Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Go big... or go home

Today is the 27th day of 2010 and yet I feel I have experienced enough emotions, filled out enough paperwork, and blindly followed God's lead to fill an entire year. In these first few weeks of this year, we have:
  • remodeled the master bedroom and moved in (it's wonderful)
  • completed (almost) the refinance of our home
  • committed to having a foreign exchange student for the 2010-2011 school year
and lastly,
  • Derek has enlisted in the Army National Guard.
    Throughout the month of December, Derek and I had anticipated finishing the master bedroom and getting our house refinanced into a 30 year note. However, prior to January 1st, the ideas of hosting a foreign exchange student and joining the army had just been ideas that got mentioned in the form of "I think someday it'd be cool if..." every now and again.

    I sit here today, still, wondering what on earth we were thinking and wondering how we will get through it all. I feel almost that we are being wreckless. Why would a young family trying to make ends meet carry the financial burden of a high school student living in their home? Why would we send a dad away from his growing baby for seven months? It doesn't make sense.

    Except that it does. And the only reason is because we both know that this is exactly what the Lord has called us to do, right now, at this time. There is simply no other explanation. Aside from it, this all sounds like nonsense.

    The idea of the foreign exchange student came first. And then it was rejected. We wouldn't do it this year just because I knew we couldn't afford it without me going back to work. Eventually. Someday. But, the rejection didn't stick in my mind. It kept coming up. And then I knew I had to do it. Because just a few months ago, I was sharing with my Women's Ministry committee about the importance of tithing not only with your money, but with your possessions-- your car, your yard...your home. I know that I have been given an amazing blessing in the form of my home. And it is my responsibility to offer it up to him as a sacrifice knowing that He will provide. Luke 12:48 "... To whom much has been given, much is to be expected..."

    The National Guard came next. Technically, it was first. For as long as I have ever know Derek, joining the military was always something he had wanted to do. It all comes down to his sense of duty to protect those he loves. If anyone knows Derek well, they will know this is part of his personality, a part of who he is- a protector. We had seriously talked about it twice before in our marriage, but other opportunities surfaced instead. It came back up as Pastor preached one Sunday Night about protecting the innocent and the ones who can't protect themselves. Derek said to me that night as we were in the drive-thru at Long John Silvers, "I need to start looking into the Guard again." And it was at that point, I knew. And then I knew that since I had such a peace about it all, that it was surely the Lord's will.

    Derek didn't quite know yet, as he is more timid about new ideas and big changes. It was at that point that I realized that I was in the position to convince him either way. And to some, maybe I was foolish. When I am alone for those 32 weeks, who can I blame but myself? But how could I argue with what the Lord had so clearly made him to do? How could I prevent this man- who is not only capable, but willing- from serving our country? It was only two weeks ago as we were teaching our fourth and fifth grade Sunday School kids about Jonah. It was clear, that if God had called us to this service, that we would get there one way or another. Whether it was on a boat or in the belly of a fish- somehow, we'd get to Nineveh.

    So, Derek met with the recruiter time and time again. We filled out 19 pages of the application (Did you ever sneeze, EVER?). He took the ASVAB. We filled out more paperwork. Met with the recruiter again. He spent last Sunday night up near the airport, passed his 4 hour physical, filled out MORE paperwork, and swore in on Monday afternoon as an E-4 Specialist. 

    I couldn't be more proud of my husband.

    If you are curious to know, Derek's MOS will be 25B Information Technology Specialist (this will complement his current job nicely). He will leave for 9 weeks of basic training at Fort Benning (GA) on July 25th and will go straight to his 23 weeks AIT training to Fort Gordon (GA). Fortunately, there is a two week break over Christmas, so he will be able to celebrate the holidays with our family. He will be done with training in the middle of March 2011. He begins his one weekend a month duty next month, in February.

      Sunday, January 24, 2010


      This weekend, my blog received a much needed makeover. I know that most everyone who reads my blogs (all five of you) does so when they are automatically imported to my Facebook notes. CLICK HERE to visit my actual blog website and take a look!

      I found my template, buttons, and header to customize from:

      Attitude Adjustment

      Today I woke up with a bad attitude. The alarm clock went off at 6:30 on a Saturday. Our Sunday School class was headed out to serve breakfast for the homeless in downtown Kansas City and things just weren't going as planned- most of the kids had to cancel due to last minute game schedules, my original plans for my mom to watch Jackson weren't going to work out, and then to top it off Derek and Jackson were sick.

      But I got out of bed, loaded up the hundreds of socks our church donated, and headed out to meet the crew. With a little help from a nutritious QT breakfast (a taquito and Coke) I perked up. And I had a great time and had so much fun. Isn't it amazing how that happens? I almost think I was blessed more than those getting food to fill their hungry tummies. Who am I to be so selfish as to wish to say in my comfy bed instead of reaching out to those in my very own community who have to comfy bed to crawl into each night?!?

      Each and every time our Sunday school class goes out to serve, I am so proud. And in fact, I think these kids have a lot to teach me at times too. Ever since we got this activity put on the calendar, these kids were so excited about serving-- even when they had to get up earlier than on a school day! The kids all worked with good attitude at their stations and better yet, they had fun and are anxious to go back! The heart of a child is something to strive for and I am so grateful that I am able to be involved with these 4-5th graders to constantly remind me of this!

      We served with Hope Faith Ministries this morning. There are some amazing things happening through this ministry for sure. Not only do they feed hundreds of people daily, their programs help equip their clients to move passed the rough patch they've encountered- offering jobs and a place to live for the few that they can so that they will become self sufficient, while a new person will have to chance to do the same. The ministry is privately funded through area churches and individuals and received no federal funding, which allows them the freedom to proclaim the gospel often. We only spent a few short hours and it was so easy to do. We were met with great appreciation, respect, and many smiles. Check it out to see what you can do!

      On the drive up, the kids folded socks and tucked a little note in each pair:
      May the food that we've served fill your belly and the socks warm your feet. More importantly, we pray that you know the Lord Jesus loves and cares for you very deeply. Heartland Baptist Church- Belton, MO. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

      Look at these smiles- 7am on a Saturday!

      Kaitlyn slices bagels donated from Panera

      Katie, Alyssa, Carla, Skylar, and Michelle
      serving juice, milk, oatmeal, and bagels respectively

      Dalton and Daniel prepare small cups of pineapple

      Jorden, Kaylinn, and Ashley with the
      coffee and dounuts

      Yvonne and I are making pancakes
      (hers were way better than mine!)

      Katie and Andrea on the assembly line
      getting plates ready

      Friday, January 22, 2010

      Flu Blessings

      It started with little man Creason and now it has progressed to the big man Creason- the flu. This week has been a crummy one. At the same time I have never loved more being a mom and wife and taking care of my boys.

      I don't do vomit. I really don't. Blood grosses me out, but I can deal with it. Poop doesn't really bother me and I've got the other bodily functions pretty well covered. But vomit, I just can't handle it! Now, I realize this is a major flaw as vomit is definitely in the job description of motherhood. But until now, I had yet to come face to face it.

      I had just told Derek that he might as well go to church since I was just going to put Jackson to bed on Wednesday night. He left and I was rocking Jackson while he finished his last of his milk. Then it came-- all over me. Smelt disgusting. Soaked through. And it was the first of 4 times it happened in the next 2 days.

      I surprised myself. A truly fantastic part of motherhood- the part that it doesn't matter what I'm doing, how I feel because what really matters is that my baby is crying, he doesn't feel good and the overwhelming desire to take care of him and to make it all better. I quickly attend to getting him clean PJs and run to find a clean blanket to help him calm down. I did change before rocking him to sleep. And when he woke up sick later on that night, I was more than happy to cuddle and hold him (although not in my new bed!) despite knowing what would eventually happen again and again.

      The littlest things have made Jackson so upset this week. It started when I moved his blanket away from his high chair at breakfast on Wednesday, then it was when the doctor put the stethoscope on his stomach, and sometimes it's nothing at all that sends him running to me, tears running down his face. I willing hold him on my lap and give him some lovin' until he is ready to face the cruel living room on his own again. I have gotten so many Jackson hugs and cuddles this week that I almost wish he was sick more often. Yesterday morning, he climbed on me and was wiggling around so much. It took me a minute to realize that he was trying to get into his 'rock him to sleep' position. He feel asleep immediately.

      Derek came home from work before lunch today and spent most of the remaining hours of the day in bed. I have fortunately dodged this stomach bug thus far, but I have hated to see my favorite boys to be in such misery. One thing is for sure, a blessing in disguise- the real joy of motherhood and being a wife is loving them so much that it's a blessing to take care of them.

      Wednesday, January 6, 2010

      2009: A year in review

      Our 2009 was a great year. There were many fun times of meeting friends for dinner, going to the movies, and playing board games- and the one awesome game of Canasta when Brad and I creamed Forrest and Mary. We enjoyed a picnic at the park over the summer and dinner on the Plaza just last month. I have made several new friendships and I've reconnected with old friends on Facebook. We took a couple trips down to Springfield to visit old friends and we traveled up to Trenton and Richmond to visit grandparents and families. But more important that all of the actual things we have gotten to do, we've been blessed to have been able to spend so much time together as a family and with our closest friends.
      • We took a nice vacation to Sacramento/San Francisco, California
      Derek and Jackson at the Golden Gate Bridge

      • I went with my sisters to a Britney concert in April.
      Ashley, Laura and me

      We all enjoyed the concert
      • We became an Aunt and Uncle on third wedding anniversary.
      Holding Gabe when he was only a few days old
      • We became homeowners and undertook the the challenge to flip it into an updated, livable home for our family.
      The house in disarray -
      after replacing the foundation, new windows were installed
      • At church, Derek began playing guitar in the worship band and I began singing with the ladies ensemble.
      Derek practicing with the band before the service
      • We attended a Royals game, a pre-season Chiefs game, and I attended every show at Starlight theater this summer (Legally Blonde was my favorite, by far!)
      On the way into the game with Forrest and Linda

      Derek with the guys on the field before the game.

      • With our Sunday School class, we participated in several service projects
      We bagged and boxed over 300 pounds
      of cereal at Harvester's!

      We raised money and walked to support a friend in the
      Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk for a Cure.

      • We watched Jackson grow from a teeny baby just learning how to smile to a very busy toddler smiling and laughing all throughout the day.
      Jackson at three months old-
      January 28th, 2009

      Jackson at DeAnna Rose Farmstead
      10 months old
      • I enjoyed a few 'firsts' last year- eating KC BBQ, planning a baby birthday party, and parking in my very own garage parking space!
      Jackson enjoying some of Arthur Bryant's BBQ

      We stand now, looking ahead to what 2010 will bring us and we are a little overwhelmed with some of the big things the Lord has placed on our hearts to do. But, I stand here today to say that when we make it through this year and we reflect on what has taken place I will know that it was the Lord carrying us through because there is no way we could do it on our own. We are so excited for this coming year and I pray that we will live each day to its fullest and to know our true blessings.


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