Showing posts with label Julie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Julie. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Let's Catch Up...

Let's just sorta ignore the fact that I took a 3 1/2 month break from blogging, sound good?  I thought so.

Lot's has happened, and much has stayed the same.  Life is tricky like that. (but my love of run-on sentences is still strong. Sorry not sorry.)

Let's bullet for old times sake:

  • Lucy turned 4 in April.  Noah turned 13 in May. Jake turned 9 last week. Eli is still 11, but now has glasses.  
  • School is out and we are in full swing of Summer.  Which is actually as busy as the school year, but a different kind of busy so we are sucking-out every ounce of fun and warmth that it has to offer.  I did stay in bed til 8 this it's not that busy.
  • I am in week 1 of a 12 week training plan for my second half-marathon.  Last year I did a 20 week training plan.  Pffff.  Apparently I think 12 weeks is going to cut it this time.  We shall see.  I've likely deceived myself.  
  • I got my hair cut super short.  Pixie time.  So in the hair department, much has changed since last June.  It's super easy and super fun to have something different. And super easy.  (Super is such a great word, I love to over-use it.)  I am amazed at how many ladies tell me they would "love to do it, but just couldn't."  Umm:  Yes you can.  It's simple really.  1. Scroll through Pinterest for hours 2. Show your stylist the pic 3. Done.  Be brave people, you can do it.  (But don't tell your husband I said so...)
  •  I have leaned so much in the past 6 months about ministry and living life as a follower of Jesus.  So much.  And in the midst of it, it didn't seem appropriate to share...but now, I think it is.  It has required some bravery that I wasn't quite sure I was capable of.  And I'm not.  But Christ in me, is completely capable.  Different songs have become anthems for me.  Here's a link to one of them. 
  • Julie graduated college in May.  And part of her family came from Norway to visit and stay with us and they were so very lovely. And then she flew back to Norway.  *sob* And I miss her.  But she will be back.  (this is not necessarily confirmed, but nothing is impossible soooo it' s how I cope.  It's working.) 
  • Ok, so that's that.  

    I sat down at the computer yesterday and opened up a Word doc to write down some specific thoughts on something.  And the felt gooood.  Writing and running = good cheap therapy.  

    I haven't met anyone yet who couldn't use some of that. ;)

    So, my internet friends, what have you been up to?  *tapping the mic*  Beuller?  Beuller?  

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A True Story...

If you're not new to my blog/life you likely remember Julie.  I haven't updated on her for awhile and thanks to a sweet comment from Amy@ My 
Front Porch, I realized I should because frankly it's quite a good story.

If you need to get up to date, you can go to this post to get the back-story (for the record, I had to re-read to to figure out where I left off ;)

So.  In 2009-2010 Julie (from Norway) was our exchange student.  In May of 2010 she finished her year as an exchange student and went back to Norway to finish her last year of school there (they go 13 years.)

Through reasons that can only be explained by God, she decided to come back to Iowa to attend a University that is only about 15 minutes from our tiny town.  If you read that last post about Julie, you'll see that I was really looking forward to getting a do-over with her.  Our experience with her as an exchange student was wonderful.  And crazy all at the same time.

We learned so much about teenagers.  And parenting of teenagers.  Boyfriends and dating and curfews and saying no and setting restrictions and enforcing and protecting.  To Julie's credit, she was pretty easy-going as far as exchange students go.  She took it in stride, and respectfully submitted...even if there were some tears involved.  She never ran off and slammed her bedroom door.  I remember Ben and I looking at each other many times and saying, "Our own kids are not going to act so graciously about our rules."  

Her first year at college, I helped her move in and get settled.  We occasionally had coffee together or she'd stop by the house, but I remember telling Ben that it wasn't quite the do-over I expected.  I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but it seemed like there was something that was causing a distance between us.  I became the "mom" who had to ask 20 questions in order to get any information.  

And then late in the winter or early spring she went on a retreat with a group of college kids from her church.  (Julie just shared her testimony about this retreat at her church's college group, and the Pastor sent me the CD so I could hear it, so it's how I know the inside-story :)  During the retreat they were encouraged to really sit quietly with God to see if there were areas in their life that they needed to ask forgiveness in order to move on...and other stuff.

Julie was reminded of something that had happened when she lived with us as an exchange student.  I do not know that details of the event (Thank you Jesus) but it involved her lying to Ben and I.  She felt convicted and knew God wanted her to call and apologize to us.  She shares in her testimony that she did NOT want to make that call.  She did her best to rationalize that it was in the past, and really wasn't necessary to bring it up again.  But the gut feeling wouldn't ease, and she made the call.

When she called, she was crying so hard I could barely understand what she was saying.  I knew she was apologizing for something that had happened when she lived here...and it didn't matter what it was or the details...but I knew without a doubt that she was sorry and that God was moving in her life. I reassured her that all was forgiven, and that we loved her, and that we were so proud of her for doing the hard thing and being obedient to God's nudging.

I hung up that phone so incredibly humbled for the opportunity to be a part of Julie's life.  Our greatest desire had always been to encourage her in her faith.   To witness her doing the hard things necessary to grow was beyond worth it!

And it opened the door for that do-over that I had so looked forward to. :)  The guilt that she had felt had hindered our relationship...without either of us really knowing it.  God taught both of us something really valuable...when he nudges us to do something, even if we think or want it to be invalid: It's not. He wants us to do the hard things because He knows it's what brings us freedom.  We have a closeness now that we didn't have before.  

This year, Julie is already a Junior in college and is working as a RA (Resident's Assistant) and she's interning at the (quite large) church she attends.  God is using her life, and her testimony and we are so very proud of the woman that she is allowing God to shape her into.  She stops in for visits, and every now and then stays for a couple days...and we feed her.  

Occasionally we reminisce about the events that lead her here to tiny town Iowa.  I'm still in awe that we even decided to have an exchange student in the first place!  It seemed like a crazy idea, but isn't that just like God?  He works in the crazy, unexpected ways.  

Julie is and will always be one of our family.  And I'm not gonna lie...I'm really hoping she falls in love with an American boy that loves Jesus as much as she does.  But I'll let God write that story...but I can still hope. ;)

Here's our Christmas card this year...and then I promise no more Christmas pictures till next year. 

Side Note:  I'm working on an "interview" for Julie so that she can answer some questions on the blog.  If you have any questions you might like to ask her (i.e. How annoying is the parsonage family?) go ahead and leave a comment for email me and I will add it to the list.  Fun, right!?!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Bet Ya Didn't Know...

This summer was quite possibly the fastest summer ever.  My kids go back to school in 12 days.  


I'm a little bi-polar about that.  Happy, sad, happy, sad.  Ultimately's gotta happen.

We have sucked the life out of summer this year.  Ate it up, completely and entirely.  I think we can thank The Summer List for that.

I documented it all; in my head.  And with pictures.  But somehow, it never managed to make it to the blog.  #kickmyself.  But it's stuff I don't want to forget, so I'm going to attempt to go back through the last month (or so) and catch up.  

But just for kicks, let's start with today.

  • We have a drought going on.  Four years ago we had a flood, and now we have a drought.  It gives us something to talk to each other about at the post office, gas station, and any other awkward opportunity for conversation.  
  • Julie is BACK.  I picked her up from the airport the other night.  But that is gonna get it's own blog post...
  • I think I have hermit tendencies.  It's more fun and friendly to say I'm a "home-body"  but really I think I could live as a hermit...if people would just leave me alone.  *wink*   Now don't get me wrong.  I said hermit, and not hoarder.  I thoroughly enjoy throwing things away.  
  • Next week we are taking Lucy's pacifier away.  God help us all. 
  • I'm utterly addicted to the Olympics.  Gabby Douglas, she trained in Iowa.  That's right, for two Olympic's in a row, Iowa has produced two gold medalists.  Take that Russia.  
Now for the playing catch-up posts to begin...

And, if you would like, you can leave me a comment and we can discuss ever-so-awkwardly how the weather has been in real life...and it will be just like you saw me in person.  At the gas station...where I frequent often for fountain pop and fried cheese curds.  

Oh, one last thing:  I'm cooking with the convection mode on my oven tonight.    This is the exciting information you've missed out on for the past month.  Exciting.  

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Playing Catch Up...

I hate playing catch up.  Do you?  It requires so much work.  Whether it's trying to catch up with people I've lost contact with (which I do, because I'm terrible at keeping in touch, unless you count Facebook as keeping in touch), or blogging...playing catch up is tiring.  And since my blogging in the past several months has been, shall we say, pathetic, I have a lot to catch up on.  And since "catching up" seems so not fun, I just do what I do best...procrastinate.  I'm like a professional at it these days.

It's impressive.  Except that it's not.

In blogging, and in life, I like to hit the ground right where I'm at.  I like to talk about what's going on now, not yesterday or last week...or months ago.  But I also can't leave this gaping whole in the last few months of our life in 2011.  After all, this blog is really for me.  To keep track of life, my family, my God.  So I can process the now, and look back on the then and realize how good life really is.  It's a bonus when others join along on the journey...but I write for grammar is hardly good enough to "write" for anyone else. ;)

So I don't forget:

The remodel/addition project started in June and is coming along steadily (it deserves it's own post soon), Noah played catcher on his 3rd grade little league team...and loved it, we went camping with friends, my family loved it and I didn't totally hate it, so we're good to go again next year, Lucy started walking in mid July, Noah went off to Jr. Boys camp for a week...and I survived., the first week of August was:  missionary friends from Brazil, Julie arriving back here, VBS, and missionary friends here to help for VBS.  We celebrated Jake's 6th birthday, and continued Eli's vision therapy (which also deserves it's own post)  We didn't get to the pool as often as we would have liked, but spend plenty of time there for swim lessons.  Eli being baptized.  Moved Julie into college just 15 minutes away. School started August 17th, and fall unofficially begins...for all practicality purposes.   My boys loooove AXE... Jake now calls deodorant "man smell"  and because of the awesomeness of that, the whole family calls it that.  All of that should have been about 45 posts.  But it's not.  And that's ok.

And what kind of  "cramming all things summer into one blog post" be without at least a few pictures?!?

Lucy's favorite shoes.
At the airport with Julie!

Lucy's personality keeps shining brighter and brighter ;)

Getting Julie ready for college.

Eli 3rd grade, Jake Kindergarten, Noah 4th grade...standing in the doorway of the new addition, because next year it will look so different!

There.  Caught up.  That wasn't so bad. :)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Julie is Coming Back!

So, I forgot to tell you some big news.  Imagine that.

If you've been around awhile, you might recall that on August 1, 2009 our foreign exchange student from Norway arrived:  Julie.

The same month she arrived, we managed to conceive Lucy.  Not exactly the timing I was going for.  A teenage daughter was new territory for me...and so was a baby one.

I spent much of that year bewildered at God's timing.  I knew I couldn't see the big picture...yet that didn't stop me from complaining about how weird His timing was.  Incessant bewildered complaining about weirdness is not flattering. Trust me.

I still don't have the big picture.  I'm not meant to.  But I have more pieces of the puzzle, and when I look back on events from then until now I can smile at His way of weaving life together.  
Julie and I that November...I'm holding her stomach because her is flat and mine was not :)

Looking back, I can see Julie and I at the college visit we went to at a near by university.  We wandered around that campus that November day, joking about how she could come back here and go to college and of course meet and eventually marry the man of her dreams...her American dreams. ;)   We sat through the financial aid meeting, the question and answer time...ate in the dining hall (which made me want to enroll there and live in the dorms because the food was AMAZING...of course I was preggo so food itself was amazing.)

But I left that university that day knowing Julie would not be back here.  The idea was ludicrous.  College in Norway is practically totally paid for by their government.  And why would she come back to Iowa?  I mean really, have you seen Norway?!?  And if she was to come back to America for college, she'd certainly go somewhere new and exciting.

Looking back I see myself...overwhelmed.  One husband, three boys, one teenage daughter, one on the way, a dog, a ministry, and three bedrooms and one bathroom.  I went into survival mode, but survival mode doesn't often let you enjoy life fully...the way God intends.  

In early June of 2010, I remember standing in the airport with three boys and a 5 week old baby...saying goodbye to Julie.  She had to go through security and then sit on the other side of a window-wall.  We both sobbed.  And sobbed.  And sobbed some more.  I had such a feeling of wanting a do-over.  You know that feeling?  That feeling of knowing if you just could do it again, you'd be so much better at it.  

Late this winter, I got an email from Julie, sharing about how she was seeking out where God was leading her after she graduated from school in Norway.  She'd looked into all sorts of exciting adventures, but nothing felt quite right.  Meanwhile, God was lining up everything to fall into place for her return to Iowa.  

God does such weird things in such a great way, doesn't He? am fully adjusted to the four-kid thing.  My 3 bedroom, one bath house will soon be turning into a 5 bedroom 2 1/2 bath house...and my teenage daughter is returning.  And this time, I get to be her friend...well a mom-friend anyway.  She's in charge of herself this time.  No curfews, no telling her who she can't date (although I'm sure to have an opinion ;) it's different this time...and I'm excited about that.  That year of craziness had a purpose...a purpose far bigger than me.

One month from today we will pick her up from the airport.  What an adventure.  I'm thankful for God's version of do-overs.

*and if you're new, and would like to read more about the time when Julie was here, you can click on the link titled "hosting" under "Stuff I write about"*
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