Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real...LENT

We have lived in Juneau, Alaska for six years.

We were blessed to receive back to back tours in a place with gorgeous mountains, awesome glaciers and an abundance of water. We were and still are blessed to have a family of friends in Juneau hand picked by the Holy Spirit. Our Advocate.

But as much as we want to stay, the Coast Guard says it is time to go.

I keep crying because I will miss it. I keep crying out of joy that it happened. All of it. The three babies we had here, the home we made, the abiding all happened.

The change is that I came to Juneau a different woman than I am now. I am now a mother who knows that the best company she can possibly ask for...they are coming with Yorktown, Virginia.

In all of the change that will happen from now until we transfer ACROSS THE COUNTRY this summer, I am so deeply grateful for this Church.

As the change happens around me, the Church has her big mantel, her gentle rhythm is Ash Wednesday again. I know...just like last year. Yes, ashes again Stephanie, I am here. I don't change. 


I start to tear up again and I bury my hands in my face and Mother Church pulls me into her lap...I have altars all over the world and Tabernacles. There will be a Fat Tuesday in Virginia, Stephanie. I promise...these feasts are yours, these seasons are yours...I give them to you to have in your home wherever you are.


But Mother Church, I have such good FRIENDS in this Juneau community. Women who have cared for me as if I was their own daughter, loved me as if I was their own sister. I can be myself around them, be real.

She strokes my hair...I know...(grabbing my face in her hands and looking me in the eyes) and you will not replace them, only add to them. Can you trust me? Come to worship and you will have new sisters who will worship beside you. Yes...the type of women you can admit to bringing Halloween cake box cookies with Christmas Hershey kisses on them to a Mardi Gras party. I know you my child.


I feel myself wanting to throw a fit.
I feel the stress of change. The anticipation of makes my throat tighten and my eyes hot.
Mother Church kneels down beside me and gives me a long hug, a we don't have to let go ever hug...and she whispers in my ear...I give you my word. You will be singing songs of praise.

All this is a blessing...I know it is hard to see now..,but you just keep holding my hand, keep walking this journey with me.

Thank you for stopping by...see here for more PHFR.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

How Do I Get Switchfoot to Read This Post?

Dear Switchfoot,

Yes. I am writing a post to a band (for those of you who may not know them...this band is a bunch of surfing dads from San Diego who love Jesus). So I have to write because, well...I have a message of thanks for them. I am so low tech...I wouldn't even know how to do this on Instagram or Twitter or YouTube...because I haven't the time to learn because I have five of these...

The boy just turned three.

Doesn't  everyone sister...or in my husband is your biggest fan?

Look at him so happy with his candles and new Switchfoot shirt...
A little about my husband, Justin. He is actually my sixth kid. Very young at heart...he is a fun dad.

So Switchfoot, our family blasts your songs all the time in our home. When the kids need to rough house to get out the wiggles or when we have to clean for guests 15 minutes before they arrive, you can be sure a good Switchfoot song will be on. It isn't MY idea, I mean don't get me wrong...I'm a fan...but Justin is ALWAYS...."I want you to listen to this" or "Steph listen to these lyrics." Blast.
 I have to be all...ooohhh I get it...yes, this is great...or...what's "vice verses" mean? I corrected him once he kept murmuring something like..."upchuck it looks like rain" and I said, "Justin! Quit saying upchuck its TUT TUT it looks like rain...Winnie-the-Pooh Justin."
We live in Juneau, AK....Justin was so pumped you love southeast Alaska...something about a picture on Instagram (remember, I don't do Instagram). It is so beautiful here.
We love Jesus. Justin loves to rock out to your songs as an expression of his love for the Good Shepherd.
And our kids...they really do love your music too.

Our eldest daughter drew this for Justin as a St Valentine's present...only a few minor misspells

We have family movie nights watching concerts we find on YouTube or your Fading West dvd that came in the book Justin got for Christmas that he ordered for himself because I wasn't sure what I was doing.

Justin almost brought them to the concert you played in Maryland (or Maybe Virginia?) last March. We had just flown across the country and he got in our rental mini van two hours after getting to the east coast to drive another two hours and see your show with his brother. It was too much with a four hour time zone change with the kids and a long drive to the show...but Justin wouldn't have MISSED it.

So...thanking you...I'm going to be grateful to you now...because my husband is in the Coast Guard...

And he is the commanding officer of this...

CGC Liberty
A command tour can be pretty stressful with a crew and a family depending on you. There are so many times when the responsibility can feel so great. It has been a rollercoaster of a tour for him...let's just say, the feeling comes to him in waves. ;) I have seen him remain faithful in the storms. He cares so much for his crewmembers and he loves being on the water. I can honestly say he has tremendous respect for his position and therefore has a great humility about who he is in this particular position.

There has been doubt. There have been some lows. We wondered if the Coast Guard was the right place for our family. This past fall as we awaited the arrival of our fifth child, Justin discovered some of your unreleased songs (Ep?). I remember being in front of the stove cooking...ummm...something for my family to eat...and Justin did his usual..."Stephanie, you won't believe this song I discovered."

Stir whatever is in the frying pan.

Stir stir. "Oh? Uh huh, that's nice honey."

"Stephanie, the song is Liberty. Listen."

I sobbed in the kitchen that night like a big (well...8 months pregnant big) baby. Sobbed with tears of joy listening to that song.

I couldn't believe that God used your music to affirm my husband 
on his journey on the CGC Liberty.

To let him a way so particular, so unique...that he was on the right path. That Liberty was part of his journey Home.

My kids play that song now when he is underway if they start to miss him.


So, I keep saying..."Justin! We need to let them know, how cool it is that the CO of the Liberty is a HUGE Switchfoot fan!! AHHHHHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhfrhdgkjhdfjkghjkfhgkjh!  They will think it is so cool! What would you want to say to them!?!?"

(I am the extrovert and he is the introvert).

"Oh, I don't know. I would want them to know that I love what they're doing with their music. That it means something to me."

So...there you have it Switchfoot. Thank you. WE love what you're doing with your music. It means something to US.

Justin is underway right now somewhere in Southeast Alaska, possibly enjoying the northern lights, possibly listening to your music if he is in his room wrapping up the work day on the Liberty. Say a prayer for him and all the crew of the Liberty that they stay safe out there!

The Coast Guard is in the saving lives business which to me is pretty much what your music has done for many people.

God Bless You.


P.S. - There is apparently some surfing in parts of Alaska.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real - February

I was a little whiney in my last PHFR in January because we were snowless. All the pictures of New England snow I see floating around make me so envious! Forecast said we should get some snow showers these next few days...pleeaaasseee! I will admit that last week we got a few inches, enough to ski. I have been doing my best to get the kids out everyday in this awesome Alaskan beauty...

The littles were so happy to have enough snow to build this guy...
Happiness is also being warm and snug against mommy...I have a great technique for getting the carrier off to keep her sleeping in her little vibrating chair. Maybe I will do a future tutorial post!

I'm not sure if you can see the older girls laughing, but this is the start our race around the fee station loop in the campground. My three year old's face is SO serious. He has a little competitive streak in him. We couldn't help laughing. I feel so blessed God gave us SUCH a very boy boy.

This is our front door entry...aka...hat, boot, coat, gloves...section?

Thanks for stopping by! Check out Rosie's post for more PHFR! xxoo