even a justified press release?

I am disappointed but not too upset.  I get to sleep!  But we are still counting on this working for us through next May.  So, like I said, please keep praying.

Just thought you'd like to know what happened this time around.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

FAQ-an interview with myself

I'm assuming there have to be people who are reading this blog because it's linked to a friend of theirs, who don't know a thing about what's going on with me or what any of the last few posts mean...so this is my attempt to explain some of our story.

1.  Why are you in STL?  We moved here for my husband to pursue his Masters of Divinity at Covenant Theological Seminary.

2.  How much longer does he have?  We graduate in May 2013.

3.  You say "we" graduate.  Are you taking classes?  Ironically no, I'm not.  Ironically because before I met Brian, I was headed to CTS to learn more about the Bible.  And now, although I could take classes for free, I don't have the time.  I say "we" because this is an all-family endeavor--the six of us and extended and church families too.

4.  How did you decide to go to seminary?  We've always been in ministry as a couple, and going to seminary was a topic of conversation from the time we were dating, 12 years ago.  Five years ago we came up here to visit.  Then May 2009 he decided we were coming in August.  We had worked part-time for our home church for 7 years doing the Sr. High youth.  After that job ended, the full-time accounting was too much for him to endure, and his calling to full-time vocational ministry was certain.

5.  So what does he want to do when you graduate?  He believes he is called to pastoral ministry.  That means he will one day, Lord willing, pastor a congregation.  Think typical preacher job.  We're not headed to a foreign mission field or a college campus or off to plant a new church.  His personality, spiritual gifts, and background fit well likely as an Associate Pastor right out of seminary, with the hopes of being a Senior Pastor one day.

6.  How does a Presbyterian minister get a job?  Applying for a PCA pastor job looks a lot like applying for a job in any other field of work.  We're not placed in churches, as some denominations are.   We'll hear about or read of an opening and send in his resume.  We may get an interview with a search committee, which reports to the session, who sets up another interview and maybe a visit or two, then maybe an offer is made.  So I hear...we'll experience that first-hand next year.

7.  Where do y'all want to work?  That's a loaded question.  We'd like to head back to the Southeast, but we recognize God may have other plans and therefore won't rule much of anything out right now. Brian feels a call to minister to the people and culture who we understand best and have street cred with already.

8.  What do you think about being a pastor's wife?  It makes me laugh to think that's what I'll be.  Of course it also makes me laugh when I see a mother with 4 young kids and realize that's what I look like to others.  Anyway... I've been blessed to be friends with and mentored by some amazingly phenomenal pastor's and professor's wives up here.  I'm not so naive to think it's going to be a walk in the park, or so proud to think I can handle whatever comes.  We're promised we'll struggle, but we're also promised it is good!

9.  How did you decide to start blogging?  I had some first-year seminary wives over for coffee during our first Christmas season, and we were sharing our stories in order to get to know each other better.  Someone suggested I start a blog because I was willing to say honestly and candidly how hard it was, which was encouraging to them.  So I did.  I hope it is encouraging whomever reads this.  It's also helpful for me to have to process ideas and land somewhere with my thoughts.

9.  If people want to know more, would you say any questions are off-limits?  I hesitate to give a blanket invitation, but I don't think there's anything that a thoughtful person would ask that I'd not be willing to answer.  So--if you've read this far--and you have any more questions about what we're doing or what I think about something, feel free to ask.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Boot Camp Blog Post

New Boot Camp Blog Post

Don't faint just because it's been since August that I've blogged over there.  But check it out.  It helps my feelings.

And we know it's all about me.  And my feelings.  Don't laugh, MMA.


No one has signed up yet, which means there is one person who is coming back for her second camp but hasn't registered online (which is fine and to be expected) and the possibility that one former "regular" will come (but that is not really to be expected).

The girl who is coming emailed to see if I'd still do the camp, if it's worth my time.  ABSOLUTELY!  And how else can they come if I'm not having the camp?

Keep praying, folks.  It's not over yet, by any means!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

We Need Your Prayers

For those of you who still read this--

Brian and I are asking for an army of saints to petition the Lord to provide for us financially through the bootcamp.  Our primary "regulars" are no longer coming, and it's going to be interesting what happens next.  The vast majority of my campers have come because they found us on the web, so we are asking God to drum up new people to come.

My teaching/aide job will end in May for the summer, as well as my nanny job for good (they're moving).  We need more income as it is to pay our monthly bills (which does not include B's tuition), and this bootcamp is already in place and certainly adequate to provide for our needs should people actually come.  And people go to these things.  My best regular (she's leaving after 2 years with me) goes on and on wondering why this hasn't taken off, acknowledging that God must be teaching us some very specific things by keeping us needy.  She's definitely right about that.  She's also speculating that once she leaves it will take off.  I hope she's right about that.

So will you please pray with us?  Ask God to bring us campers.  To provide through this business that is already in place in the community and in our day-to-day lives.  That we won't have to go and figure out what more to do to make money.  That bootcamp will be how we make it.

And if you'll commit to praying daily with us for this week (3/3-3/10), would you please encourage me by commenting here that you'll pray?  We have seen before how God moves when people pray for us, and we're expectantly hoping that he will answer yes this time too.

Thank you all so much!  

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Getting to it

I've meant to blog for a while now...but just to update you, things are good.

There are so many thoughts to share, it's too much to think about!  I need to stop and write it all down though.  Organize it better.  Process more.  Hopefully soon, but I can't guess when!

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Little Sad

Not sure why...no good reason...I just miss my family today.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Do you use AdSense to make money on your blog?  Do you actually make money?  What works best for you?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

January Pics

I can't figure out how to turn the pics, so you'll just have to turn your head.  Sorry.

Catherine had her friend Emma over to play before school started again.

Patrick and his friend Brock were silly with their sandwiches.

The Porters came over for dinner.  Ella and Lillian are such good mommies!
Every Tuesday at our CFA is family night.  This week they had a face painter and also decorated sugar cookies with icing and sprinkles.  We love our CFA.  Pretty amazing, huh?

The view from my kitchen sink today.  They all have been exploring out there and walking on the iced-over creek until it cracked and Patrick got soaked.  Still...so much fun.

Daddy is the snow-fun-one.  I'm learning to enjoy watching the snow fun and not feel that it's at all necessary for me to go out to participate. :)

I made a B out of corks today.
Then I hung it up with some other things.  More my style than huge pastel maps.

Mary Martha and Sarah Frances are out on a "date," so maybe I can get some pics of them up soon.  For Christmas MMA gave each child a gift certificate for a date with her and $5 to spend on it.  She took Lillian out last week then today is SFB's turn.  In just a little bit Catherine is going on her birthday date with her daddy, and I'm going out later by myself.  Such fun times around here.  I love Janterm.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Covenant Christian School

Covenant Christian School is having Open House next Thursday, January 19 at 6:30pm for anyone interested.  It will last about an hour.

Just know I love, love, love this school.  Having had children there going on 3 years, and now working there this school year, I feel I can speak well to most things school-related.  Ask on, friends.

Please let me know if you're coming so I can look for you.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Holding My Breath

This is the way it was supposed to be this fall.  Busy but normal.  Rushed but calm.  Eating meals together at the table.  Resting most evenings.

For the last 3 years, I've had terrible (and I mean terrible) Octobers.  Even to the point that this past year my friend, Mary Martha, and I prayed against the entire month of October.  We made it to the first week and praised God that things seemed to still be smooth sailing.

Then LIFE happened and it got crazy.  Bad crazy.

But we're back to smooth again, PTL.  It's so. very. nice.  Thing is, I'm skiddish.  I'm jumpy, wondering when the ball will drop?  When the insanity will return?  How long till something awful happens to me or my family?

I know this is not the right way to view good things.  God is good all the time.  And just because things are hard doesn't mean He's not still oh so good.  I'm not saying that.  I guess I'm wishing I could REST entirely in the good times and be entirely grateful for them vs. allowing worry sneak in and push rest to the side even a little bit.  I mean, really...can I not NOT worry?  Do I have to create things to worry about when it's good?

Deep exhale.  Quit holding my breath.  Rest.  Relax the shoulders.  Enjoy the good.  Silly girl.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Today I bought some Hershey Kisses on clearance.  It struck me as I was dividing them to use the red and silver ones for Valentine's Day and save the green ones for St. Patrick's Day.

I'm way too excited about this insight...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Birmingham Hangover

It happens every time we come back from being in AL--I get a hankering to be crafty and/or decorate the house.  Every time without fail I am inspired by the break I've had by sharing the kids with their grandparents, as well as the beauty of the Southern homes, and I feel the need to improve upon the state of my home.  This time is no different. 

And doesn't Pinterest just FEED my hunger to be crafty? 

Now, in my normal routine I know better than to indulge myself in trying to do more than survive.  I've quit Pinterest before.  I don't look at Southern Living anymore, and not just because we don't take it.  I don't even look at the decor of the house we live in; what am I able to do about it anyway?

But--dare I say it--I'm feeling it still.  A full week back, and I'm still itching as badly as ever to make the house more homey.  And it seems there's some wiggle room in my life.  That means maybe 3 hours a week when it's just me and Lillian (3yo and easiest child) when I can do something for myself.  Today it was take a nap with her.  Priceless.

But I think I should work on our room.  Put all the clothes away to start with then dust and vacuum.  THEN consider the walls and what to do.  Make it a retreat.  Hold me to it, people.  I can do it if there are no unforeseen dramas coming to blindside me.

That would be really nice.  And it would make Brian so happy.  Even if it lasts just a few days.