Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"7" things I hate about you...

1.  YOU'RE challenging me.  2.  you're. challenging. me.  3.  You're KILLING a part of me, making me die.  4.  You're changing me.  5-7. you're challenging ME!

However, those are all the things I love so far about the book 7 by Jen Hatmaker.  It's a total vacillating kind of relationship - me and this book.  "I hate you, this is stupid, but I want more because this is so good for me."

Premise of the book:   Jen, an affluent pastor's wife in TX is rocked by the Holy Spirit when confronted with 7 areas of her life.  She is an all or nothing kind of gal, so to experience the feelings and somewhat lifestyle of the marginalized (whom they are now in community with) she takes 7 areas of her life, one per month, and totally lives radically.  For example on the clothes month, she only wore 7 items, for food month - only ate 7 foods, etc.  It's her journal of what God does with her and her family and the  journey they take to become poor in wealth.

I have a dear friend who is leading our bookclub through this book and to see woman who live in Orange County be challenged in radical ways is so powerful.  We take 1 chapter a week, we come and discuss, and we fast the following week.  My prayer for this book journey is that God gives FREEDOM and that we see clearly our idols and areas that have strongholds on us.  We are not quite 1/2 way through, but I'd love to share some thoughts with you on how this has affected our family.  I will just do one post per chapter, otherwise you'll be reading til next week! 

Food:  *disclaimer, we're processing still over here at the Gibbs house and love this journey and frankly - aren't asking for any input in this area yet.  Please let us struggle and love us where we're at.  This one is a biggie for my family.  I think we eat relatively healthy.  However, we have a ton of slip ups - and lets be honest, I'm 20lbs more now than I was on my wedding day.  For the food week's fast, we didn't do anything radical like some of my friends did, but what we did do was educate ourselves on what we are putting in our bodies.  As I was reading the chapter, questions began to pop in my head.  Ones that have before, but this time I wanted to give them space to sit and percolate and give validity to them - because after all, they are MY questions that obviously my subconscious wants to know about. ;)
     Did God create us to eat meat?  In Genesis He told Adam and Eve to eat from any tree except the "one." I don't think he said, see that lamb over there, kill it and eat it in the Garden of Eden.  And I know that after the fall, people ate meat bc it talks about how you shouldn't eat pork if it causes your brother to stumble, but were they only eating meat because they didn't have enough plant based food?  Is it evolution that has caused our bodies to be able to process meat like it does?  And why was it that when I had cancer I felt the best I'd ever felt when we switched to soley a plant based, whole grain diet? 

When I was diagnosed with cancer in December of 09'  Our doctor had told me to become vegan to slow down the rate of the cancer growth so we did and I felt amazing!  We were originally going to "live" with the cancer and try to slow down the growth naturally and even possibly reverse the tumor size, and this is the route that a few of my doctors suggested.  The vegan diet is what they put terminally ill patients on to give them more "time."  And right then and there should have been enough to make us stay that way forever... why in the world would we not eat a diet that was so good for you (as long as you do it right!!!).  BUT, then there was this beautiful little boy whom we got a call about on Dec 28, 2 weeks after I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid carcinoma, and he needed a mama who was cancer free (or the courts would look favorably on NO cancer) so as fast as we could go, we used medical intervention and cut that sucker out and followed it up with radiation.  And then we went to a country where it is incredibly hard to eat a plant based diet and still get all the nutrients that one needed. (and at this time, I had little to no thyroid hormone in my body, so I needed lots of energy to power through).  And then I just never got back on the bandwagon.  But, during my 10 weeks on the diet, I had so much energy and remembering telling Jesse - I feel SO good, yet I'm sick, but I have never felt this "whole."  In fact, it was hard reversing and coming back to meat... there was a period that I just couldn't digest meat and dairy, I'd throw up, be in severe stomach pain (esp with red meat) but I kept working at it until I could have my tri-tip and milkshake. (hence the extra 20lbs!)

I brought up my "theological" questions to the hubby that's a pastor, and he didn't have the answers.  Little did I know, my lovely meat eating husband was having the same questions, but knowing how granola I am, he knew I would jump at the opportunity to become vegan once again and he wasn't quite sure if he was ready to give up his steak and cheese so he never brought it up.  Kinda don't blame him, a double double is pretty tasty esp with extra cheese.  So, we went to where all good researchers go to... NETFLIX.  And we began watching documentaries.  We totally understand that all documentaries are heavily one sided, however we found one that we thought was pretty fair.  Forks over Knives.  Watch it, tell me what you think.  We know that there are some things they didn't take into consideration... they focused on mass produced meat and dairy and not the cows my great-grandmother raised, milked, and then fed us growing up.  But, we're guilty of not buying free range meat/eggs/dairy, so I felt like they had a good argument for us.

Are we vegan today?  Well, not exactly.  But, we did go shopping and bought no meat.  Yogurt, yes.  We have planned an all vegetarian menu, properly balanced with plenty of protein, for the next week.  However, I am waiting on some results that I get on Thursday, and laughably, we both said - if my cancer is back - out goes all the dairy and meat products along with processed food and sugars.  HAHAHA!!!  Again, why wait for bad news to radically do what's good for one's body?  I guess good is relative. Now, don't think I'm a crazy mama who will never let her kids have cupcakes or hotdogs at a birthday party, but I may be that mom who makes gluten free/ healthier versions of desserts for her kids at home and give them carrot sticks instead of chips for a snack.

My challenge to you:  No, it's not to become vegan. :)  Although if you did, lets swap recipes!  But, to ask yourself, "What am I putting into my body, into my kids' bodies, into my husband's body?  Does it have an affect on our health?"  It never hurts to educate yourself and NO ignorance isn't bliss!  I told Jesse that if he were to die of a heart attack related to how he eats, I'd resuscitate him and kill him again. And friends, don't think I won't resuscitate you just to kill you again if your diet causes you to have a heart attack, or if you overdose on doughnuts.  I love you too much.  


Friday, July 13, 2012

I'm a B*+@!

Alanis Morisette's song rings so close to me, and I think I kinda made it my theme song for a long while, maybe up until today.  But it's kinda written about me, to me, from me.  Just ask Jesse.  Although he'd NEVER call me one, I'm sure the thought may have quickly passed through his brain a time or two or twenty.  I alluded to feeling suffocated in the Midwest growing up, always feeling as though I had to be perfect, which clearly I am - even my blood is A+.  All this to say, I think when I "started a fresh" in CA, it was the perfect time to let it all hang out... Hence the "This is me, take it or leave it baby."
            I’m a b**** I’m a lover, I’m a child I’m a mother, I’m a sinner I’m a saint, I do not feel ashamed.  I’m your hell I’m your dream, I’m nothin’ in between, You know, you wouldn’t want it any other way.
And, although I love being real and raw - a straight shooter, I am beginning to realize that sometimes I can seem or even be selfish.  "I don't want to, so I'm not going to," or "If I have to then I'm going to totally let the whole world know how super duper miserable I am doing it. BOOM.  I bet that's the last time I'll ever be asked to do..."  As my life is being purged at this very moment... (hating and loving the book 7, I'll write another post just on that later), I am beginning to see this selfishness and dare I say, poor attitude that can accompany my personality sometimes.  And, may I even be braver and say, I am beginnin' to think God's going to refine part of this to b*+@!iness into being more like Him which is going to suck and hurt A LOT.

At the new church, the babes learned this stupid new Bible memory verse, "Nobody should seek out his own good, but the good of others.  1 Cor 10:24. (I actually didn't take time to look up the reference or the actual wording, I'm just taking my 3 and 4 year olds' word for the accuracy of the verse - ha!)  Adalee, especially, has been reminding me of this constantly because she is SEEKING out the good of others over her own, and it makes me sick.  "Here Sammy, I think you should pick out the cd tonight because I want to make sure you like it."  "Hey mom, where is my bike?  I think our neighbor would like to ride it instead of me because she doesn't have one."  How old is this 3yr old really??? 

Anyway... I hate the thought of getting to know our neighbors, let alone love them like Jesus asks us to.  I most definitely have NOT sought out their good over mine.  In my defense, I had sucky sucky neighbors who made me and my children cry multiple times daily at our old place.  Have you ever lived by a crazy old woman who HATES children?  I really think she had anger issues and if I would have ever turned my back, I wouldn't have put it past her to hurt one of my kids.  And then we shared walls with a man who abused his wife, physically and emotionally and who blared his music into my kids room 24hours a day and then complained when they cried too loudly at noon (because they were over tired from his blasting music).  So, when we moved (a year ago tomorrow) I made a pact to myself... do not get to know your neighbors, keep to yourself, being a good neighbor means minding your own dang business and not getting in the middle of any domestic disputes.  "Love my neighbor" could just mean waving hi to them and being polite if they asked to borrow an egg.  Yeah, not so much.  Over the last month, the annoying voice Holy Spirit has been giving me opportunities left and right to love my neighbor, to be Christ to them, to show their kids God's love.  And I have literally kept saying, "NO - not now, I've got 3 kids, I'm tired, my time is precious, I need to see which guy Emily gave the boot to, I need to see how many likes my picture of Sophia playing in the sink got, etc."  And then today happened. 

"Mom, you keep saying that we can play with our neighbors only if you're outside with us, can't you please come... don't you want us to share God's love with them?  How can we if you don't let us play with them?" This coming from my 4yr boy.  Our neighbors are a little rough around the edges... 7, 8, and 11 and they use the F bomb a LOT and don't exactly withhold their body strength when wrestling w/ my 4yr boy.  Not to mention, sometimes chase him w/a bat (all out of fun, really) saying, I'm going to beat you up.  So, yes - supervision is needed.  Our neighbors' parents don't speak English so it's a little hard to have the "make your kids behave or I'm going to slap them" conversation.  So today, after I was guilted into loving my neighbor (way to go Jesus, use a 4yr old to get to me), we walked over to Ruben, Ruby, and Issi's house and asked if they could come play. 

Those kids' eyes lit up, they were so excited at the invite.  They quickly ran outside and immediately there was laughter and organized chaos in our backyard.  After an hour, we were all pretty sweaty.  It was humid and hot here today (not the normal, we're spoiled I know).  The sweating and panting kids - all 5 of them begged to come inside. I was thinking... Inside? hell no... I did my part by letting the kids come over in the first place.  I think that's enough "love my neighbor" as I can handle today.  But somehow the Holy Spirit grabbed a hold of my tongue and said, "Sure, but the baby's asleep, so lets just play games together. WTH games??? Seriously Holy Spirit??  This means I have to sit down and play with them because my little kids will need help and they might not know our family rules, boo hoo me!! Literally I was kicking my feet inside my head.  I wanted no part of this.  But here we were.  We sat down to play Chutes and Ladders, a fav at our home.  You spin the wheel which lands on 1,2,3,4 and that tells you how many spaces to move.  There are a hundred numbered squares on the board and you just follow the numbers, in numerical order until you reach the top.  If you land on a square w/ a ladder, you get to climb up to the higher numbers, if you land on a chute, then down you go to lower numbers.  Simple, right?  My 3 and 4 year old can do it w/o supervision.  But no, the 7,8,and 11yr old couldn't.  They didn't know how to count 4 spaces over or which numbers were higher.  Does it go 28, 29, 30 or the other way? (Granted the 11yr old has some special needs and is more on an 8yr old level - but still).  Immediately I had to choke back tears.  I had to literally excuse myself to the bathroom and I wept.  How Lord can I be so unloving, so unwilling?  How did it take me this long to open my hearts to them?  This broke my heart.  I am so convicted.  I'm a teacher... I AM A TEACHER!  Of course. I. am. a. teacher. Okay, God.  I have all the knowledge, resources, and passion to help kids learn.  Why didn't I know they needed help?  Oh, because I'm so selfish and not seeking the good of others over mine?  Sigh.  Then a big picture kind of question popped in my mind..."Could you want to do more with me than just use me to tutor these kids?  Could you want to love on them through me?  Do they even know you?  Is their kids' education, or lack of understanding their education, their biggest need?"

Neighbors aren't just families who live in close proximity to us, but they are people who have needs.  Will we ever really get to know our neighbors well enough though to find out those needs??  If we are supposed to be missional in our communities, then I think we gotta do the uncomfortable and bake some cookies and go knocking on doors.  My thought isn't even "SHOOT" after that swift kick in the booty, but now a, "Lord, forgive me for not doing this sooner.  Please redeem the lost time... the time I could have known them but chose not to.  Help me not get stuck in the past and the whatifs, but show me your grace so I can try tomorrow."  Life is messy for me, for my family.  But it is also mesy for my neighbor whom I haven't met but KNOW they just brought home their first baby girl last week, for our neighbors who yell at each other at 1a.m. in the middle of our alley, for our neighbors whose kids are getting left behind at school, and for our neighbors whom I know absolutely nothing about, except they have a little girl the exact same age as Adalee and we've never had a playdate.

Do you know your neighbors?  Could God be stirring up something in you?  Could He want to use you in their life to be His hands and feet to them?  Could he want to use THEM to change your heart, to bless you?  In the book Mark, Mark says to "Love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind" (which I suck at).  He also says, "Love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no commandment greater than these." Mark 12:30-31  The two greatest commandments in the Bible and I suck at both of them.  But now, I at least have a desire to not suck at them as bad. 

My prayer for you is that you find grace from Jesus in what you have not done, and courage in Jesus to do what He leads you to, and for self control to not eat all the cookies that you bake your neighbors this weekend... you in it with me?  Want to bake this coming week and take some yummies to the neighbors?  I'm in.  I hope God uses our kind gesture to open up a line of communication.  So often I find myself getting sucked into this OC mentality and then wanting to totally rebel by running away from it all - lets move to Ghana (my heart's home) but then again, I think I'll probably have neighbors there too.  So, I should practice Mark 12 until God moves me.

Please let me know if you go and meet your neighbors.  I'd love to be encouraged by your stories.

x, b


Monday, July 9, 2012

Part 2, My thoughts on the "other woman."

Oh dear.  I'm now trying to be careful of every word written down because I just received my first comment from a reader who I personally don't know, yikes.... what is she going to think if I say this, or that... shoot, what if my parents are reading, my in-laws. ACKKK... in my last post I said Jes has a fine booty and the s word.  But, haha... reality... this is who I am, perfectly imperfect.  And, I made a promise to myself that I would be raw and honest and try to have no filter, although filtering might be nice sometimes...Sorry folks, thank you for embracing me.  And, how humbling knowing that more than my bff is reading this.  Sip of wine... let's continue.

A little background, our home church has this brilliant philosophy that they rediscovered from the early church called "missional communities."  With the thought that one should attend church in their physical community, do life with their neighbors, and serve to meet the needs of those in their neighborhoods.  We love this way of thinking as a couple.  Well, with that said, there was a church replant that came out of our home church which is within walking distance from our home.  So when Jes and I considered visiting another church, this one stuck out in our minds as a no-brainer to try.

Okay, I cried like a baby before I got out of the car, we all know that I can sometimes be overly emotional. But once I made the leap and actually got out, I saw this car and anyone who really knows me, knows that I would die to have this.  Although Trooper, the name of the owner, had a vw version that was a 1977 model.  Yes, Trooper.  And seriously folks, that is who I needed to see.  I am a hippie to the core, granola loving snob who makes her own laundry soap - so it was refreshing to see one of "my kind" there with NO SHOES!! 

There are just some things that come with being at a mega church, and one is a polished worship set.  I have so many distractions in my own head that I LOVED not being distracted by someone off beat or out of tune... to me, when I worship at my home church, it automatically takes me to this far off land where it is just my Jesus and me (yes, very narcissistic, but sometimes I need to be loved on by Jesus and need to give him my love and heart and during worship at my home church, is the easiest place for me to reconnect with my Savior).  So, I was nervous going to a church where there are only 4 people on staff and 100 people max at the 1 service that meets at an alternative high school.  Selfishly praying, Lord, worship is where I KNOW I will meet you, please meet me and help me not focus on the unpolished worship.  Help me not resent not being at my home.  Essentially thinking, if the music isn't good, I'm not staying.  (YES, I get it - totally self-centered, but people... just hold your horses.)

We drop the kids off to their classrooms and Jes and I walk in.  I have massive ADD, so I'm not going to hear one word if I'm not sitting up front and J knows this... however, I really wanted to sit in the back today, I didn't want to be noticed.  But no, Jes marches right up front and sits right behind the pastor.  So, I have NO idea what is practiced for worship, do you raise your hands?  Do you close your eyes?  Do you stand/sit... who the heck knows because I'm sitting right up front and can't really turn around without everyone looking at me.  Wow, okay.  Already I'm uncomfortable.  J sees communion set out, so he's already stoked; something our home church practices, but not every week together.  However, if J had it his way, we'd take it every day together, not just every week.  So I was happy for him then.  The music starts, I just stand, in silence, eyes closed and pray.  I'm so uncomfortable.  And I hear a whisper, "Can you still worship me?"  I don't answer, just stand.  I don't even know the answer to that.  I look, I hear the music, not in perfect rhythm, not in perfect tune, actually, quite perfectly imperfect.  As service goes on, I'm captivated by every word the pastor says... it's like he's talking to just me, well, because he kinda is.  It feels like we're having a conversation in a coffee shop.  He walks us through John 18.  I didn't realize how much I missed going through a chapter of the bible.  Oh, it was so sweet.  And communion time came.  What you may not know about Jesse and I is that we hold very tightly to the sacraments of baptism and communion - we believe in infant/child baptism and know that something divine takes place in both sacraments, they are not just a symbol, but much more (for another post, another day).  It's been a challenge to be at a home where the majority of people there don't share in that same belief, respect our belief - absolutely, but that's different.  When Phil, the pastor spoke about communion, he caught us off guard because he spoke what we believe the truth is about communion.  How refreshing.  I got a glimpse of one of God's babies... a little, healthy plant that is seeking out his sunshine and I began to get excited.  I felt myself begin to let go and worship my God for the sheer opportunity of getting to.  What an amazing site to see, to witness, his beauty.  His beauty sure does come in all shapes and sizes, and in the most unexpected places sometimes.  I feel like maybe God wants to challenge me in meeting with him.  It is so easy to be drawn into a beautiful, reflective worship set.  I love that.  It's easy, it's yummy, it's like someone spoon feeding me dessert.  But here I felt like Jesus was saying, "Brandi, you're not going to get your whole meal here at this worship set.  I get to now teach you what it is like to worship me without the big training wheels.  This might require you putting forth some effort to prusue me, like cracking open that Bible of yours so I can speak to you, or pulling out your journal so you can write to me and see how I'm really here with you.  I might ask you to sit and be still and know that I am your God throughout the week, not just during a magical worship set."

After the service was over, the people were so friendly, I totally felt like the new kid, but people made us feel welcomed.  We actually knew quite a few people who attended there that we hadn't connected with in a long time.  Jes and I made a 6 week commitment to this community to learn about this community, to get to know this community, to seek out relationships there.  I can't think about where we will be at the end of 6 weeks, that's too burdensome for me right now, but I can think about Sunday.  I am finally at a place in my life where I am beginning to enjoy the journey.  I used to be, "God, just tell me where I'm going to end up and I'll deal with the car ride there." But not knowing, is kinda fun. 

Wow, if you would have heard the conversations that were happening not even a year ago b/t hubs and I.  "I don't care where you end up being a pastor at, just don't ask me and the kids to come with you if it's not our home church.  I mean, I'll go, but my home church will be where I really worship at.  I'll just come to support you."  See, I've come a long way.  God never ceases to crack me up.

x, b

Sunday, July 8, 2012

a not so secret affair

Confession: I'm having an affair.  I pull up this morning, to a home that is not my own and tears fill my eyes.  I feel like I'm not being loyal, like I'm going behind my family's back.  All these emotions inside of me, I literally feel nauseous, I think I'm going to puke.  I feel a hand on my thigh, a sweet kiss on my cheek, and a soft whisper in my ear... "We don't have to do this if you don't want to, but babe, we're only visiting another church." 

Clearly, you don't know my husband if you think I'd ever cheat on that stud... it don't get any better than that piece of ass his handsome charm and sweet, caring heart.  But truly, the above is an account of what really happened this morning. 

*DISCLAIMER, I LOVE MY HOME CHURCH!!!!  And I think that is why I felt so disloyal this morning.  I had to struggle and am still processing what it means when I feel "disloyal" in this context.  Who does my loyalty belong to?  I KNOW it's not a sin visiting other churches and my home church sends its staff on sabbaticals and tells them NOT TO COME TO OUR CHURCH, but be refreshed by other churches and big C church.  But you don't understand, I L.O.V.E. my church, my community.  I've been there for 10 years, faithfully serving, praying, and for a short time working there.  I literally don't have 1 friend in my closet circle that I didn't meet at my home church.  I grew, I met Jesus there.  I was baptized into Christ as a child, raised in the faith, believed in Jesus, but I encountered the living God in a way that I never knew existed... He LOVED me despite all my crap, my sin, my shortcomings.  Maybe it's because I grew up in the belt buckle of the Bible Belt, but it was NOT okay to sin... and if you did, you were a horrible Christian.  It wasn't a safe place to struggle with anything (or at least I felt that way).  But at my home church, I learned that Jesus walks with me through my struggle and I didn't have to get my sh*t together before I came to him.  He took the nasty and made it white, He is molding me, growing me, and pursuing me in ways I wasn't open to before, because I didn't think I was worthy.  My church has been through the most difficult times of my life with me, when our first year of marriage sucked and I wanted to give up had its little trials, when we thought our daughter may be born only to die, when our son was "stuck" in Ghana, when I had cancer, when we had "lost" our little Sophia for 2 hours after she was born (our birthmom had a change of heart for 2 hours at the hospital after her birth)... we had hundreds of people stop and pray, carry our burdens with us, cry in relief when God met us.  This place is my home, aside from our little 3 bedroom, our church is my home.  But that's just it, it is MY home and my husband has never really felt like he completely belonged. 

He'll tell you he loves our church, loves our community, loves our pastors.  Some of his best friends, he met there.  He won't say 1 negative thing about it.  He is just unsure if it's his home.  Unsure where he sees himself in our 5000ish person church.  He's so close to the finish line of school we can almost see the light.  However, man I'd be pissed if Jesus came back the day he finished school... seriously, WTH - why not 7 yrs before!!!  Anyhoo... I'm sure I'll be singing his praises and forgetting how much we've stinkin' sacrificed for Jes to become a professional Christian just for Jesus to come back.  Wow, selfish much... where was I, oh yes... with J finishing school so soon, he's looking at where God might have him, thinking about what kind of role fits his gifting and which don't.  J is a huge visionary, totally plans years before things happen, knows what he's doing tomorrow even for lunch...hahaha...APRIL FOOLS!!  NO, J is the farthest thing from visionary or strategist as you can get.  Event driven church, we love - we're at one, it's totally brought us to where we are - but for J to work at a church where the valued staff is all visionaries who empower the lay people to care for, to shepherd people, to love on the flock - maybe not a good fit for J??  If you have ever had a conversation with Jesse, you probably thought 1 of 3 things the next time you saw him, 1) is he going to make me talk about my feelings again???? or 2) I CAN'T wait to sit and talk with him, he hears me, he gets me, he challenges me, he cares about me or 3) wow, he's so hot and I probably shouldn't talk to him again because he's Brandi's man.

Um...time out, if you're reading this still...praise to you.  This is so frickin' long...

Long story short... Jesse is a shepherd, he's a pastor of people, he cares for his flock and he's unsure where he fits in a mega church who delegates that task to lay people (which hear me when I say, NOTHING IS WRONG WITH THAT MODEL, but is it the right fit for Jesse?)  So we are exploring churches where Jesse's gifting could possibly be utilized more, one that hopefully we can get plugged into and that he can maybe do a 9mo internship at if in the end Jesse doesn't feel our home church is best suited for his giftings, hence the "affair" today. (awkard sentence, I know, but it's 11p).

You will have to come back tomorrow for my reflections on today.  (man, because I'm tired of writing and I'll do it injustice to sum it up while I'm this tired.  But it was good, I thought we were going there for Jesse, but I think God had something else in mind.)  I'm definitely being pruned, and it hurts, but I will leave you with this profound image Jesse had today (which I'll totally botch)...

"There is an unrecognizable shape that resembles something that used to be human which is covered in this hard, rocky shell.  But God is diligent in picking away at it and when a piece falls off, you can see this vibrant, new, green life trying to push its way through.  And that is beautiful."  I challenge you to ask along with me, "Lord, what is it that you want to chip away today so that your beauty can shine?  What is your beauty today in me?"

x, b

Friday, July 6, 2012

let us start, yet once again...

Hi.  I'm Brandi, and I am trying to be a recovering "task not finisher" person.  YES, I suffer, WAIT, my husband suffers w/ my ADD.  I'm pretty darn good at having great ideas, not so great at finishing them all, hence the blog that hasn't been kept up with.  So, as you have noticed, I haven't written in almost 2 years because frankly, I've had SO much on my plate - mostly great stuff, but the blog was not a priority, so it fell by the waste side.  The blog used to be about our journey in bringing our sweet little boy, Sammy, home from Ghana and our journey that lead up to his homecoming... oh wait, I was a first time mom who had an 18month old girl (or somewhere around that age) and I was so that mom that thought life was SO hard w/ one kid - I'm laughing at myself out loud right now, because moms of multiple kids knows how so sweet and easy it is with just one, I was also trying to deal with my heart which was in Ghana at the time with my boy longing to be with him and worrying about him every moment, and I had this little thing called cancer (I'm all good now!) and lets just say, I sucked at juggling.  But, here I am.  And I want to start again.

Lets recap:  I'm Brandi, mom of 3: Sammy, 4yrs, Adalee 3yrs (really only 4mo younger than Sammy), and Sophia, 7mo.  We have 3 kids from 3 different vehicles: birth, international adoption, and domestic adoption.  We've been through the ringer with a gamete of emotions with all of the homecoming of our kiddos and know the heartache and joy of each experience.  I am so lucky to be a stay at home mom- however, by NO MEANS am I a homemaker - unless you consider making my home messy with crafts, sewing, art, kid books, toys, lots of kids, laundry, etc.  And, I'm married to the hottest, most sexy man on the planet, who is my biggest supporter, encourager,the best husband/friend, and daddy anyone could ask for, Jesse.  Oh, and he is a pastor, which makes me a pastor's wife - YIKES.  Don't judge me, you know you are, because I kinda am.

Lately, I have been feeling a stirring inside that there is MORE; more to me, more to this life, more to God than I have experienced.  I am feeling like God is getting ready to revamp me (maybe bc of the aforementioned)  I have an idea as to what He might do and I am thinking that there is going to be a LOT of pruning in these next few months... so, what do you say - want to sit back, totally stalk our lives, laugh at my stupidity, smile at my cute kids, cry with me as I discover what this more is?