Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2009 Recap/Christmas Newsletter

Wow! 2009 has been a CRAZY year for the Brem family! Here are some things that we are thankful for from 2009...

*We moved to California! Although it
s been a bit chilly here these last couple of weeks, we are completely enjoying the much warmer weather here!
*We live close to family! We are LOVING being close to both of our families. Noelle and Jude are enjoying getting to spend
time with their Jammie and Poppy (Ed and Jane), Auntie Whitney, Uncle Meats (Matt), Auntie Belle (Lesley), Uncle Chip, and cousins Jonas and Ethan along with many more extended relatives. We are very thankful for such a wonderful family!
*Noelle can read! Noelle is in 1st grade this year and is doing excellent in school. We are in awe everyday at the things she is learning so quickly and are so proud of how well she is doing. She still misses Tacoma and talks about it daily (especially missing her two best friends, Keely and Caleb). We are praying for some best friendships to develop here soon! She is such a fun little girl, full of energy and joy! She spent the summer playing t-ball and the fall on a soccer team. I can't convince her to play basketball, but she did rece
ntly tell us that she wants to try dance. So, we'll see how that goes... Noelle has also recently learned to ride her bike without training wheels! One of my favorite things that Noelle has done this year was when she initiated inviting her entire class to church for the Harvest Party. She even made a list of who wanted to come, gave them our phone number and passed-out fliers. She is amazing!!
*Jude loves school! Jude is in a Pre-K class called "Kinderbloom" this year with an amazing teacher. He is really loving it and doing great. I've been able to spend many hours in his classroom an
d love watching him grow socially and academically. A few weeks ago, the teacher was evaluating the kids on how high they could count. Each student would count with the teacher and when they were finished they got a sticker with "I counted to ____" on it. Most of the kids were counting to 20 or 30, but they had to stop Jude when he reached 100! It was hilarious! Jude loves reading books, singing and has recently fallen in love with riding his bike. He spends most of his day dressed up as Superman, Buzz Lightyear or a Ninja Turtle and does not hesitate to correct you about who he is if you accidentally call him Jude while he is in costume. "I'm not Jude, I'm Superman!"
*We get to hang-out with lots of high school students! We've jumped right into high school ministry at First Presbyterian Church here in Salinas and are loving every minute of it. These students are so much fun to spend time with and we have felt complet
ely welcomed into the youth group and church. The youth pastor and his wife (Joel and Deana Parkins) have gone out of their way to include us and make us feel like we've always been a part of the group, so our transition has been a piece of cake thanks to them!
*We've had lots of visitors! Since we've moved, we have been visited by some of our dearest friends, and have plans for more to come see us soon! We LOVE our friends! So far, we have seen the Fletcher's, the Brokaw's, Adriana Goldstrom, the Narciso's, the McFall's and Erin Azama! The Hess's will be making a trip next month soon after my close friend Kerri Gentile! We are also spending some time at the Brem Family cabin with the Paulson's
in a couple of weeks. We have such amazing friends!!!!!
*Gavin loves his job! Organicgirl has been such a blessing to us! Not only do we LOVE the salads, but Gavin loves the people he works with and loves how much he is learning about the produce industry. We never would have thought that this would be the line of work he would end up doing here, but we are so thankful!
*I was able to run a half-marathon with my sister this fall and Gavin and I are training together for one in February. We are excited to get to do this together!
*We have loved living close enough to spend time at
the Garlinger family ranch and also close enough to hit the beach on a nice day. We've traveled to the Brem cabin in Arnold, CA and also to Truckee for some family time. We are truly blessed!
*Moch and Jon bought a house! They have a beautiful house in Tacoma and also added to the family with a sweet little doggy named E
vah! They are doing great! We are very proud of them.
*Gavin and I celebrated our 9th anniversary this year! I am SO extremely thankful for the man I married. Not only is he handsome, a great provider and a godly stud, but he makes me laugh everyday! He is also an amazing dad to our kids!
*We are almost completely debt free! Wahoo! Its been a long road, but its almost done!
*We are most thankful for how Jesus continues to make himsel
f real to us every day, for how He provides for us, cares for us, protects us and grows us as individuals and as a family. We are thankful that we can celebrate His birth, death and resurrection!

We love to have visitors, so please feel free to drop-by anytime! We pray rich blessings on all of our friends and family for this coming year. Thank you all for loving us!

The Brem Family

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Fightin' Crime and Takin' Names

It was a Tuesday. I was on the beat. It'd been slow, quiet...a little too quiet. Just then I got a call. She was down. Some punk had stolen her iPhone right our of her shopping cart (the worst kind of phone theft). These crimes rarely end well. The woman was hopeless, ashamed. This was going to be a long day...

My first instinct came. I drew my Blackberry, dialed the number and prepared to fight with a barrage of threats. He'd never know what hit him. But he was crafty. No answer. Again I dialed. Nothing. Again. Only beeps. I was dealing with a professional but my next move isn't learned in a classroom: the threat-text.

"Target has cameras all throughout the store." My fingers danced across the keyboard. "You are now a criminal." The hard truth flowed effortlessly. "You will be caught." I could almost see the panic in his eyes. But there is grace, even for criminals. "Turn the phone in to customer service to avoid prosecution."

Did he feel the blows of the threat-text? Did he have an enlightened moment? Was his heart softened in the Christmas season? We'll never know. But one thing's for sure: the lady was reunited with her iPhone.

Crime doesn't pay.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Self-Serve Restaurant?

Our Labor Day family vacation was one of the best. We spent four days in the sierras at my grandparents cabin where many of my best childhood memories were created. We went to the lake, visited an old gold mining town, and ate at a great greasy burger joint. (Check Patty's Facebook page to see the photos.) Childhood memories are wonderful and as my children store up their own, it occurred to me that parents see family vacations with an entirely different lens. Patty and I banked all kinds of sweet memories of our kids playing on a hammock, throwing rocks into the lake, mining for gold, and countless images of cuteness. However, there was one event that the kids will probably never remember but will go down as one of the weirdest dining experiences we've had in a long time.

On our way out of the mountains and slightly off the beaten path we found ourselves in a small town called Copperopolis. Thanks to suggestions from and directions from our navigation system we ventured to a Mexican restaurant called "Mexico Lindo". It seemed that this was a great place to stop since there were quite a few people eating their food with smiles on their faces. We promptly got our table, chips, salsa, and placed our order rather quickly. Then we waited. And waited. And waited for a really long time. It occurred to us in our waiting that there was only one waitress who was working her tail off. We were not mad or anything. We were just running out of ideas to keep the kids occupied. More people streamed in and just like heavy traffic heading for a bottleneck, the waiting increased all the more. Then we saw things happen that we'd never seen before: customers slowly started getting up and serving themselves! One guy got up and went behind the counter to refill his Coke. A lady walked over to get herself more napkins and another dude grabbed some Tapatio from another table. These things might not seem like a big deal but they paved the way for the best part. A patron got up and started busing tables, serving drinks and chips, and doing the dishes! She actually came over to our table and asked us if we needed anything while we waited for our food. I said, "No, but do you work here on other days?" She said, "No." Well, folks, this opened up a world of possibilities. A self-service restaurant? How awesome is that?! If you need something and don't want to wait you just get up and get it yourself. So I got up and gave myself a fresh pour of orange Slice and poked around in the kitchen. The best part was the waitress was happy to let me! Finally our food came. It was ok.

On our way out we all used the bathroom. No toilet paper in the ladies room and no paper towels in the mens room. I couldn't kick the poor woman while she was down so I went over and told the "woman of initiation" of the lacking paper products. She said she'd get right on it. Now those are some great memories.

And for the record, Copperopolis has the nicest people on the planet. Nobody got upset at any of this.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lots of Curve Balls...

Gavin and I were talking a couple of nights ago about how different our lives are from 6 months ago. EVERTHING is different, except that we are still happily married and our kids are still adorable and sweet.
House - We moved from our beautiful, newly remodeled house with lots of amazing neighbors into an older (still awesome) ranch house in the middle of fields of vegetables. No neighbors, no street noise, and a huge yard. Everything we owned except for some of our clothes and the kiddos' sleeping bags were put into storage for two months. We have now moved into a cute 1920's Spanish style house that is 1/2 block away from Salinas High School. I've met one set of neighbors, so far and hoping to meet the rest in the coming weeks We LOVE being back in town and so close to the high school. I cannot wait for high school students to spend their lunch break in my living room!
Climate - I am LOVING the weather here! Its a bit foggy/cool in the morning and beautiful during the day, then cool again in the evening. We have been enjoying walking to and from school everyday and not worrying about getting sopping wet!
Job - Organicgirl is awesome! If you haven't tried their salads yet, you are really missing out! Seriously. I am a total believer in this stuff. In Tacoma, you can find them at Safeway and Metropolitan Market (and Whole Foods if you want to make the trek!). In Salinas, they are at Nob Hill, Star Market and Whole Foods in Monterey. The salads are amazing and different than your normal salad. AND this is so cool...the packaging is made from vegetables! It looks like plastic, but is made completely from vegetables! I think that is so cool! They are SO delicious too. Anyways, Gavin is really enjoying being a part of this company and I am really enjoying the salads and that our family all has health insurance. Plus, for those of you who know me know how I feel about healthy eating! Also, as many of you know, Gav's job was originally asking us to move to the East Bay area of California. Well, we are still here in Salinas (PRAISE GOD) and are going to try to make it all work from here. We are so thankful that Gavin's boss believed in him so much that he was willing to make the job work without the relocation! Also, I think Gavin has been working harder than he ever has before and am so proud of him. He is an amazing provider and has become such a hard worker! What a man!
Church - We have been going to First Presbyterian Church in Salinas. Wow. It is definitely different from what we have been used to in Tacoma, but we are really loving it. We have seen the Lord doing amazing things in this church and really trust the hearts of the leadership. Mostly, we are LOVING the high school ministry! These kids are amazing. We have quickly grown to love them and have had so much fun getting to know them. We have really felt the wind at our backs in ways that we haven't felt in many years in regards to youth ministry. We are SUPER excited for this school year to unfold and to grow in relationship with these students. Gavin has been getting to lead worship a couple of times a week, and I think he is better than he has ever been before. I am in awe of his ability to connect with these students and draw them into worship. He is really excited to raise up a youth worship band and has started meeting and practicing with a group of kids a few weeks ago. I can't wait for the first time the band takes the stage to lead everyone!
School - Noelle started 1st grade! We have felt SO convicted for a very long time that Noelle would go to public school. I am SO stinkin' excited about it. She is such a leader and I truly believe she is a force to be reckoned with! HAHA! She has had two great days, so far. I can't wait to get involved and meet other parents at her school. We are praying for a fast best girlfriend for Noelle, as she has already made two good friends that are boys. :-)
Family - I can't explain how good it is to be around family. My sister and her boys are 25 minutes away and Gavin's parents and siblings are 15 minutes away. It was an amazing moment for me as I filled out the emergency contacts for Noelle's school registration and got to list relatives. I almost cried. Gavin's parents have been taking the kids to breakfast after church on Sunday mornings so Gav and I can go to youth and the kids are truly loving having Jammie and Poppy around on a regular basis. Jane (Gav's mom) even came over last night to put the kids to bed so we could go to youth group. I don't know how I ever functioned the first 6.5 years without this kind of support!
Even though we miss our friends terribly, we are finally beginning to feel at home here. Opening up our storage unit after two months felt like Christmas morning! We are unpacked and loving where we are now. We have high hopes for the future! Love to you all!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Scary Part of Town.

"Salinas, California has the highest murder rate per capita in the United States."
I can't tell you how many times this has been said to us since we have moved here. We have also received a lot of advice on which parts of town to live in and which parts we should avoid. There are even parts of this town that some residents haven't been to in years. And this is a small town!

The other day, I asked Gavin to show me the "scary" part of town. I think its East Salinas. As we drove through, I did not have one ounce of fear or worry. I even went to the Rite Aid to grab something. I did get the feeling that little white girls don't frequent that Rite Aid by many of the looks that I got from other customers, but I wasn't afraid. I'm not worried about someone shooting me in Rite Aid for no reason. The East side (why is it always the East side?) reminded me a lot of what it looks like when you drive through parts of Mexico. Apparently, there is a lot of gang activity which is the reason for the high murder rate. I kept wondering if I should be afraid of something, since we've been told so many times about how bad Salinas is. But, the fear never came. Gavin and I started talking a bit about why we are not afraid. Maybe we are just naive and stupid. Probably because we know the Lord will always protect us, or if He decided to allow something to happen to us, it would be for greater purpose. OR..its because we SPENT THE LAST 13 YEARS LIVING IN TACOMA!

We started talking about all of the things that happened to us while we lived in Tacoma. I don't think we ever realized the crazy amount of things that happened that should have made us full of fear and anxiety! We made a list.

1. In college, while I was home alone at the Garfield house, a drunk homeless man came pounding on my front door (which was almost entirely windows). He was convinced that he had lived in that house as a child and was begging me to let him in and take a look. I politely talked to him through the door then ran upstairs and called a friend (thanks Brice!) and he came and took the guy somewhere.
2. Also in college, Gavin stayed out super late playing video games with some friends and on the drive home at a stop sign, a man was out in his yard. He stormed over to Gavin's car and started yelling at him about something and pounded on his car window. He motioned to Gavin to roll down the window, but instead Gavin sped off. The guy jumped into his own car and started chasing Gavin! It was about 2am and the dude was totally drunk. After running a red light, Gavin lost him, but was pretty shaken up. He slept with a baseball bat that night.
3. My purse was stolen 3 times. Once from a deli, once from an Arby's and once from my car outside of the YMCA.
4. In our first house in Parkland, a hit and run accident occurred right outside of our house.
5. Our lawn caught on fire by a firework in middle of the day in June (when the 4th of July really begins in Parkland).
6. A 6'5" tall man who had recently been released from prison frequently began dropping by our house. Tony, always needed money for groceries for the kids, the electric bill, the car, etc. But when we would offer to go get the groceries or go pay his bill to help, the story would change and he wanted the cash. After a couple of months we talked with a few of our neighbors about our issues with Tony. The next day, Tony came by to "have a talk" with Gavin outside. I'm pretty sure he would have punched Gavin had Gavin not been holding a baby.
7. Our car was stolen.
8. In our first apartment a few months after we had been married, we were woken up by sirens and police lights. Our entire apartment complex was surrounded by police cars because an armed robber had led them on a high speed chase and was now hiding under a car in our parking lot.
9. Someone drove into our cul-de-sac and exploded a pipe bomb at 2am and then drove off.
10. Our car stereo was stolen twice. Once when the car was stolen and once in the mall parking lot.
11. We were kept awake by a party being held at our neighbors. Around 2am I looked outside and saw the neighbor's children watching their parents playing drinking games. I think I remember a kid who looked around 10, holding the beer bong for one of the adults.
12. Multiple times, I went to park in my garage and there were homeless men sleeping/drinkng/hanging out and blocking my garage door. I would then park in front of the house.
13. Every couple of weeks we would be awoken by the street racing down 6th Ave on Saturday night.
14. One night at home we heard a woman screaming outside, "Don't hurt me! Don't hurt me!" We ran outside and it was a boyfriend and girlfriend fighting in their car. We called the police, but the woman ended up just walking away down the street and not letting anyone help her.
15. I received a phone call from my neighbor, Jen asking me if I was home. She said that there were two people having sex in a car parked outside of our house. They arrived in separate vehicles and apparently thought our street was the perfect place for that. She called the police.
16. A woman came knocking on our door asking for gas money after midnight. We didn't have any cash on us, so we couldn't help and she didn't want us to drive her to the gas station. A couple of days later we drove by where she lived and saw that they had been evicted from the house and all of their belongings were out in the yard. They were dealing/doing drugs.
17. We were constantly driving by nearby houses that were being quarantined for meth production/use.
18. Our car window was bashed in twice. Once, outside of our house. Once, at the YMCA.
19. Gavin's subaru was broken into and his bluetooth headset was taken...along with all of his loose change.

And that, my friends is why we are not afraid.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

To Catch a Creepy Dude

To celebrate our dog's first birthday we decided to go to the beach. My mom and her two yellow labs showed up as well as my sister and her big sun hat. We were thoroughly enjoying ourselves as the dogs ran up and down the sand nearly knocking over everyone in their path. Noelle was laughing the whole time, dancing and jumping in the waves with the new friend she made within minutes of being there. Jude discovered he liked to eat sand and pour it all over his head but stayed clear of the waves. As we took in all the beach has to offer a friendly guy saw our dogs as a neat photo opportunity. However, we found it a little strange that my sister was conveniently in the background of all the dog shots. He said he was a tourist, asked for directions and went on his way. Later on I saw him taking more pictures...of my family...from super far away!! I followed him up the dune and stalked him until he took his camera out to snap another photo...again of my family from another angle! I went up to him and asked him what he was taking pictures of. He said "people". I firmly told him I didn't not want him to take pictures of my family and that he could go to jail for this. I also told him that if this is a problem then he needs to seek help because it is sick. I made him delete all the pictures of my family (there were quite a few) and told him that if I saw him taking pictures of people again that I would call the cops and throw his camera in the ocean. He sheepishly apologized and went home.

The moral of the story is if you see a greasy dude snapping pictures of scenery that also includes people as the center shot, he might be a creepy dude who needs to be threatened with imprisonment.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Its been...1 month!!

Wow. Time really is flying by...
Here is a quick update of what we have been up to...

Gavin is still searching high and low for a job.
We are still staying at the family ranch just out of town.
We are enjoying every last bit of sunshine and all of us have some nice color added to our skin (2 of us are a lovely "tan" and 2 of us are more of a "pink").
We have started volunteering with the high school group at the church and are LOVING every minute of it.
Gavin has been leading worship and it has been such a joy to see him doing that again.
Our kids are dirtier than they ever have been before in their lives from playing outside so much.
Our dog is continuing her pursuit to baffle us by eating every possible thing that is within her reach. We can now add: frisbee, 2 squirt guns, walnuts, tshirt, pinecone, garden hose, and buzz light year stuffed toy to the ongoing list.
We laugh weekly at our jobless, homeless, almost penniless selves who get to lounge by the pool thanks to Gavin's folks having a membership at the local country club.
We have no idea what we are doing. We are praying that the Lord will not wait until the 11th hour to test our faith, but have a feeling that is what is about to happen.

Here are a few "observations" that I've had since we've been here...
*California drivers are REALLY different from Washington drivers. Wow. I have thought I was going to die a handful of times already.
*Being this close to Disneyland and not having the funds to go quite yet is torturous.
*I am WAY too reliant on the internet. We still don't have it at the ranch...which is also somewhat torturous.
*In-N-Out really is a great burger. BUT Flipping Out in Tacoma is better...
*People drink alcohol here as much as people drink coffee in Tacoma.
*Jude MUST be sunscreened BEFORE going out in the sun, not 5 minutes after he's been out.
*People around here do not wear tennis shoes/running shoes/sneakers, unless they are actually working out.
*I hear a lot of complaining about "fog". I don't think I have seen any real fog since we've been here...

Can't wait to have internet so we can skype/facebook/blog/google ALL WE WANT! We miss our friends SO much. We have peace. We love being together and on an adventure together!

Monday, June 15, 2009

It's been...ONE WEEK...

There is so much to say but most would be guesses as to what in the world we are in for here in California. Five days after we arrived I got an email saying that I am not needed to teach summer school. This is a big deal because we were hoping that a summer school position would not only pay most of our bills this summer, but also lead to a job for the fall. We are so thankful that we have a free place to stay for a while. We are totally enjoying our time as a family and trying to get plugged in to our new town. It has been fun to have family around. We have been to the beach and God has used so many to provide dinners and tire repairs. Our kids are happy and full of joy. Noelle is already on a T-ball team and Jude just drew his best drawing ever. We have been to the youth group and are looking forward to getting a chance to speak this week. There are so many things that are "right" about being here. However, the unavoidable issues of "how do we live?" and "where are we going to live?" are approaching our shores like an inevitable tidal wave about to sweep us away.

Ever seen the movie "The Abyss"? There is a part in that movie where the aliens that live in the Abyss start a tidal wave that would wipe out everything within 100 miles of any coast line. They bring the wave right up to the shore and stop it as a the wall of water looms over the helpless humans awaiting their watery doom. They essentially tell the humans to stop being mean to each other or else. The people look at each other with new eyes and they embrace as the waterwall recedes.

Here's the deal: aliens are lame. But we could be like the people sitting on the shore ready to go in for the titanic enema. Or we could believe that God has not asked us to move here for years only to leave us stranded. Plus, if the tidal wave of life is nearing us, God can stop the wave just like the aliens did, especially since aliens are lame and God is the Lord of the Universe.

So we are feeling a little stranded but we know that God is bigger than our circumstances. In July we'll be homeless and jobless and penniless but not God-less or hopeless or faithless. We will look back on this time in a year and say, "Remember when we were freaking out?!" We'll give a chuckle, says I.

This is a funny position to be in because it is forcing us to rely fully on God. So, while we're asking Him for things, I decided to ask a little bigger (the following is a real prayer):
We need $4,000/month of net income so Patty doesn't have to work and she can homeschool Jude. We need a place to live that has a good sized living room so we can have people over to meet/fellowship. I need job that allows us time to do youth ministry because that is one huge reason we are here.

If you agree with us then thank you. If you asked even bigger than me then thank you as well. God is in charge of all resources and He uses people to make things happen.

I will write another blog within a month to describe how the Lord of All met all of our needs. The enemy does not want us here so this is also in his face. He is even lamer than aliens.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

From the City of Destiny to the Salad Bowl Capital of the World

We knew moving would be bittersweet. We've known it from all along. How can there be no sadness when all you've known from your late teens until your thirties are embedded in a single community? It would be impossible. So this blog could be laced with mustered up positive words of affirmation about what is to come and how we are excited for the things God has for us. But we'd be skirting around the issue that we will miss our friends in Tacoma. We won't miss the rain and gloomy falls, winters, springs, and half of the summer. No folks, we say good riddance to the rain! However, each day we spent with our friends made those days a little less soggy.

Our last day in Tacoma was very special. Friends we've had throughout the years came to wish us well and our church prayed that we'd be blessed. We've only been gone for 24 hours but already some perspective has risen: friendship is a truly powerful force. It is no wonder that David wept when he had to leave his best friend, Jonathan. We wept as we left our best friends and we will continue to wring out the tears because the love we have is so real and deep. We kept saying to everyone, "We'll keep in touch because there's always Facebook!" Pretty lame but it will have to do.

In all of the mixed emotions of moving away there is some truth to acknowledge that is helpful:
1. Tacoma is a 1hour 45 minute plane ride away
2. We have a lot of minutes on our cell plan
3. We didn't die nor did all of our friends die. We will see each other again
4. There's always Facebook
5. Skype is free
6. Our Tacoma friends are LIFETIME friends
7. God called us to move to Salinas

We are interesting creatures in that we can give our lives over to a loving God in order to serve Him, receiving joy and purpose back. Along the way, however, we make connections that grab our heart and warm our souls. Yet, we are taught to hold loosely to these things. Why? Maybe man invented that approach to protect his own heart or maybe God gave us that instruction because He knew our heart's emotions are powerful. I tend to think that it was man's idea so that he would not hurt when he left the presence of those he cared for. We are created in God's image. That means our emotions, in their intended purity, are from God. Sometimes they get mixed up and manipulated but the fact of the matter is that when you love a friend the heartfelt connection is real and pure. You will die for them. Jesus said this was the greatest form of friendship. So, to all those people out there who think you need to hold loosely to friendship because God will call you elsewhere, you are fooling yourself. God will call you but if you keep a safe distance from loving those around you you're missing the point completely.

The heartache we've been feeling today is normal and to be expected. Otherwise, we weren't very good friends in the first place...

Thank you Tacoma friends for the years of love. We will visit and you better make good on your promises to visit us. When you get sad, refer to items 1-7 above.

- Gavin (and Patty)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

...preparing to move.

Preparing to move has a lot of moving parts (no pun intended). The packing, address changes, job searches, moving to a new home, leaving friends behind, etc. Most of the parts are practicals. But there are equally as important abstract thoughts. One of these is idea that we have dreamt of moving for sometime and now that the dream is becoming reality, it is a little scary and emotional.

We all have dreams. I'm not talking about the crazy scenes that develop as we sleep. Like the one I had the other night where I was being chased by The Matrix's Mr. Smith-like security guards as well as a dinosaur/insect creature. Discovering how to kill the security guard was pretty awesome. That was not the kind of dream I'm talking about. I'm talking about the kind of dreams where you stare out a window and think to yourself, "I wonder what life would be like if..." or "I have always wanted to...". Vision-casting dreams. It is fun to dream. But actually acting on those dreams is very scary and exciting at the same time. It always takes a risk to carry out a dream. You see, we have a dream of living near family and doing youth ministry in my hometown. For two years this dream has been stirring in our hearts and for the entire two years I have fought the fear that this dream is one I conjured up instead of being directed from God. I believe God gives us dreams that are promptings of certain things He wants us to do. How He wants to use us. At the same time, if we are running from His will, our minds will draft up plans that are not necessarily what God wants us to do. So, for two years I have been trying to decipher whether or not the dream is mine or His. However, I never thought to wonder if a dream can be both...

The Bible says that God will sometimes give us the desire of our heart. In our case, I think our dream to move is both the desire of our heart and the path on which God wants us to be. The Bible also says that God speaks to us in many ways. One such way is a "still, small voice". I have never been "whispered" to more than in these last two years. He has been very quick to hush a little encouragement that we are going the right direction. I have also never been "yelled at" more than I have during this season. The loud voices say "Stay where you are! You are crazy! You are running away! You won't have any friends if you move! Your kids will be ruined! You wife will be attacked! You will go broke! You are rebelling against God!" Do any of these voices sound familiar? Day in and day out this is what I have been hearing. But I am thankful that the Word of God tells us how He speaks to his kids and it is NEVER with a fear-laced shout. So, when I talk about preparing to move, the most preparation has been shuffling thoughts around in my head while tilling the soil in my heart. But I will tell you this: I have learned more from going through this fire than 100 sermons could teach me. The sorting out of the origin of this dream to move is just one of many lessons.

In case you were wondering, the way to kill the security guards in my night time dream was to find the king dude, who was a lot bigger than the others, and stick a grenade on his neck. That move blew his head off...



I am highly insecure about having correct grammar, so posting a blog (posting on a blog?) is nerve racking for me. first post shall be a list!

*I may or may not have found chocolate that had melted and dried on my bra and a closely related body part this morning. A piece may or may not have slipped down my shirt last night not to be found until I was changing this morning.
*In overeager premature packing of our house I packed our camera charger weeks ago. Of course, the camera battery died soon after. I've reminded myself 9873494793845 times to charge the battery, but am distracted on my way every time. I don't remember to charge it again until its the opportune time to take a picture and then remember that the camera battery is dead. Its a vicious cycle. UNTIL this morning! I actually went to plug the cute little battery in, thinking that today will be a lovely day to take some new photos, and realize the charger is no where to be found. After unpacking a handful of boxes, a phone call to Gavin, a few text messages, rummaging around under my bed and through nightstands and a trip to the basement (started a load of laundry while down there), I finally remember where the charger is. I'm proud right now that my camera should be ready to go just about the time it warms up enough for my kiddos to run around in the sprinkler this afternoon.
*I woke up 2 hours before my kids this morning because I couldn't remember what time Gavin's dentist appointment was this week and was worried he would sleep through it. Got up to check the email reminder from the dentist, realized the appointment isn't until tomorrow, and subsequently got sucked right into facebook/email/twitter/blogs at 6:15am.
*When my friend Ronda "Skyped" me this morning, I ran out of the room because I didn't have any pants on. It is video chatting after all. Gavin informed me that no one would notice since the camera is only on my face. I still went and put pants on. It just felt weird talking to someone in Australia without pants on.
*Gavin and I have toothbrushes that look exactly the same. Same color and everything. Rather than taking the time to mark one of them, I just use whichever one is dry. Sorry babe.
*I had an ingrown EYEBROW hair this week. It was bizarre and painful.

Moving in 6 days. Off to pack!

The pic is of Noelle outside of the playhouse at the Ranch in California. We'll be staying there for a little while until we figure things out. At the Ranch, not at the playhouse.

Posted by Patty (first blog ever)

Thursday, May 28, 2009 dog and her ability to eat anything.

We have a dog. She is a sweet 10 month old black lab. She is great with the kids, barks only when a stranger walks by the house, and is pretty smart. There's only one thing: she eats everything that she comes in physical contact with. I know she is technically a puppy but some of the things she's chomped just baffles my mind. I understand if something smells or tastes like food but, so far, the only things she's eaten that does resemble food is her dog food itself. The rest of her diet is a complete mystery to me.

Here is a running tally of all this dog has ingested:
- flashlight
- styrofoam (not sure how to spell that)
- cat poop
- candle lantern
- toy car
- her own dog dish which we had to replace with one made of metal
- tree
- firewood
- plastic bag
- newspaper
- rose bush, thorns and all
- all other plants in the yard too numerous to list
- stuffed animals including the stuffing
- beach ball
- sombrero

-Gavin (the dog didn't eat Gavin, Gavin wrote this blog)


I know, how many social networking tools do we need? Well, we have friends and family in many places. This might be a great way to keep everyone updated on our whereabouts, adventures, and how we are doing. I don't want to post status updates all the time. Plus, we are funny sometimes, so it can be a great form of entertainment for people who are really bored. You might crack a smile, "LOL", or shed a tear. However, you will most likely read this and never visit this sight again. Either way, we can at least say we tried. Please be patient as we figure out the world of "blogging".