It’s Friday, the end of a crazy week, but that doesn’t really make me feel better because I know next week is scheduled to be even crazier.  But for now, the kids are playing quite nicely upstairs, and I have a few moments of quiet, which in itself is something to be thankful for.

But I would also like to spend these few moments practicing thankfulness for something else, Jason’s job.  6 years ago we moved to Louisville for Jason to take a full-time youth pastor position.  It was actually a pay cut for him, but I had just recently started working full-time (with benefits) at  J C Penney (I had just completed my Associate’s degree and was planning on finishing school at U of L after we got settled into the new house), and our housing and utilities were completely covered by the church, so all would be fine.  But…2 weeks after we moved we found out that I was pregnant.  We hadn’t exactly been trying, and had actually just decided that we needed to wait a little longer before we did have a baby, but that didn’t change how incredibly happy and thrilled we were.

But it did come at a price, for I became so sick (I’d like to emphasize that sick is really an understatement here — I was so much more than just sick, but for lack of a better word, sick will suffice.) that I was no longer able to work.  So we lost our health insurance and had even less money to live on every month, and with a baby on the way.  As hard as it was though, we were always taken care of.  (I could write a whole other blog on the miraculous provision of God during that time, but it will have to wait for another time.)

So Judah was born, and although we were living a modest life, we couldn’t have been happier.  Judah was 6 months old when we discovered that I was pregnant with Arabella — another surprise, but such a good one.  We were tickled pink (literally pink) that we were gonna have another bundle of joy, but it was right about the same time that the church had decided to make Jason’s position part-time and not pay him a salary anymore.  Our housing would still be provided, but Jason now had to find another job.  This led to him going back to school to get an IT degree, which I have to admit, I fought him about this.  With a 6 month old baby, and another one on the way, I did not want the kind of life where he would work 40 hours a week and then spend even more time on school, and have very little time and energy left for his family.  We had many serious conversations about it, but ultimately I gave in and stopped trying to convince him not to do it.  I honestly didn’t believe it was the best decision, but I saw how determined he was so I tried my best to support him.  I just want to state, for the record, I couldn’t have been more wrong.  Jason was right, and I was wrong.

I don’t know where we would be, if he hadn’t made the decision to go back to school, for over the course of 6 weeks, he put in his application and submitted his resume to so many places, tirelessly, and never heard anything.  Weeks went by, and we began to wonder what on earth we were gonna do.  One night Jason was talking with one of his new classmates in the course he had just signed up for, and his instructor heard how he was needing a job and spoke up, “You need a job?  I’ll give you a job.”  And just like that, Jason had the exact job in the career field he was wanting.  It was what he was going back to school for.  Jason’s two instructors, that were co-teaching his classes, had started their own software development company, and they hired him to come and work with them, before he had completed his first month of school!  So while he was going to school for software development, he was getting to work, with pay, and get on the job training as well.  Oh, and he got to, and still does, work from home.  So our family life didn’t suffer at all.  It really seemed too good to be true, but we know God really is that good.

So Jason has been with his company for 4 years now, and I have no question that he is where God has placed him.  It is the greatest company to work for.  His 2 bosses, that started out as his instructors, have not only been so good to him career-wise, they have been good friends to our family as well.  They are truly great people with great families.  And over the past 4 years, God has really blessed the company expanded it with even more great people.

Just one more thing I’m thankful for in regards to Jason’s work…God has also opened the door at Sullivan University so that he is now the instructor for the same courses he had taken just a few short year before — another HUGE blessing.  All of this has provided the way for me to be able to stay at home and raise our kids, and to do home school (2 very important dreams of mine), and to do it all in the house of our dreams.  Last thanksgiving, we got to move into our very first home, and it’s exactly what we wanted in every way.  Now, you won’t see our house on HGTV as a million dollar home, but it really is our dream home.  It met everything on our wish list, even the things that we really weren’t expecting to get, and then some extras that we weren’t even considering.  And just for some fun facts…our gray-siding house was built in 2004, the year Jason and I were married.  Also, Graham means “from the gray home.”

So, I am thankful for the amazing provision of God, I’m thankful for his incredible plans for our lives and the desire He gives us to follow them, and I’m thankful for the amazing man that Jason is and how hard he works.  And I’m incredibly thankful that he did not give in and listen to me…that one time.

A Walk Down Memory Lane Part

Although, I can’t recall the exact moment when I actually met Jason for the first time, I also can’t remember when I didn’t know him.  We grew up going to the same summer church camp, so as far back as I can remember I’ve always known who he and his family were.  But I do remember when and where our story begins.

I was 15 when we had our meet-cute.  13 years ago at Camp Nikao, we started “hanging out” together…or at least within the same circle of friends.  To be a little more specific, my best friend Julia, with whom I went to camp with every year, met a boy–enough said.  But to further elaborate, Julia met Danny, who is now her husband, which is how most love stories that happen at camp end–happily ever after in marriage.

But back to my original thought, I, being 15, younger than most everyone else at camp that year, was kinda left lonely and wondering what to do when Julia started spending most of her time with Danny.  I was happy for her, but at the same time was feeling very much left out.  I wasn’t outgoing enough to make new friends on my own, and had it not been for Grace and Julie, I probably would have spent the entire week in solitude.  But Grace and Julie, who were older, felt sorry for me and started pulling me in with them their friends.  That was when I first met Jason for myself, I guess you could say.  Jason was a long-time friend of Grace.

I remember one morning in particular, we were hanging around one of the picnic tables in the shade just talking and laughing.  And for some reason I decided to share the experience I had in the shower that morning — I was washing my face and had somehow managed to get the facial cleanser up my nose.  This of course made me sneeze, and when I sneezed, I sneezed out bubbles.  It’s a rather silly story, but it made everyone laugh, and it made Jason laugh.  And it was just one of those moments that I can never forget.  At that point, I hadn’t been the outgoing, fun, funny type person.  I had pretty much been a quiet, quite shy girl, only socializing with my few closest friends.  But there I was in a circle of older people, and I actually said something that made everyone laugh.  It was a small joy, but a joy nonetheless that I experienced, and Jason played a significant role in it. And now that I think about it, this is a HUGE part of our story because laughing together, and making each laugh has become a very important staple of our marriage.

So at that time I was 15 and Jason was either 20 0r 21, depending on what week of June it was.  Obviously, nothing came out of that week of camp except for getting acquainted with one another, and perhaps a little harmless flirting…He told me, and I quote, “I wish I was 15 [...] So I could ask you to the Banquet.”  The Banquet was a big fancy dinner on the last night of camp that was notoriously known as the date night.  I’m not even sure how it all began, but every year they would do a nice dinner for the last night of camp, and somewhere along the way boys and girls starting asking each other to go to the Banquet.  Much like a school dance I guess, except this was church camp.  And when Jason made that statement to me, I do believe he was asking me if I would go to the Banquet with a guy in his cabin who was to shy to ask for himself.  I, not knowing this guy beyond seeing him across a crowded room, asked Jason’s advice, “Do you think I should?”  And he assured me that he was a really nice guy, so I agreed.  Of course, the whole thing is just ridiculous to me now, the epitome of teenage silliness.  But I sat next to and ate the Banquet dinner with this guy, whom I didn’t know and didn’t even speak to I think.  Luckily, Grace and Julie and Jason were sitting with us too, so it wasn’t too awkward.  True Story.

So I walked away from that week of camp thinking that Grace and Julie and Jason were all very nice and so sweet for letting me hang out with them.  To me, it was an act of sympathy on their part to boost the self-esteem of a 15-year-old girl.  Which, for the most part, I think it was…but, there was definitely an impression made.

To be continued…


A few of my favorite things

The smell of rain* waves crashing on my toes* watching the birds outside my window* Judah’s hand on my face* the sun on my back* the wind on my face* Jason’s hand on the small of my back* the taste of homemade vanilla ice cream* the smell of lilies* reading a book in bed during a rainstorm* the feeling I get after watching a good movie* the baby smell* the sunrise* the sunset* a rainbow* any kind of baby animal* the smell of clean linen* the warmth of Jason’s body when I’m cold at night* the pair of doves that nest in our yard* floating in water while I’m pregnant* the smell of oranges* Judah’s voice in the morning* Kyle* Kayla* Keri*Jacob* holding hands with my husband* the sound of Christmas morning at my mom and dad’s house* driving in the car with really good music and really good friends* the smell of coffee* staying up late at camp* coming home to a clean house* looking up at the stars on a clear summer night* the smell of a swimming pool in the summer* sharing girl moments with my sister while in the hot tub* sitting in my daddy’s lap* the phone call with my mom every day* waiting for Jason at the door when he comes home* the way my brother-in-law looks at my sister* white billowy clouds in a beautiful blue sky* laughing with my baby brother*Arabella’s hair*Judah’s eyes* Justice face* jamming with Brandon*walking along the shoreline*the way Judah says “Sis Sis”*the way Justice squeals at Judah and Bella*the way they all laugh together* how excited they get over simple things* the way they squeeze in between me & Jason when we hug* and how generous they are with their loving affection…these are a few of my favorite things…may they keep my heart ever turned towards you God, for you are in everything