Thanksgiving all Pilgrim and Fajita Style

From the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, the definition of thanksgiving (not the holiday) is:  1.  the act of giving thanks  2.  a prayer expressing gratitude  3.  a public acknowledgment or celebration of divine goodness

And pilgrim is:  1.  one who journeys in foreign lands :  wayfarer  2.  one who travels to a shrine or holy place as a devotee  3. capitalized  :  one of the English colonists settling at Plymouth in 1620

And, therefore, today as we celebrate capital THANKSGIVING, we do it as pilgrims full of thanksgiving.  Ones that have journeyed to a foreign land and participated in the act/prayer/public acknowledgement of God’s divine goodness in our lives.  

But, because we live in a foreign country and are a bit on the side of rebels anyway, we decided to be Pilgrims all Fajita style!

We hope your day of family and giving thanks was fantastically wonderful!

Thanks for joining our crazy,

B and R and our gang of rebel Pilgrims…Enjoying life fajita-style

*Only cows and chickens suffered at the hands of our meal.  All turkeys were spared*

A Psalm of Thanksgiving.

1 Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! 2 Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. 3 Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.  4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. 5 For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.  Psalm 100 (NKJV)

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brookieandrichie

Caution. Don’t eat raw chicken—even for a man!

“I will do anything for love…”

Richard and I had barely started dating the month before.  So, to this point, our relationship included awkward conversations, competitive tennis matches, fumbling kisses, basketball games of P-I-G, and getting to know one another.

And then that big red day hit—Valentine’s!

My husband is a total romantic.  How he ever asked out such a tomboy, I’ll never fully understand.  Perhaps I once did my hair?  And my makeup?  Perhaps I once DIDN’T wear sweats?  Who knows.  It’s all foggy to me.

Due to his romantic nature, I should have expected him to do something phenomenal for Cupid’s Day.

And he did.

A beautiful setting, under a gazebo, near a small creek.  Flowers.  Balloons.  Rich in a suit.  China place settings.  And raw chicken?

Raw chicken?!

A million thoughts were swirling through my mind.

First and foremost—oh no!

You see, my husband’s family is full of mega-watt healthy eaters.  Like Raw Foodists (not nudists), Vegans, Vegetarians (are there any more categories?).

Yes.  I know chickens are not vegetables.  But I didn’t know if eating “Raw” chicken was a new way to “Go Green” (on your plate).  You see, I am a meat and potatoes (meaning—hamburger and french fries with an XL Coke, please) type of gal.  And I really evaluated, mentally,  “How much do I like this guy?  Enough to eat one small piece of raw chicken?”

Seriously…Eating raw chicken literally crossed my mind.

Crazy?

Perhaps in love???

Back to the chicken.

So, as my “date” was serving up the food—all of it raw vegetables (again—family of raw food eaters), he got to the chicken. That’s when he asked, “How much chicken do you want?”

And I gulped, said a silent prayer, and also made a mental note to myself, “Remember, Brooke, if you get salmonella poisoning, let the ER know immediately that you ate raw chicken…All for a man.”

Then I looked up into his green and sparkling eyes, his bright and beautiful smile, and I said it, “One, please?!”

Slip.  Slide.  Raw chicken meat now on my plate.

Gulp.  Sigh.

“I will do anything for love…???”

He sat down across from me—so happy and proud.  And we held hands while he prayed.

Well, at least I think he was praying because I was busy in my own mind hollering, “Dear Lord God—save me from salmonella.  I know I am foolish to eat raw chicken, but I REALLY like this guy.  He went to all of this work for this beautiful Valentine’s dinner.  SAVE ME, LORD!”

I think I heard an “Amen”.  So I looked up and smiled sweetly (probably batting a few eyelashes as well).

Where do I start?  Perhaps I can nibble on a raw carrot while I see HOW he eats his chicken?  Perhaps I can eat all of my raw veggies, requesting more, and then “filling” up on raw veggies and discreetly toss my raw chicken over my shoulder when he isn’t looking?  Perhaps I can…

Wait.  What’s that?  What is he doing…

He’s pulling out a lighter.

He just lit something on fire.

And then I noticed something on the table that SHOULD HAVE been quite obvious before.

A fondue pot.

Slap my head and call me insane.  I was about to eat raw chicken.  For a man.  On Valentine’s Day.

I remember being in a Tom Sawyer play as a 5th grader, and one of Tom’s lines was, “I’ve been such a fool, Becky.  Such a fool.”

Well, I think that I can officially rephrase those lines today, “I was nearly such a fool, World.  Such a fool!”

A fool for love…

“I would do anything for love…even eat raw meat!”

And fly in small tarp planes with new pilots.

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Crazy Brooke!  Keeping it real…for love.

xo for your big red day of love,

b

***

Picture is Richard as a new pilot prepared to fly Brooke, the reluctant passenger, in the Piper Super Cub.  Anything for love?! 

Prayer. It’s not a magical potion.

Teaching our children about prayer, while living it in our own lives.

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Praying…we’re to pray without ceasing.  But sometimes we find that “ceaseless” prayer a hassle.  After all, we have to stop.  Close our eyes.  Bow our head.  And wait for commotion to cease around us.

Nope.  Not at all.  Truly, that’s not the case.

Prayer is a beautiful thing.

Praying is what gave us our Baby Sam.

And prayer is what saved our baby, Maxwell.

Prayer is not magic.  It’s not a guarantee that all will be “right” according to our standards.  And prayer definitely does not work “our way”.

Bummer?  Well, it depends on your perspective.

God is very specific about how we should pray.

One…We should come before Him.  And that’s a Him with a capital H.

Two…We should present our praises and petitions to Him.

Three…We should acknowledge what it is that we have done wrong in our lives.

Wait.  Right there.  That’s why I don’t pray.  I don’t want to keep acknowledging over and over and over and over (you get the idea) all of my wrongs.

Well, why not?  Because you don’t want to admit you were wrong?  Or you don’t want to change what you are doing that IS wrong?

If it’s either of the above cases, it’s a heart issue, my friends.  A heart issue.  Not a prayer issue.

Back to prayer…

And we are to pray the prayer that never fails…”God, thy will be done…”

You see.  It’s okay, great, fantastic, superb to go specifically before God with specific requests and specific hopes for your lives…

My daughter did for 3 years before God gave our Baby Sam to us (and took him home before we got to meet him here on earth)…

And as much as she prayed with all of her heart for a baby brother, and we thought our little baby was a miraculous answer to that prayer, we did not get to keep our baby.

Hearts were broken.  Lives changed.

BUT…

And this is where we see God’s hand at work.   If we had NEVER been given Sam, we would have never thought to try for Maxwell.

You see, it’s because God gave us Sam that hope was renewed in our hearts that perhaps…just maybe…we could have another.

And a year after our loss, 10 years into our marriage, and approaching our 36th year of life, we found ourselves for the first time ever at a clinic for a consult with a doctor.

And it was there that the doctor said to me in very broken English, “You see your right ovary there?”

“Yes…”

“Well, you will ovulate in 3 days.  Go home.  I should not see you again.”

And, 8 months later (because he came early), we had Maxwell.

Had God not given us Sam, we would have never ever thought to try for Maxwell…And today we wait (each day because I’m as baked as a Thanksgiving turkey) for Josephine.

All because my daughter prayed.  And prayed.  And prayed.  And she prayed ceaselessly.

Everything was not beautiful.  Baby Sam never made an entrance into this world alive.  Maxwell nearly died.  And Josephine wanted to come at 31 weeks.

But because everything was not beautiful, because there was heartbreak, because there was the feeling of complete hopelessness…we felt God.

We relied on Him.

We leaned on Him.

And we learned from Him.

We were students of “Thy will be done…”

Through Adelyne, we learned that it’s okay to present the “impossible” requests to God…such as asking for a brother or sister.

Through Sam, we learned that in utter darkness God is still there.

Through Maxwell, we learned to believe in miracles!  We learned that when God is prompting you to pray, to be faithful.  To pray.

My sister-in-law, Jennifer, was woken up at 3am one night when Maxwell was at the stage of his life in ICU when no one knew if he was going to live or die.  At 3am in Arizona, it was 12 noon in Poland.  This is very important to realize the time…

Because it was at that exact moment that she was woken up with the prompting to pray for Maxwell that Maxwell’s life was hanging in peril.  That he was bagged and the doctor had to be found.

And for an eternity no one knew what the outcome would be…Richard and I stood in the hallway crying out to God while my sister-in-law on the other side of the world was crying out to God.

And although it seemed like an eternity, the doctor finally made it to him and got his little life stable again.

Jennifer had no clue what was happening when she was awoken in the middle of the night.  And yet she obediently honored God’s prompting and began to pray for our baby.

Praying teaches great faith.  Faith that we are to go to God.

Prayer.  Every day before Adelyne leaves for school, I envelop her in my arms and together we cuddle, and this is what I say, “Dear Jesus, please be with Adelyne today.  May she be respectful and kind.  May she have listening ears and a spirit to help others.  May she be a shining example for you.   Amen.”

And every day my daughter awaits that moment, even though it’s the same prayer.

And every day I am reminded that my daughter enters her days knowing that she is loved and there is a God she can go before.

And throughout the day, whether it’s a silent or crazy day.  Whether I’m clean or a mess.  Whether I feel good or like crap…I pray.

I pray for my children, my family, those we meet, hearts that are broken, lives that are a mess, for those that need healing…

I pray—and my greatest prayer is always that through the moments in life that we all face, we come to know Him.

Because, yes, at times life is unbelievably painful—but with God survival is possible.

Prayer.  It’s not a magical potion—it’s so much more than that.

Prayer.  It’s a beautiful connection.

My Nose Ring was NOT a Good Idea…And we got a puppy.

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(c. photo Hel Ka Photography)

Have you ever tried to compensate for something missing in your life?  For example, when Richard and I were struggling through infertility, I got a rabbit. This rabbit ruled the roost.  Literally.  I let this rabbit, named Sylvester, run wild.  It had free reign of our home…Of our balcony…Of our couch cushions—which it gnawed to smithereens…Of our electrical cords—which in turn had their revenge on Sylvester-shocking him 4 feet off the ground (Don’t worry—no bunny was hurt in that revenge.  Well, maybe temporarily).  This rabbit was my compensation for no children. When Adelyne arrived in our lives, rainbows abounded, the sun sang to us with its rays, birds chirped melodious tunes.  Life was so complete.  Life was so beautiful.  Life was richer than we had ever imagined. And Richard and I were completely content.  For nearly 5 glorious years of Adelyne’s life, we had more joy in our souls and family than imaginable. We had no idea, however, that life could get grander than Adelyne…That is, until we experienced Sam. When I first thought I was pregnant, neither my husband nor I believed it.  But after I saw two little pink stripes—I knew!  My husband took the rest of the day to let it sink in.  But, by the end of the day, I had a beautiful bouquet of flowers and our daughter dancing around the room at the news of her impending sibling. Let me say, the entire reason we were given our second baby is because I had a daughter that for two entire years of her life PRAYED faithfully for this sibling. Notice I said my daughter prayed.  I did not.  You see, Adelyne was miraculous enough.  I never thought God would grant us a second.  So I became content with my family and did not ask God for more.  And, despite my lack of faith, my daughter said, “I want to pray for a brother!”  And so, from the age of 3, she prayed.  Nightly.  Faithfully.  Beautifully.  Truly, I admired her great faith-even though I had none of my own. And, sure enough, 2 years after she started faithfully praying, God gave us our 2nd most amazing miracle.  Our Baby Sam. When I was pregnant with Adelyne I was in great shape.  I had no pain.  I had no complications.  The girl hung out in my belly for 42 weeks.  I went bike riding pregnant, rode alligator boats, swam with Manta Rays, was stung by a jelly fish, jumped off a mountain in Austria (jumped off a mountain before I knew I was 6 weeks pregnant) and off a 30-foot platform too (again-before I knew I was 6 weeks pregnant).  And through all of Adelyne’s belly adventures, I had the most gloriously easy pregnancy known to man. When my pain began with Sam, I was astonished.  But the pain was unmistakable.  And then the contractions began.  The bleeding was daily.  Through it all, the baby kept growing.  The doctors became confident that we were making it—although painfully—through the first trimester and would make it to the finish line. So when I woke up that morning—full of energy, without the need to run to the bathroom, and not starving my guts out—I knew.  I knew my baby that my daughter had prayed for years—My baby that I had fought so painfully hard for—My baby was gone. I went to the doctor the next day and received the beautiful picture—and the tragic news.  My baby was curled up with beautiful toes and a hand reaching to the sky.  But there was no heartbeat. I had never before in my life experienced such heart wrenching and hollow pain.  I curled up inside of myself.  I would lie in a dark room for hours at a time.  And I wondered if the pain would ever go away. And I told my husband to let me be.  I needed to grieve.  And he did.  He allowed me my grief. And my daughter—what could I do for her?  Her very being was crushed.  She cried for months after.  We lost our baby in the summer.  But one wintery and snowy day when I was picking her up from school, she started crying as I was putting her in the car. “Why, Momma?  Why doesn’t God give me a brother?” And she cried.  And she cried.  And she cried. I couldn’t even start the car.  The two of us sat in the car, and, despite the snow outside, we sat there and cried.  And we allowed our pain to reveal itself deeply in the car, in the parking lot, of her school. And that’s okay.  Because pain needs to be felt.  Pain needs to be shared.  Pain needs to be relieved. But what could I do? I couldn’t give Adelyne what she wanted most—and so I did something for her. I got her a puppy. You know, to replace her sibling.

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Does it really? No.  But that is what many of us do in life. We try to replace our pain with something else. For some, it’s alcohol.  For others, it’s eating.  For many men, it’s pornography.  For too many, it’s seeking love from the wrong places.  Others it’s shopping.  The list goes on. Compensation for pain is very real.  And it’s what I did.  With a puppy. As we headed into our second year of our loss, and our pain lessened, and our lives went on…I did two things to compensate for what my heart truly desired: First, I went car shopping—looking at a sporty little convertible (no—not a good idea for a freezing country like Poland).  We even took it on test drives.  At least I had fun, eh?! And secondly…I got a nose ring. Yep, an honest to goodness nose ring. Now, let me tell you…I am a HUGE fan of nose rings.  They.Are.Awesome…in my opinion.  And, I finally felt like—Hey!  This is something I can do.  This is a way that I can have a bit of control over my life—I can pierce my nose. I know.  I know.  But, again, like I said—we all try to compensate somehow…in some way…for something we have no control over.  And a nose ring was my way. Let me also share—getting your nose pierced in Poland is the MOST EXCRUCIATINGLY PAINFUL EXPERIENCE OF YOUR LIFE! The lady, in the little city next to our little village, said, “Lie back!”  And then she started the SLOW process of the Stone Age’s way of inserting a nose ring—she started screwing it through my nose. My sister-in-law, here in the States, has a nose ring.  I just found out that there is a FAR faster way to get said ring—and it’s called a nose ring gun.  Yep.  Didn’t have that.  Had the hammer and chisel way to go about getting what I could control. Talk about PAINFUL control, eh?!  Yep.  But, in the end, I had what I had control over—a nose ring!  And I loved it.  Or at least I thought I loved it. How, then?  How was your nose ring “snot” a good idea? Well—life is great at throwing us the unexpected. Just as my husband and I were preparing to fly a social worker out from Germany to Poland for a home visit so that we could start the process of adoption, we saw the most glorious two lines!  A positive pregnancy test…It is now eleven years into our marriage. This time, however, my heart smiled—but in smaller measure.  This time, however, we kept it a secret.  This time, however, we approached with great fear.  Not great rejoicing. And…all of our worst nightmares began to reveal themselves.  Pain.  Bleeding.  Cramping. And, so we did what many of us also do in life—we threw the “Hail Mary” pass.  We called up our families and said, “Please!  We’re pregnant and it’s not going well. PLEASE pray for us!” Friends, let me share now…Yes, sometimes touchdowns are scored on the Hail Mary pass—but God would ALWAYS prefer us to come immediately before his throne.  Don’t wait to seek His face.  Come first—and bring along your prayer warriors. Our families…they immediately responded to our pleas.  Prayer became intercessory around the clock for us, around the world, on behalf of our baby. But, despite the prayers—despite the support—despite it all…Fear became present in my very being.  In my core.  In my soul. The pain did not subside.  The cramping did not subside.  The bleeding did not subside. I did what any normal human would do—I cried.  A lot. And that’s when I realized that my nose ring was definitely “snot” a good idea. Here I was fighting for the life of my baby…crying…and snotting.  And so something had to go. I had to let go of the ONE thing that I had control over—my nose ring. I had no control over my body. I had no control over my baby. But I had control over the 1 thing that I got to exercise control—my nose ring. Isn’t it funny how in life we sometimes have to relinquish the one thing we have control over? And that’s how I went from awesomely cool momma with a nose ring (okay, that’s my opinion of myself) to fighting momma with a hole in my nose. I’ve learned a lot in my 37, going on 38, years of my life, and I’d like to share them with you. We have many desires in life.  Sometimes, we are freely granted the desires of our hearts.  Other times, we lose the desires of our hearts.  And, on occasion, we go through hell to get the desires of our hearts. But compensation for desires never fulfills your very heart.  Your very soul.  Your very being.  And, so, Friends, I leave you with this… When you are in pain—cry. When you are afraid—seek help. When you need to be alone—be. When you need a friend—tell them. When you need a hug—receive. But always, always, always go about your life with God. Compensation will never fill the void.  But God will always be there.

***

I have found an article that I think beautifully states how we need to be very aware of how we speak to someone that has lost a child.  Please take the time to read “Why Miscarriage Matters When You are Pro-Life”.  It compares how Pro-Lifers react to abortion and how some of the very same people react to miscarriage.  It gently shares that many have the mentality, “one is a tragedy the other is a blessing”.

Both are losses.  Enjoy the read:

http://thelewisnote.blogspot.com/2014/02/why-miscarriage-matters-if-youre-pro.html?m=1