Our Family “Christmas” Letter :)

(written earlier in January 🙂 )…….  I know most people do a family update letter around Christmas time or New Years, and that was my intention this year, but, with so much going on in our family, that didn’t happen  🙂 So, I figured that even though it would be ‘late’, you would all still enjoy an update 🙂

As for Kyle, he is enjoying working at a factory making custom countertops.  We both enjoy the fact that, for the most part, he only works 4 days a week, making for longer weekends!!  He’s been a great help with Johnathan, and even around the house!  There have been a few nights where he has made supper since I’m just so worn out, and he enjoys cooking anyway 🙂  He’s also been enjoying ice fishing a couple of times so far this year – although I think he is really looking forward to going fishing more this spring/summer 🙂  I am so thankful for a very patient husband, who doesn’t care if there are dirty dishes on the counter and laundry needing done, because I took a nap instead of working….he just wants me to feel rested and knows that I will get the work done….eventually 🙂  He is such a huge blessing to me!!

As for Johnathan, he is growing up so fast!  He turned 7 months old on the 13th of January 🙂  He’s been scooting/crawling around, trying to sit up on his own (he can sit on his own if I set him up), and has his first tooth coming in!  His curiosity level is constantly growing, and he’s figured out how to pull things out from under the couch.  If he’s awake, he’s pretty much on the move!  There’s no holding him back 🙂  I have a feeling he will also be pulling himself up on furniture before too long.  He’s taken a great interest in music already, loves to hear me play piano and guitar, and sing.  He’s even tried playing the piano a little bit, but hasn’t quite figured out to push the keys a little harder 🙂   He’s also been trying more foods here lately…pears seem to be his favorite, but he eats green beans, and carrots just fine too….although I think his favorite part is blowing them at me when he’s had enough!  He pretty much sleeps through the night, and I am SO thankful for that!! It makes for a much happier Johnathan… and momma!  He sure does bring a lot of smiles and laughter to our home, and we are so thankful to God for him!!

As for me…well….my days are filled with being a mommy…..dishes, laundry (and lots of it!), cooking, cleaning, taking care of Johnathan, and some days, trying to maintain my sanity!! 🙂   My parents have been a great help, and mom comes down whenever I need her to, and helps me out….and I must say, that is a HUGE blessing!!  I’m super anxious for spring to get here so I can get out and get gardening! We didn’t do a garden last year since we lived in town and moved out to the country in May….and had Johnathan on the way – I just didn’t need one more thing to do 🙂   I have been loving this stage that Johnathan is at!  I mean, he’s been fun and great at every stage so far, but watching him learn, and to hear his giggles….this is just a super fun stage for me 🙂

As for the youngest member of our family….yes that’s right 🙂  For those of you who didn’t know, there will be another little one  joining our family in June 🙂  We find out in just over a week whether it will be a boy or a girl, but you will all have to wait until June to find out, as we are keeping it a secret 🙂  I think some people think we are crazy to have children this close together, and while it wasn’t exactly in our plans, we left that up to God, and are so excited for this new little one!!

Everybody keeps telling me I’m gonna be one busy momma, and I know that’s true, but I am still so excited about a new baby 🙂  Ever since I was about 3 or 4, all I ever wanted was to “be married and have babies”.  I am now living my dream!

So, as I sit here and watch Johnathan playing on the floor, babbling to himself occasionally, I marvel at just how many changes have happened in the past 16 months since Kyle and I got married 🙂  God has been so good to our family, and has blessed us beyond measure!

May you all have a blessed new year!

Sara 🙂

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Oct. 2014

Oct. 2014

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7 Months Old

7 Months Old

A Look Back at 2013

I remember writing my ‘Look Back at 2012″ blog post, and thinking, ‘man, this was a busy year!’.  Little did I know that 2013 would be even busier, and have even more changes!

The end of December 2012, Kyle and I had started to talk about God leading us to a courtship and eventually marriage.

In early January, Kyle began prolotherapy treatments on his back, to see if they would help with the extreme back pain he was struggling with.  Even though it took several months and the treatments were very painful, they did, in fact, help his back tremendously!  Over those months, however, God took us through times of struggle; not knowing when to enter an ‘official’ courtship, since we didn’t know when his back would be healed and he would be able to work and support a family, and other times of discouragement.

The plan was finally set that, on April 17th (exactly 9 years after we met), we would ‘officially’ start courting (I wasn’t supposed to know this, but had insider information 🙂 ) Things did not go as planned.  My grandpa passed away April 11th, and since dad really wanted Kyle involved in the funeral as a paul-bearer, we ‘went official’ April 12th.

The month of May was filled with wedding plans and yard sales!  The Lord blessed us tremendously with a lot of wonderful deals on furniture and other items we needed 🙂  We also set our wedding date, but did not announce it, since there hadn’t been an official engagement, due to certain reasons.

June was also filled with more wedding plans and yard sales, and on the 28th, an official marriage proposal was made!

July was filled with, you guessed it!, more wedding plans 🙂  And also family gatherings, and anything else we could squeeze into our schedule 🙂  We did a lot of fishing over the summer as well, with some friends of ours, and that was quite fun!

August came, and with it both of our birthdays 🙂  Last minute wedding details were put into place, and we anxiously counted down the days!

Then came the blessed day!  September 7th!  There were SO many people willing to help out with anything that needed done, and that made the day go so much better!  Everything went well (including smashing cake in each other’s face!), and the day went incredibly fast!  We had a very relaxing honeymoon at a cottage on a lake for a whole week!

Then came October, and with it, the news that, the end of June, there would be an addition to our little family!  We were thrilled!

November came flying in before we knew it, and, while still trying to get settled in, there was the hustle and bustle of family get togethers, and Kyle being busy with work 🙂  I was still struggling with pregnancy sickness, and feeling exhausted, but I managed to make it through 🙂

December arrived, and with its arrival, came the departure of the pregnancy sickness!  Just in time for Christmas dinners and lots of good food!!!  It was also our first Christmas together, and that made it even more special and fun! 🙂

So, with today being the last day of 2013,  it amazes me to look back and see all the changes that took place this year!  A year ago tonight, Kyle and I were just starting to pursue that much desired relationship we felt God was leading us to, and now, here we are…married, and with a baby on the way 🙂   God has been SO good to us!  We don’t even deserve half of what He’s done for us!!!

The verse God gave me a year ago tonight was, “You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance.”  Psalm 65:11

Praise the Lord for ALL He has done!!

Happy New Year Everyone!

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Our Practice Field

I was going to post this in my last blog post, but I didn’t want to make it any longer than it already was!  This is the last little bit that I wanted to share from “When God Writes Your Love Story”    Once again I’ve underlined what really stuck out to me.

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Our Practice Field

When I was nineteen, God got ahold of my life.  All the excitement I had for the Denver Broncos went directly into my love relationship with Jesus Christ.  Everywhere I went, I would tell people about Jesus, and everyone who knew me before “the change” thought I had just taken a dip in the loony pond.  I was a new Eric!  I was loving people, serving people, and even hugging people.  I was a changed man, throwing a great big love party!  I was a great big bundle of angelic compassion everywhere I went, except when it came time for me to go…home.  The problem was my family never received the invitation.

I’ll never forget the day the tall, lanky stranger muttered the words.  I have heard many words in my life.  Most of them have traveled down my ear canal at the speed of light, never even slowing down for as much as an hors d’oeuvre before exiting out the other side.  But these words stuck.  They sat their gigantic derriere down, made themselves comfortable in my cranium, and let it be known that they were there to stay.  “Did you know that you are only as holy,” the skinny man said, “as you are in your home?”

I was a good Christian.  I had given Jesus Christ my entire ship.  I was learning to love, to guard the treasure of my purity, and to be faithful to my future spouse.  I didn’t know anyone else who was doing that!  But God was showing me, Eric, if you’re not able to act like Jesus now with those most close and familiar, then what makes you think when you get married that you are going to be an example of Jesus to your wife?  Eric, you are only as Christlike as you are Christlike around your family.  If you start there, where it is most difficult to love, then it will be easy to display Christ everywhere else!

Family is our practice field.  We take into our future marriage what we learn in our life with “them” in the here and now.  If we learn to snub and disown those closest to us now, we’re setting habit patterns for broken trust and emotional heartache in the future.  If we train ourselves in the here and now to verbally abuse our family members, we will be conditioning ourselves to bite rather than bless in the future.

When I was eight, my mom signed me up for piano lessons.  I loved to tinker but I hated the practice.  Practice is the most grueling aspect of success.  But when the day of the recital came, I was always very glad my mom had forced me to practice.  Because I was prepared, I was a whole lot less likely to make a fool of myself in front of the crowd.

“Them”…

As I finished reading  “When God Writes Your Love Story” by Eric and Leslie Ludy, last night,  I came across some more things that I would like to share.  The parts I’ve underlined are what really stuck out to me.   I know this is kind of long, but please, take the time and read it! 

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Them

There are four people on the planet earth who can irritate me quicker than any others.  I have tremendous patience, boundless grace, and bottomless mercy for seemingly everyone but these four people

I really do desire to be an example of Jesus to everyone I meet.  I want people to walk away after spending time with me thinking, That must be what Jesus acts like. There are moments when I really think I’m getting there, then…I get around one of them.

Each of us has our “them.”  Maybe you don’t have four; maybe you have two, or maybe you have twenty.  But we all have them.  A good formula for finding the “them” in your life is to look for all those who share the same last name with you, always get a slice of your birthday cake, and have an exact replica of your nose stuck on their funny-looking faces.  “Them” in your life just as in mine, are familiar.  Awfully familiar!  You know everything from the bad jokes they always try to crack to their personal body fragrance.

Really, the only requirement for a “them” in our lives is familiarity. Or, if familiarity is too vague a word, how about this one: family?  Yes, it’s true!  Everyone else in the world may be bamboozled into thinking we are perfect angels, but our family will always know the truth.

If you were to take a peek inside the windows of my home while I was growing up, you would have wonderful blackmail material on me now.  I was a “Christian,” but strangely, you wouldn’t have ever confused me with St. Francis of Assisi.  I was anything but Christlike as I roamed the hallways of my home.

In a matter of three seconds I could scream, “What are you doing?  This is my room, you big Stink!  Get outta here!  Hey! Turn it back! I was watching the game!  Meatloaf for dinner?  I hate meatloaf!”  We for some reason feel very comfortable venting all of our pent-up frustrations on those who make the mistake of being related to us.

We demand that our family be perfect, and we don’t allow room for error.  Let me make a case in point.  If one of you accidentally stepped on my big toe – and I mean you really smooshed it – my response to you as compared to the way I would respond to my brother, if he did it, is strangely different.

To you I would gasp, “That’s all right!”  And even if my face was fire-red and my cheeks were bloated from containing my yelp, I would say, “Those things happen!  I’ll survive!”

You see, to you I would offer grace.  I would excuse your mistake.  Now, my brother, on the other hand…he should know better than to smoosh the big toe of his older brother.  My response to him would be a little more animated.

“Hey!” I would scream.  “What do you think you’re doing?  Watch where you’re walking!”  Then, as is appropriate for all good and healthy brotherly encounters, I would give him a hard shove.

It’s difficult for us to extend grace to the “them” in our lives.  We often expect them to live at a higher standard of perfection than anyone else on the planet.

But it doesn’t stop here.  Not only do those closest to us get under our skin and irritate us, but they can also wound us in a way no one else can.

If you came up to me and said, “Eric, you stink, you’re ugly, and I hate you!”  I would probably step back, blink a couple of times, and then say, “Well, ah, thanks for being so blunt!”  I would go home and tell Leslie about what you said and probably even feel rejected as I recalled the episode.  Then Leslie would tenderly wrap her arm around my shoulder and say, “Eric, that’s ridiculous!  They are probably on drugs or something.”

Your words might sting for a little while and might cause me to put on an extra puddle of cologne before I head out into public, but I would get over your words.  Why?  Because you’re not my family!

If my dad came up to me and said, “Eric, you stink, you’re ugly, and I hate you!”  I would be absolutely devastated.  Any number of comforting words from Leslie wouldn’t be able to bandage up the wound that my dad’s words would make in my heart and mind.  Your words would hurt, but my dad’s words would cripple.  Because yours would be just an opinion; my dad’s are my “definition of reality.”

Our generation is lying crippled on the side of life’s road because of the words of those most “familiar” with us.  There are many of you reading this book who think of yourselves as stupid because those who knew you best when growing up always said you were “stupid.”  Many of you are convinced that you are fat.  Why?  Because your family always told you that you were “fat”.  Then there are those of you who, in your mind, are ugly simply because the word “ugly” has been used by your little brother to describe your face since you were in kindergarten.  It is family who defines our reality.  Even if they are lying, we can’t help but believe family – because if anyone should know, it’s them!

 It’s no wonder many of us abandon the family ship as soon as we get the chance.  We want to escape the irritants, the bosses, the nitpickers, the know-it-alls.  We head out into this great big world in search of a different family.  You see, we all desire to belong.  God designed us for companionship and for teammates.  We just don’t do well alone.  Some of us try to find it in friends, some of us look for it in sports, and some of us even attempt to find it in our shaggy dog named Waldo.  But when we run from “them” and try and patch up our need with “our choice” of fill-ins instead of God’s choice, we will never cover the ache.  We need family!  We need our “them”!  And not just as the solution to loneliness, but as the secret ingredient to successful romance. 

When we condition ourselves to run away and disown those who are most familiar with us, we’re preparing ourselves for a disastrous future.  Our lives consist of relationships.  God designed us for family.  Intimate family relationships are among the most difficult things we must deal with as humans, because closeness leads to the exposure of who we really are, inside and outside.  We young people have a very short period in our life that God seems to give us for practice.

The Denver Broncos have a preseason in which they hone their football skills, study the plays, and scrimmage.  In the same way, we all have our premarriage season in which we need to hone our family skills, study the relationships playbook, and to learn how to be like Christ to the “them” in our life.

Family isn’t just in our past; it’s very much in our future, too.  And I guarantee you that if you train yourself to model Christ now to those most familiar and close, you will be superb at it when you get married.