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parenting

A June Wedding


Weddings are one of the life events that bring untold amounts of joy into a family.  We will be experiencing this very soon. This blog is about a mom’s journey in preparation for my daughter’s wedding. 

As a mom I have dreamed of my daughters' future weddings for quite a while.  Who is the man that God picked out for each of them? How would I feel about the actual leaving me and cleaving to him? There is no way you can know these things until they happen.  I have experienced both joy and pain in this journey.  I’m thrilled about seeing my beautiful Brittany in her wedding gown and walking down the garden path on the arm of her dad.  The pain is the realization that I have only four more days before my girl changes her name and starts down the path of her own family story.

My life with Brittany started when I was 19 years old.  I was married to my husband on December 14 1991 and Brittany was born February 4 1992.  I was pretty young and a tad bit scared.  We moved to Germany where Brent was stationed when Brittany was 6 months old.  I had never been lived outside of Michigan and had only been out of my parent’s home for 8 months.  Our life was only complicated by the fact that we lived in a German city and not on base and Brent spent a lot of time training away from home.  I was lonely because I did not know the language and couldn’t make friends with my neighbors.  Brittany was with me all of the time as I was maturing and adjusting to marriage and parenting in tough circumstances.  We became a team of sorts.  We would continue this sort of friendship/parenting bond throughout our lives.

Brittany grew up as we moved from Germany to Georgia, Georgia to Virginia, and Virginia to Michigan.  During this time we added two more awesome kids named Laura and Matthew to our family.  This little family unit was very tight knit and a joy to me.  Through all the moves we had each other and that was what mattered most.  Our last move landed us in Gaylord Michigan in 2005.  Brittany started school here her eight grade year and graduated in 2010.  We had some bumps and bruises along the way but we made it through and we now looked forward to her college years. Brittany chose Michigan State University for her college and was also serving in the National Guard in the 126 Army band.  We were so proud of her and were there to cheer her on in both of these endeavors.  She made the Spartan Marching Band her freshman year so we bought season tickets and made every home game over the last five years to support her.  We watched her grow and improve over the years to make it to the elite spot of being an eeph in the band.  That is an e-flat trumpet and was quite the accomplishment for her.  She graduated in May with a degree in Kinesiology.

So here we are in June.  I’m days away from letting go as my daughter marries her Doug and moves on.  I will not have to imagine what she will look like in her wedding dress much longer.  On Sunday Brittany will start to write the story of her marriage and family life.  God has been bringing about this day for 23 years.  He picked out her husband and He will lead their family.  That makes it so much easier to let her go.  So I will shed some tears but they will be good ones.  I can trust God’s plan for Brittany and Doug.  It is much more amazing than I could imagine and I know only He can bring it about.  I’m so thankful to God for giving her to me for these years and the pleasure I will now get watching her new life unfold.  

Julie




This blog was written on June 3rd, prior to the wedding. The following picture was taken on their wedding day.




















Sewn In Love


I have an amazing gift coming into my life and his name is Aaron.  My first grand baby is due to arrive on July 6!  I can hardly contain my joy when I think of this little guy.  God made this precious addition to our family for a great purpose.

When I found out I was going to be a grandma it started me down a blissful road.  I was amazed to hear your heartbeat and to see you on the ultrasound for the first time.  You kept your tiny hand up by your mouth for all of the pictures the doctor took of you.  I thought this was amazing.  I looked at your mom and dad who were both beaming as they saw you for the first time.  

My Brittany is going to be a mommy.  She is going to be an awesome mom to you!  She has a ton of favorite books that she will be reading to you.  We know how important that time spent together will be to both of you.  Your dad already has some crazy plans for things he wants to do with you.  Most have to do with the Green Bay Packers. You have some trips across Lake Michigan in your future for sure.

As many grandmas do, I started thinking about what I could make for you.  This would be a gift of love from me. So I headed to Hobby Lobby to pick out a baby quilt that I could stitch.  I know your mom loves giraffes, so that is the theme I’m going with.  I haven’t stitched for quite a while and I’m a bit rusty.  Some of my stitches are big, some a little smaller.  I know that the stitching should be more uniform, but that is okay.  Someday you will know that every stitch in it was sewn with love for you, Aaron.  When you are wrapped in your quilt you will be wrapped in love from your grandma.


I want you to know your grandma prays for you.  God has an amazing plan for you, Aaron.  You were made for great things.  Your precious life was lovingly knit together by your Heavenly Father.  He sees you as you are growing bigger in your mom’s tummy.  Maybe He even talks to you.  If He does, I think He tells you how precious you are to Him.  You are indeed precious!

I anticipate the day that I will meet you face to face.  I will be in the delivery room with your mom, dad, and Aunt Weewa.  I would like to say I will be number 2 in line for holding you but I think your dad may say differently.  When I do finally hold you I will kiss your little head. The answer to whether or not you are a ginger will finally be answered.   I will whisper my love for you into your ear.  Each of your toes and fingers will be looked at and touched.  I will say a prayer of thanksgiving to God for you being gifted to our family.

I will be counting down the time until you arrive.  I will keep sewing your quilt in anticipation of that day.  Each and every stitch is being sewn in love for you, Aaron.
  
Love,
Grandma




A Rose in the Red Cedar


"MSU Shadows"
(Alma Mater)

MSU, we love thy shadows
When twilight silence falls,
Flushing deep and softly paling
O'er ivy covered halls;
Beneath the pines we'll gather
To give our faith so true,
Sing our love for Alma Mater
And thy praises, MSU.

Tomorrow is going to be a very special day for my daughter Brittany.  This will be her very last time on the field as a member of the Spartan Marching Band (SMB).  It is so hard to believe that she has completed five years with this awesome group.  This blog is a gift of love and congratulations to Brittany.

Brittany’s freshman year in the SMB was a crazy one.  She was quickly welcomed into the reality of just what it takes to make it into this band.  The series is an amazing thing to watch but incredibly intense to learn and perform.  They start practicing in August and have a couple of weeks to get it down.  On top of the series they also learn a new show weekly.  She took this all in stride and worked diligently on all that was required.  She has a high standard for herself on top of what it takes to be a member of the SMB.

Brent and I became season ticket holders so we could experience game days with Brittany.  The first time we went to a game it made me cry to see her in uniform, do the series to the stadium, and to see her come out of the tunnel for the first time.  I cried a lot that year.  I was telling anyone who would listen to me that my daughter was in the band and that she played the trumpet. Thankfully, we sat around people who would listen, smile, and congratulate me.  Each time I would also watch the series from whichever side of the road Brittany would be on so that I could say something to her as she went by.  I was always overwhelmed by the sight of her performing with such a serious face and professional demeanor.

My daughter has participated in a bowl game every year that she has been in the SMB.  She always dreamed of MSU going to the Rose Bowl.  It had been 25 years since it had happened last.  This is a huge deal for the band.  She felt that this would be the icing on the cake of her time in the SMB.  She was blessed to be able to do just that last year.  Brent and I were able to go also.  We saw Brittany perform at Disneyland, the Tournament of Roses Parade, and finally at the Rose Bowl itself.  We were very excited that the boys won as it really did top off an amazing season and bowl trip experience.  My daughter now wears the Rose Bowl patch over her heart on her marching band jacket.
 
Tomorrow Brittany will put on the uniform, march the series, and come out of the tunnel for the last time.  On this day her name will be called out in Spartan Stadium as she is honored for her time in the SMB.  After the game the band will march out of the stadium and do the series to the bridge that crosses over the Red Cedar River.  It is there that she will throw her rose into the water as a beautiful symbol of her time spent in the SMB coming to an end.  Here again her mom will be crying.  After this, the band will then finish off as they do every other game night, but this one will have a twist to it.  After Shadows, the MSU Alma mater, is sung in keeping with tradition.  The seniors will perform one last tradition that is reserved only for them.  They will sing the second verse of Shadows, which is only performed on this night.  This, again, will make her mom cry.  It is a beautiful and sad moment for all the seniors and their parents who have traveled this journey with them. 

When from these scenes we wander
And twilight shadows fade,
Our mem'ry still will linger
Where light and shadows played;
In the evening oft we'll gather
And pledge our faith anew,
Sing our love for Alma Mater
And thy praise, MSU.

Congratulations Brittany!  I’m so proud of you! 
You have ended your time with the SMB in a way that should make you proud of all your accomplishments.  

Love, Mom


No Holes Parenting

 Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you.  Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our lives as well.  Surely you remember brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.  You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous, and blameless we were among you who believed.  For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into His kingdom and glory.  I Thessalonians 2:7b-12

I have been blessedto be in a video class by Beth Moore called "Children of the Day".  It is a study on 1 & 2 Thessalonians.  This last week I was blown away by Beth’s diagram of the six requirements for whole parenting.  The most amazing part is that God is our example of how to be a whole parent.  It is my belief that everybody can find at least one of the six ways that we are lacking in our lives.  This goes for how we were parented, are parenting, and also how we understand God our Fathers parenting of us.  When we lack even one of these it makes a part of our lives to be askew.  I will be focusing on God’s parenting us and our need to understand His ways in order to have a fulfilling child/parent relationship with our creator.

Nurtured - To be nurtured is to be fed and to be trained or brought up.  This could be pictured as a mother nursing her child.  The child is safe, nourished, and growing as a result of the nurturing from its mother.  God is very nurturing with us.  We are meant to grow under His parenting.  He nourishes with His word which we find in the Bible.  As we take in this nourishment and put it into practice in our lives we in turn grow in strength and understanding.  This produces in us a quality that is satisfying to God as our parent.  We bring honor to Him.  When I’m sad, too tired, or just plain stressed out I love to picture myself sitting on God’s lap.  He has His arms around me in a hug and I have my face buried in His chest.  I’m safe here.  He loves me and comforts me.  He is my Father, and I’m His beloved child.  God is my nurturer and sustainer.

Affectionately Desired - To be wanted by God.  God loves us deeply.  1 John 4:16a tells us “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us”. We can trust Him and His love for us.  He desires time with us.  God does not see us as a hassle to put up with.  We are cherished.  He desires a relationship and communication with us.  What a great flood of warm feeling this brings me.  I’m affectionately desired by my maker.  He has a soft spot for me.  One day I will be with Him for eternity and He is waiting for me.  He has a special place for me.

Accepting Parents Very Self - Beth describes this as God giving fully of Himself to us and us accepting it.  He holds nothing back.  God is pouring His will into our lives.  This will, when we accept it, is changing us day by day as we travel towards the day we finally meet Him.  He is perfecting us.  What a beautiful thought for one who has some forgettable things in their background. We never have to stay stuck in a bad spot.  He will gracefully move us back to the right path if we cooperate. God is good.  

Exhorted - Dictionary.com says to exhort is to urge, advise, or caution earnestly.  How many times as a parent have we tried this with our own children?  We draw from the well of our past experiences when trying to caution our children about harmful actions they are partaking or thinking of participating in. God’s word tells us there is nothing new under the sun.  God has seen it all.  This would surprise many people today who think they are trailblazers with their particular sinful actions.  Many like to say the Bible isn't relevant for today.  They must not be reading it.  There are murders, sexual sins, greed, gluttony, and lying just to name a few.  God does not advise us against such things to keep us from having fun.  It is to protect us.  How many times do we act on our foolish schemes just to be ashamed of ourselves afterwards? He desires nothing but the best for us.  All that He has for us to learn in this lifetime is for our good.  His instructions always lead us to the best for us.  I think of how hard it is sometimes to convince my own children that our instructions are for their good.  It can be very frustrating.  How much more sad it must be to God who knows all about our future to see us not heed His loving instructions in our lives.

Encouraged - It is such a great feeling when someone we love or respect offers us encouragement.  How much more awesome it is that God encourages us also! Joshua 1:9 tells us “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  That brings me great encouragement.  The God who spoke the universe into being is with me wherever I go.  Think about teaching a child to ride a bike.  We never push them off and just let them go before they are ready, we run alongside of them until they get it down.  This gives them the chance to learn this new skill while feeling the safety of their parents being right there with them.  God never makes us do anything in life alone.  He is there with us as we spread our wings of faith and prepare to fly.  He encourages us not to give up or give in.  He is on our side rooting us on.  As I write this I’m struck by the fact that I let fear paralyze me a lot.  That should not be so.   I need to trust in the fact that God has equipped me to do everything I will come up against in this life.  He’s got my back.  That’s encouragement. 

Charged to walk worthy- There is that old saying that we need to uphold our family’s good name.  The same goes for a child of God.  We need to walk upright as a child of the king.  The world is watching.  What does it say about our belief when we let life beat us down and act as if we have no hope?  Our very lives should point people to Christ.  We are to bring honor to His name.  We have amazing stories to tell of changed lives.  My own life is an example of that.  I never would have thought God would let me lead a ministry.  I have stumbled and bumbled through parts of my life.  He just waited patiently for me to come back and participate in an amazing life story.  He had my position at New Life picked out for me before I was even born. I was born for this purpose. 
 
I wish my dad could have lived to see me step into this position.  I know he would feel proud of me.  I’m bringing honor to his name also.  I can’t wait to see God face to face someday.  

I want Him to say “well done Julie, you walked worthy.”  Lord hasten the day.

Julie
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