Why We Fight and How We Fight

June 30, 2014 by Pappa with Nama marriage-commitment-communication-fight-challenges-love-forever.jpg //namafish.com

Or as Tim prefers to call it…Our Rules of Engagement.

 When you do things, do not let ·selfishness [rivalry; selfish ambition] or pride be your guide. Instead, be humble and give more ·honor [regard; value] to others than to yourselves.    Philippians 2:3 (EXB)

After Tim and i had finished writing our thoughts on fighting i went for a run, as i strolled our yard cooling down i came upon many examples of our God’s amazing  plan to  teach us patience, hard work and commitment.

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The hoped for product may not even be recognizable in the early stages of nurturing a relationship, but with enough rain, sunshine and time there will be no mistaking the beauty of the giant fall pumpkin.

Talk, discuss,fight, argue,disagree or communicate… Whatever you call it, you have to commit to engaging one another continually, both with your joy and with your heartache. The alternative is stuffing it and piling up dirty laundry…none of it is good and all of it will destroy.

When couples get engaged and start preparing for marriage they often start to plan and envision what their married lives will look like.  They frame out timelines for careers, moves, and children.  The wise ones discuss financial goals; who will pay the bills, how they will prioritize their free cash, what percentages will be saved for retirement.  If they don’t have a hard and fast plan at least they have some general ideas and try at a minimum to get on the same page.

Few, very few, plan for conflict.  It may be touched on in their pre-marital counseling, but it’s awkwardly glossed over like the fast talking at the end of a pharmaceutical commercial. Rarely is any couple fluent in healthy fight.  Maybe it would seem counter intuitive and planning for conflict somehow would seem as odd as a lifeboat drill would have seemed at the departure of the Titanic’s first trans-Atlantic crossing.  A little more crisis planning prior to that fateful April night may have saved hundreds of lives.  Likewise in marriage if we have a “plan” for conflict before it happens, it can be handled in a healthy, pre-orchestrated way and it makes that conflict feel like a normal, healthy part of the relationship.

Kaye and I didn’t necessarily have a plan, but through hard work and a little luck, we have developed some guidelines that have helped us through conflict.  As with most things in our lives I will build the framework and Kaye can decorate it with feelings and emotions.

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The tiny sprouts of promised fruit will eventually produce a sweet and delicious harvest with a little care.

First, there needs to be a foundation of trust.  During the emotions of heated conflict things can be said and insinuations made that smolder long after the skirmish is over.  If there is not a solid foundation of trust it doesn’t take much of a breeze to re-ignite that ember.

I laid that foundation early on in our marriage by telling Kaye that “Divorce is not an option for us.  I said I was committed to this marriage and we had no other options than to work through our issues or live miserably.  By removing that doubt in her mind we poured a solid foundation on which to build.  From that starting point we have developed our “Rules of Engagement”.

Kaye-When Tim says he laid a foundation, he spoke to me in a tone of gentle love and commitment.  He was not laying down the law or demanding something from me that i did not want. It was an pledge of commitment to me not a demand put on me.  Having said that, in this case i do believe Tim had the right and responsibility to set this standard for our home and i was called to be his helpmate in remaining faithful to the vows we had taken together before our Lord.

1.   Forgive your spouse’s transgressions for that day before you get out of bed in the morning – whatever that may turn out to be.  This attitude alone diffuses most conflict before it can ignite.  

Kaye-This has taken me a while to refine.  It is not so much that I wished to trudge through our Happily Ever After resentful or hating on My Man, i entered our marriage with a trunk of baggage which left me always expecting to be wounded or disappointed. i woke each morning ready to defend my position and stand my ground for the sake of survival.  It is tough to have a soft, forgiving, trusting heart when you come out with your dukes up and believe with all of your heart that your happiness is dependent on your own ability to get “this” right.

2.   Deal with things early.  The longer you let them build up the more intense they will become.

Kaye-i have had to drag Tim into this skill.  Tim is:  1. An extreme introvert, any relational engagement or communication is not natural or easy for him.  2.Tim is a shallow coper (see Larry Crab’s book, Inside out),  meaning he would rather smooth a sweet fudgy glaze over the discomfort than deal with the issue if it will require us entering a combat zone for any amount of time.      

3.  Getting started is always the hard part – I can feel it coming – Kaye withdraws.  As soon as I see it coming, I need to find out what is going on in her mind.  She has to be willing to “come out with it” rather than “heaping coals on my head” by hours of the cold shoulder.  Likewise I must be willing to be honest and not “stuff it”.  That ends up just making me irritable and she knows that there is something there no matter how hard I try to hide it.

Kaye-This has come with nitty gritty commitment and elbow grease for us.  Who knew saying the words “i am having a hard time.” could take more effort than a two year kitchen remodel?   We learned the hard way, once i went “on strike” for about 2 weeks, silent cold side by side survival in the same bed, parenting 4 children together, neither wise nor productive.

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Sometimes the weeds are all you see, have eyes to see the hidden beauty.

4.  We are not allowed to use the terms “Never” or “Always” in these conversations.  (You NEVER help me around the house.  You ALWAYS leave your cloths lying around.)  First, it’s probably not true, and secondly it only takes you down rabbit holes, lengthening or side tracking the real issues.

Kaye-don’t use “you” phrasing; e.g., “you make me angry because you leave all your dirty dishes in the living room.”  Rather use i and i feel, “it feels to me like you typically choose to leave your dirty dishes sitting around for me to clean-up, i feel unappreciated when you do this.”

5.   (The hardest one for me) Do not be defensive as your spouse begins the discussion.  Whatever they are feeling at the moment will have some element of truth.  Whether 5% of the time or 95% of the time – allow them to state how the situation feels to them.

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Year one of effort= nothing, year two=8 scrawny scabby apples, three years of consistent effort doing the same things over and over and the promised harvest looks amazing.

Rules 6-10 coming next Monday. Tim has already written them, they are good!! Part 2 here.

And finally, familiarize yourself with “Love Languages”.  Find out what your spouses is as well as your own.  Giving love to them in their own language will communicate your love and commitment to them with far greater impact than random acts of affections that are not in their native tongue.  The 5 Love Languages are Words Of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, Physical Touch, this so very helpful.

You can find out what your languages are here:  http://www.5lovelanguages.com/

There is a library of Love Language books available here:  http://www.5lovelanguages.com/resources/books/

Really great resource for learning Marriage Communication: http://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/communication_and_conflict.aspx

Blessed~To Need Him

i woke this morning electrically excited for a DEAR friend, her husband and their “already” children.  One week from today, 7 days from today our friends will trust a world of others with the houseful of babies they already nurture and board a plane for a land far away to collect two tiny special needs children (both 5 years old) who have been waiting all these long years for their mamma and daddy.  The miracle, the energy, the magic of the journey into adoption is so incredibly amazing.

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Within seconds of the adrenaline rush of realizing the calendar had moved and the “days to travel” counter was now in the one week range, 7!!, my heart took a sharp turn and i began to feel the grief my friend will process this week.  Much ALL will change for this mamma, daddy and their houseful of littles the moment they board that plane.  Why would you say yes to something that guarantees so much upheaval, adjustment and sacrifice?  There will be big sacrifice and selflessness required for every member of their family.

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Yesterday i shot Tim a desperate text, “call me if you have a moment and the energy for a rant”.  Tim called on his lunch hour, i tried to be grown up and logical but the moment i heard his voice i spiraled into a crying baby + a tantruming two year old.  Sparing you the unnecessary muck, our morning had begun WAY to early with an unexplainable amount of energy and creativity.  Things were escalating by the moment, disappointment entered, “poor me” crossed my mind and i agreed with “that lie” one moment too long.

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In the midst, my Blondie came home with a treat from Starbucks for me. She was caught in the crossfire, there was no energy or time to sit and chat wedding or hear about her morning at work.  i was done, or wanted to be done, or go back to the woods or rant to My Man.  i sent my SOS; pretty much the answer is always the same from Tim, life is only hard if you let it be, God is enough, be nice and do the right thing, be dependent on His Grace.  As it always goes, Tim listens to the many offenses i “need” to vent but he hears my sin and directs me back to what i have to do to smooth the waters.  Tim’s only specific guidance was, “make sure you do not say anything out of your hurt and sadness that will hurt Blessing’s heart.”  i am sad to tell you, honestly, some things had already been said that i had to apologize to our sweet girl for.

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A bit later Blessing was at Library Club; i claimed a quiet corner and used my time to read some truth.

…in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors . . .” (2 Corinthians 6:5)— in all these things, display in your life a drawing on the grace of God, which will show evidence to yourself and to others that you are a miracle of His. Draw on His grace now, not later. The primary word in the spiritual vocabulary is now. Let circumstances take you where they will, but keep drawing on the grace of God in whatever condition you may find yourself.  The entire study is found here: http://utmost.org/drawing-on-the-grace-of-god—-now/.  It is worth your time.

Well look at that…just about the same stuff My Man pointed me back to.  i wonder if i could possibly learn to run to His Grace with my rants and spare Tim the headache.

Here is the deal; Blessing and i had a full afternoon ahead of us when our train veered off the tracks.  When Tim helped me redirect, i still felt incredible frustration.  i did what i knew was right but did not feel any of it.  i spoke gently (sheer will), i apologized (fighting a grudge), i let go of a bunch of junk (heart still aching), i made a deal with my girl, “if mamma chooses patience and gentleness for the rest of the day will you choose obedience and kindness?” She said yes, i had my doubts…she is an impulsive 10 year old,  at this point i would be a bit surprised if  i kept  my end of the deal.  Six hours later we were pulling back into the neighborhood, Blessing was silly singing, we were gut giggling together and i spontaneously said “ahhh, Blessing what a fun day we have had together.”  As i heard the words come from my heart, i was taken aback; actually we had started with a really rough day, some ugly sin and lots of material for resentment and angst.  Where had “Fun Day” snuck in, when had giggles and silly songs shown up?  His Grace is enough for my most common everyday challenges. i know he redeems the big and bad stuff, but maybe more amazing is when we see Him redeem the everyday selfishness, disappointed expectations, harsh tones and lashing words.

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As i feel the reality of all the challenges my dear adopting friend is facing i know the cost and pain very personally, yet it is so easy to switch back to ecstatic excitement because i know without a doubt that feeling my weakness more often, doubting my ability constantly, hearing my selfishness scream louder is the only path to knowing HIS Grace more clearly.  When i am weak, HE is strong.  When i am alone, HE is my all.

My sweet sweet obedient friend, charge ahead with full confidence and joy, you are stepping into a whole new beautiful “knowing” of your Lord’s Grace,of his provision, his comfort and strength.  i promise you the challenges will be there, this is so good because we only need HIM and call on HIM when we can no longer manage on our own. That is hard, that is beautiful!

There will be plenty of days when you have to “just deal” with whatever it is that day…

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Just be certain you are not “dealing” in your own strength and ability, you can not do this on your own.

Keep your eyes on your Lord,

Run into His Grace,

and know that Needing Him is the very best place you could be.

Please pray for our friends as they enter the Great Adventure our Lord has written for their family.

Wisdom from My Man + Recipe + North Woods Pictures

First the good stuff…
My Man jotted a little thought on Facebook last evening and i had to move it over here for posterity.   He is wise, he is a man of so few words i wish to capture most of  what he says and put it in a safe box, knowing someday someone will read and learn from Tim’s years of seeking his Lord.  Here Tim talks about Goals, Gold and God.
Ahh- but the trick is to know that our goal and God’s goal for us are the same goal.  There is inherent danger in believing the financial success or achieving our own “personal” goals is in some way evidence that we are aligned with God’s vision for us.  Poverty and prison may be God’s perfect path for some.  We need to be ever so mindful that pursuit of our own goals is not inhibiting God’s refinement in our hearts. That is where the true gold lies.  by Tim Fischer/Pappa/My Man
This is also good stuff, not quite as profound, but good.  You can google a million recipes and variations on anything you might want to learn to cook for your family.  The problem i see with a blind google is this, you don’t know what you will end up with until you have tried the recipe.  i won’t say my recipes are The Best, i will say they are my family’s favorites, they are tried, you will succeed with them and usually they are easy and affordable.  i live a life of extreme dichotomy.  i want old fashioned fat filled comfort food for breakfast, by dinner time i want light, healthy, fitness promoting fare.  This recipe comes from my love affair with midwest church potluck casseroles, one of the many that  contains Campbell’s magic in a can.

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Nama’s Tater Tot Hotdish

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Ingredients needed:

1 pound ground beef (you could substitute turkey or chicken)

salt, pepper

onion powder,  you could use minced fresh onion (My Man is not having that)

garlic powder   (i use fresh crushed garlic)

seasoning salt

4 cups frozen mixed vegetables (any that your family enjoys), mine like corn, green beans, carrots and green peas. This is heavy on the veggies for nutrition.

2 (19 ounce) cans cream soup , you may use family favorites, i use reduced fat celery or chicken.

1 (32 ounce) package frozen potato rounds/Tater Tots/Tater Puffs….you know what i’m talking about.

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Brown 1 pound ground meat in skillet, season with 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp.  black pepper, 1/2 tsp. onion powder, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder ( or 1 tsp. crushed garlic) .  Drain excess fat.

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Mix together in large bowl:  Browned meat, frozen vegetables and cream soup.

Notice the creased back edge of this bowl, our Tylor (now 26) sat in the bowl one evening after the popcorn was all gone, making himself comfortable while finishing the movie Balto,  he was such a happy little guy in his little nest.  i treasure all the little gingerbread crumbs that remain along this family path we walk.

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Spray a 9×13 pan with aerosol olive oil, spread meat/veggie mixture evenly in pan.  i often double or triple the recipe and freeze a couple.  This was a meal for tonight, a meal for the freezer and a meal to share with a new mamma and daddy.

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Top the meat mixture with the potato things.

My clan likes the Tots alot so i waste a whole bunch of time and line them up standing on end, i really really am ridiculous enough to do this everytime i make the casserole.  You may say “just dump a bunch on, pile them up, you get lots-a- tots that way!”  The problem…they don’t all get a crisp top surface, and that crispy top really makes or breaks the tot deliciousness.  The image shows the other more reasonable options, long aligning or random dump.  Once you have your top covered in tots sprinkle ever so lightly with seasoning salt.

Bake at 350 degrees until heated through, bubbly and the Tater Tots are slightly crispy brown on top, 45min-1 hour.

Now a few more fun vacation pictures.  i am pretty sure from tater tots to tadpoles is not an ideal transition, but here goes.

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Tadpoles

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There were thousands of these guys our first evening at the beach.

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Finley loved them.

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She wanted to get closer and learned to say  “Tadpole”.

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Blessing caught them.

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A Grandma, a Nama, an Aunty, Finney and a “tadpole” that had turned into a frog. (in Grandma Linda’s hand) Grandma Linda is more fun with frogs than Nama, and is anyone else concerned about the “caution” shed in the background ?

We shared 4 of our vacation days with Tiffany’s parents and sister.  One of my favorite experiences as a grandma is sharing the grandbabies with the other set of grandparents.  Double the fun to see others treasuring our little jewels as much as we do.

Vacation Pictures, My heart, My Man and Forgiveness

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Bear with [make allowances for; be patient with] each other, and forgive each other.  If someone does wrong to you, forgive that person because the Lord forgave you.

Colossians 3:13 (EXB)

Our 10 day getaway took  me to some destinations not on the travel itinerary.  We drove our mapped 5 hours, settled into the sweetest cabin/home in the deep northern woods of Wisconsin, busted out our bulk purchase of  deet and started our spoiled time of refreshing, resting, reading and girl Legos. (Tim does more outdoor exploring than Lego Friend’s play)

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i long for quiet moments to read. i love libraries, Nooks, Kindles, borrowed and bargain bin books.  i wait for these days away to read, read and read.  On our second morning i swirled coconut oil + stevia into my cup of fresh coffee and curled up with the black bear\pine tree blanket, i was ready to do some catching up on my reading.  i wasn’t many minutes in when my catching up came to a screeching hault.

i don’t know who Scotty Smith is but his words stirred something in my heart that i knew wouldn’t quiet anytime soon.

 “Avoiding people who’ve disappointed you is an easy thing; moving towards them and praying for redemption is a Gospel thing.” Scotty Smith

In my 51 years i have ridden a few spin-rounds on the tilt-a whirl of wounding and forgiving.  The healing and restoration of my relationship with my dad and my step-father are just two in a very long list of lessons my Lord has taught me about forgiveness.  My mom led by example the truth of forgiveness towards our Father.  My Dad’s funeral was an amazing picture of what forgiveness looks like.  i know the power and value of forgiveness; i have felt the pain and bondage of not forgiving.  Yet when i read this quote, i instantly knew there was something critical happening in my heart.  i knew there was a whole new world of truth involving forgiveness that i needed.

 The challenges and truth kept coming as i continued to seek understanding.

i would say mostly our marriage is free of bitterness and resentment, yet i know there are times i resent Tim’s nap while our always busy and creative 10 year old is draining, draining, draining my energy.  There are times i catch myself mentally ranting “i can’t believe Tim always ___________(insert perceived offence),” as i go about my daily duties.  i suspect the “always” in my mental ranting is enough for me to be certain there is an issue here.

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In a word, live together in the forgiveness of your sins, for without it no human fellowship, least of all a marriage, can survive.      DIETRICH BONHOEFFER, Letters and Papers from Prison

i am left with more questions than answers as we head back into our routine.  Is resenting a nap unforgiveness or am i just selfish and need to “let it go!”?  (Sing that with an Elsa voice).  i don’t know all the answers; i do know there is a lot i need to “Let Go”, a lot i need to be done chewing on and a lot i need to stop reacting to.

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From C.S. Lewis:    To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.This is hard.  It is perhaps not so hard to forgive a single great injury. But to forgive the incessant provocations of daily life—to keep on forgiving the bossy mother-in-law, the bullying husband, the nagging wife, the selfish daughter, the deceitful son—how can we do it? Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning our words when we say in our prayers each night ‘forgive our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us.’ We are offered forgiveness on no other terms. To refuse it is to refuse God’s mercy for ourselves. There is no hint of exceptions and God means what He says.            C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory (New York: Harper Collins, 2001; Originally published 1949), 

 In the two years since my Father died there has been a significant chain of changes, losses and “moving-ons” that have touched our world.  i suspect i have done some “avoiding the people, or disappointments” rather than moving towards those losses in forgiveness.  i am not certain i have pursued redemption as my Saviour commands.  My heart aches as i ponder this, i don’t want easy, i want the Gospel felt with every breath i draw; i want to live the Gospel, not talk the talk.

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 A prayer of forgiving contains these words…At times my “easy going” nature thinly veils the serial killer that lives within. Even as I write and offer this prayer, I’m aware of a few relationships that the gospel is targeting today. I’ve created a demilitarized zone—a buffer of peace, but I haven’t forgiven from my heart.  Lord Jesus, as I think about how much you love me, I’m convicted about how much I’ve enjoyed holding a few people emotionally hostage by my self-righteous smuggery; and to be honest, I’ve felt justified in doing so. That’s a confession of sin. Help me, Lord, and others like me. Though I’m convicted, I can’t say it will be easy to let go of the pain; it’s served me well, in a twisted sort of way. Have mercy on me, Lord Jesus, have mercy on me.        Scotty Smith http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/scottysmith/2012/09/07/a-prayer-for-doing-the-hard-and-heart-work-of-forgiveness/

 21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, when my ·fellow believer sins against me, how many times ·must [should] I forgive him? Should I forgive him as many as seven times?”  22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, you must forgive him not just seven times, but ·seventy times seven times!  [or seventy-seven times; the Greek can mean either 490 or 77; the point is unlimited forgiveness]  Matthew 18:21-22 EXB

When things get “touchy” with Tim do i shut down just enough to create a demilitarized zone?  If i have been offended by our fellowship leadership do i “move on”, creating a buffer of peace, all the while allowing myself to avoid forgiving from my heart?  i ponder the possibility that our independent, mobile, unlimited access culture is enabling me to move through life in my safe little pockets of perceived understanding and acceptance while missing out on the true Gospel of bearing with one another.  Am i choosing to obey HIS command to forgive seventy times seven?  Am i running to easy and comfortable so i may avoid the accountability of  Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors?

Ten years ago as i sat in the theater watching  The Passion of The Christ  for the first time i was challenged with this thought… Until i have given of myself as Christ gave for me, i have given nothing.   Until i have suffered as God’s only Son suffered, that i may be forgiven and have new life, i have suffered nothing.

Heavenly Father, i confess my sin of choosing safety and comfort.  Show me where i do not follow you into forgiveness and redemption.  i choose to forgive because you have given all that i may have life.  You have forgiven me immeasurably abundantly.  i ask for your direction to know when to forgive and your power to obey.

His word does not suggest i forgive, HE commands i forgive a lot, all day, every day.  i want to know and live that obedience, that i may know the freedom and peace that follows.

 

Blessed~Refocused

I absolutely adore this little Library, it is so much more right exactly as it is so much less.

ImageThis little golden locks has gotten exactly everything she wanted all week long with one aunty, a Nama, a Pappa ,Mamma and Daddy all to herself. Sharing Bluemoon, Blessing’s favorite.

ImageApron curtains and the best Rueben in the North woods.

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Strolling Boulder Junction where we found this little guy …..

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Who made us feel like our Kaydra and her Cody were with us but also miss them more at the very same time.ImageWhen we are in the hustle of home these PJ shorts just need to be put away, in the quiet of the woods they remind me how much I ache for Africa and I am more grateful for our tiny African Treasure, Blessing.ImageWhen we are at home this chaos of our little makes me crazy, today it was easier to just be grateful she found shirts and pants and got herself out to the truck without a lot of hub-bub.ImageThis gorgeous little blossom has found it’s perfect place to bloom among the toughest of conditions.  May I be so wise and willing.Image

ImageI I have continued to fight for fitness over fifty even on vacation because…..well it is necessary. 
ImageFinley’s first words each morning, Ble Ble ??

the library is closing in 5 minute, says the kind little lady with the permed hair.

I am refreshed and refocused, there has been a lot about forgiveness happening in this too hurried heart and I need to press publish now.

It appears from my limited viewing some of my images did not load, I’ll catch up when we are back home , as well as share some of what Piper, Lewis and Bonhoeffer have been rattling my cage about.

 

The Photo Shoot

First we tried to get the three girls in matching dresses Nama sewed last winter. Melissa designed the dress for Raena’s first birthday party. I choose to make them for Blessing and Fin also cuz i thought that would be fun.

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i love wandering King in the background .

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and then all four, not one single “good” picture…

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But they are all perfect !

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My kids tell me i am worse than the babies in a photo shoot, i guess these picture prove something.

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Finney is done with the grass and pictures.  i love every single one of these shots.  Our two Timothy’s clearly know how to do this family picture thing.

We are still loving our time with the Mosquitos in the North Woods.  I am still posting from a tablet with sketchy WiFi  at the public library with 62 books.  I absolutely love the switch up of roughing it and being away from the fast and furious of our everyday high tech world.

Timothy’s Mamma Shares more of their journey~a follow-up to We Choose

June 17, 2014 by Kristi Beth

The Last Year

If you are close to Parker and I, you probably know how crazy the past year of our life has been. If you’re not, let me fill you in on the incredible journey we’ve been on!

June of last year, Parker and I started looking for new jobs. We were both full time employees at Barnes & Noble. We both came to a realization that if we were going to be working 40 hours a week, we could find jobs that would pay us more to do it! We both loved Barnes & Noble, but we knew we could be making more money elsewhere. We were wanting to get ourselves in a better position to start a family, to start working towards the next step we knew we wanted to take as a family.

By July, Parker had already had an interview at Charter, and I had just submitted an application to Starbucks. On the 4th of July, our lives changed forever. We got home late that night after watching the fireworks with friends and hanging out at their house afterwards. I had felt a little “off” all day. I was notorious for being paranoid about getting pregnant, so I had taken my fair share of pregnancy tests in the previous months. But that night was different. That night as I watched the test change, there wasn’t just one line, but two. A faint second line appeared. I sat in shock. We hadn’t planned this. I wanted it desperately, we had many discussions about when, and the only answer we had was “not now, but soon.” I had always felt a twinge of disappointment when the second line never appeared. But this time it did. I gathered my thoughts, pregnancy test in hand I walked into our bedroom, where Parker was laying in bed. “I want to take another test in the morning, but I think I’m pregnant.” He was just as surprised as me, and very skeptical to say the least. If you know Parker, it had nothing to do with not wanting it to be true, but his logical mind needing more proof somehow, because when you’re on birth control, it’s not something you are truly ever expecting, despite the slight possibility. The line was faint enough for me to think a second test was wise, and morning is supposed to be the best time (hormone levels are highest when you first wake up), so the next morning, first thing I did was head to the bathroom. There was no second guessing, that second line was as clear as day now. We were going to be parents.

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there it is, the proof our lives were going to change, big time.

We were ecstatic. We knew it was clear direction from God. Our whole marriage to this point, we were constantly in prayer for directions for our lives. What is our next step? What should we be working towards? While we waited for an answer, we just kept plugging away. Working full time, paying our bills, building relationships, and growing in marriage.

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the day we found out we were going to be parents

A few days later, I got a call from Starbucks for an interview. My heart sank. I had always wanted to work at Starbucks, but now, knowing I was pregnant, I knew working in a fast-paced environment, that would become increasingly difficult as I became increasingly pregnant, was not the best idea. I still went to the interview, but when the pay she could offer didn’t even match what I was currently making, luckily it was an easy no. A few days later, we were at a wedding and a friend’s mother came over to tell Parker about an opening at her job. She had heard Parker was looking for a new job and LHI, where she worked, was hiring a lot of people for a new position. Parker was already scheduled for a second interview at Charter and felt confident that was the direction God was leading. But as she described the job to him, I couldn’t help but think, “Wow, that sounds like something I would really enjoy!” So I decided to pursue it. I found the opening on their website and applied. I heard from them just a couple of days later; they wanted to set up an interview! I almost cancelled on them, I was such a nervous wreck. I was so intimidated by LHI, I knew it was a great company, a nice business, and I didn’t feel qualified.

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it was pretty fancy. who wouldn’t be intimidated?

But thankfully, Parker talked me into doing the interview. The day after I interviewed, I had a job offer. Just like that, Parker and I got new jobs that increased our monthly income by about $1,000.

Three months after Parker started working at Charter, he got a call from his brother Tylor. Tylor is the Sales Manager at Dave’s Guitar Shop, and he needed a new employee. Working at Dave’s had been a dream of Parker’s for quite some time. Being so passionate about music, and the incredible success of Dave’s Guitar Shop made it a pretty ideal job for Parker. They were able to offer Parker more money, so after a short period at Charter, Parker started ANOTHER new job. After he made the transition to Dave’s, I remember him asking why Charter even happened if he was just going to leave a few months later. I didn’t think much of it, it was three extra months of significant more pay, that was a good enough reason for me. But God’s plans were more intricate than that. It was all for a much bigger reason than just a better paycheck for a few more months.

In the midst of all the job changes and the pregnancy, we also moved. We weren’t planning on moving. Our lease was up the end of March, and with Timothy due in March, it was not the ideal time to move. We were totally willing to make our one bedroom work for however long we needed. But one morning we got a phone call from our landlord. It was the second call like this we’d received. A complaint. Our upstairs neighbor did not like us very much. He worked nights, so if we made any noise during the day when he was trying to sleep, he complained. Our landlord was very nice and gracious, she admitted she had gotten many complaints but tried to ignore him most of the time, realizing the noise we made was in the middle of the day, not late at night. But she could only ignore him for so long, and informed us we could no longer play music in our apartment. Well, when you have a musician for a husband, that just doesn’t fly. We knew right then we had to move. It was January, and we had a limited amount of time to find a place and move. We decided we wanted to try and move before Timothy’s arrival, and would pay double rent the month of March if we had to. Talking to Parker’s cousin Randi, she mentioned they were looking for a new place and would be moving soon. I knew they had a two bedroom apartment, so I asked her for more information about their place, and when they thought they’d be moving. The timeline seemed to match up with what we were looking for, and the price was only $5 more a month than what we were paying for our 1 bedroom. We knew it was a good option to consider!

Randi and Jeremiah were so gracious and accommodating, they invited us over to check out the place, and communicated with their landlord on our behalf. The landlords are very laid back, and when Randi and Jeremiah told them they had family interested, they told them we could have it if we wanted it! It was pretty amazing how it all came together. Just like that, we knew there was a very good option for us. Other places we looked into didn’t work out, or were outside of our ideal budget, so we were able to move into a 2 bedroom duplex in West Salem. We almost doubled our living space, and we found a used washer and dryer to put in the basement – we no longer had to drag our laundry out to Parker’s parents’ house in Holmen! Our new home is a huge blessing from the Lord. We were willing to stay in a very small space with our new baby, but he created a situation for us that led us to a much bigger home – and I was even able to create a room for Timothy! It was so sweet to prepare a space especially for our bundle on the way.

 

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our sweet boy’s room

We moved in one week before I was due, March 2. Timothy was 9 days late, so we had 2 weeks to unpack before Timothy finally arrived. We couldn’t have timed it that perfect ourselves. It was truly all God’s timing, all God’s planning. And on top of it all, our landlord from our old apartment filled our apartment halfway through March, so we didn’t have to pay March rent there – they used part of our security deposit to cover the couple weeks it was empty, and we got the other half of our deposit back. Praise the Lord!!

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this sweet face made it’s late arrival on March 18, 2014 at 7:24 pm.

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 a peek into our new home

Three months at Dave’s, and Parker got some news that was potentially life changing for our family. The lady who was his boss at Charter was leaving, and the boss of that position wanted Parker to apply. Parker made an incredible impression at Charter in the three months he was there. They LOVED him, and they were very sad when he left. His numbers were the best in the region, in just a mere three months! He left on good terms. It all started to come together – why he even had that job in the first place. Parker applied for the position as soon as it was posted online, and quickly had an interview lined up. When he learned the ballpark of the salary of the position, we were floored.

Parker’s and my heart has always been for me to be a stay at home mom. It is actually the reason I didn’t finish school. Parker and I weren’t even married yet, but we had a conversation about how my desire was to be a stay at home mom – nothing else. So I decided to drop all my classes, because accumulating debt and obtaining a degree for something I would do for maybe a year or two just didn’t seem wise. We knew God was calling us to paths other than school. But that’s another story

Our plan since we found out I was pregnant was for me to find something part time after the baby, and hopefully sometime in the near future I would be able to transition to being home full time. But with this salary, we knew I could stay home full time. No question. It seemed too good to be true. I dare not let myself get too excited, in fear that he would not get the job. Parker is only 21 years old, a position of this magnitude is putting a lot of confidence in him and his abilities. I knew he was more than qualified, and would be stellar in this position, but did Charter see that too? After a second interview, we had a long wait until we finally heard the news. Those three months gave them enough of a glimpse into the incredible hard worker that Parker is, and they knew he was completely capable of tackling this new position. The job was his. Parker called me to tell me the news. I was still on maternity leave, Timothy was in my lap. After we hung up, I cried. I cried and hugged my baby close to me. I was going to be able to stay home full time with my sweet boy. Our hopes for our family were realized.

 

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the door of Parker’s office.. yeah, he has his own OFFICE.

The last year of our life is nothing more than a testament of God’s divine plan and direction for us. Parker didn’t seek out Dave’s, he also didn’t seek out Charter the second time. They sought him out. My man is that good. The LHI job was perfect for me. I loved it, I honestly wish I could have been there for many years before – but God answered our prayers. He gave us direction, and He gave us the resources for me to become a stay at home mom. I went back to work for two weeks – I didn’t feel comfortable not coming back. I felt I owed them two weeks, and I also had insurance costs I wanted to make sure were covered. I went back for two weeks, and then I was done. Now, I get to love on my sweet boy all day long. We aren’t rolling in the dough by any means. It’s not a liberal budget. But it is sufficient for our needs. All of ours bills will be paid, we can save, and can still have a little bit of fun. We. are. blessed. Sure, we could do a lot more with an extra $1600 coming in a month, and Nama would watch him for free. But no amount of money is worth more than spending my days with Timothy. Nothing can replace watching him grow, watching him smile and start to giggle, and start to figure out the world around him. Nothing is worth more than being the one who gets to raise him and help him grow into the type of person we want him to be. And really, what more do you need when you have this little guy to entertain you all day long?

I get to see smile…

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after smile…

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after smile

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after smile.

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we have one happy boy!

I get to keep our house organized, clothes washed, dishes clean (no, not all at once) I love my job. It is so fulfilling. I love being a stay at home mom. I don’t understand why God chose to bless us so hugely. I am so undeserving of His incredible blessings and provision. But I am so thankful. My motto for our life lately has been “Praise God, from whom all blessings flow” – lyrics from the hymn of the same name. Our life is overflowing of His blessings. New home, new jobs, new life. He has given us the desires of our hearts. We are thankful. We are blessed. We are loved by our God.

 

 

Father’s Day thoughts from the deep north woods

 

june 15,2014 by nama

Disclaimer…I am posting this sitting outside with limited public wifi, swarmed by Mosquitos, on our tablet, it is not going to be pretty. But it is sincere, and I am having a ton of fun roughing it.

Happy Father’s Day to My Man

For years what i attempted to do for Tim on Father’s Day was create the Hallmark image of Father’s Day. This did not make for a “Happy” Father. Go-carts, mini-golf, child wrangling on a bluff high hike, dinner out = worn out exasperated Dad, not Happy.
As we sit in the woods this Father’s Day, Tim napping as much as his napping self wishes I reflect on the importance of setting aside my ideas and serving selflessly in earnest love, not just on Father’s Day.

1 Peter 4:8

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

By fleshly nature we are all self-focused, or as a professional counselor put it “selfish jerks”. We enter this world screaming for what we want when and how we want it.

You put a couple of “selfish jerks” together and things are bound to be messy, difficult and confusing. Leaving the working out of a happy marriage to chance, to instincts, to intuition or “what I feel like at this moment” is about as affective as placing a bunch of two year olds in a room unsupervised with a box of toys and expecting harmonious play.

My new obsessive read…This Momentary Marriage by John Piper talks about our broken nature in chapter two, Naked and Not Ashamed. Pastor John teaches that 1. We all fail. 2. We all fear the shame that follows that failure. 3. Fear and shame destroy our relationships and 4.Only our Lord’s Covenant Love can bring healing and hope to the brokenness we all bring to our marriages.

The first way to be shame-free is to be perfect; (not possible) the second way to be shame-free is based on the gracious nature of covenant love. In the first case, there is no shame because we’re flawless, (not happening). In the second case, there is no shame because covenant love covers a multitude of flaws.  ~By John Piper

We need a truck load of covering for our multitude of flaws over in the Fish Pond or since it is Father’s Day, I need a truck load of covering.

The most affective way I have found to combate the selfishness that fights to rule my every thought is to fix my heart and mind on the truth of my Lord’s word.

If I would commit to live this truth moment by moment how different my relationships would be. How happy Tim’s Father’s Days would be.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant
5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Happy Father’s Day My Man!
My prayer is that each day you feel more of His covenant Love and less of my selfishness as we traverse these unknown paths together.

Fathers-day.jpg. //namafish.com

Tim’s Father’s Day looked a lot like this

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And this

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While i did a whole lot of this……..       It was perfect!Fathers-day.jpg. //namafish.com

If you have a daughter or granddaughter and you are not building girl Legos, get on it! You are missing out!

Lots of Love to dad Fischer, the man who has modeled our Heavenly Father’s love for us.

i miss my dad, fishing on sapphire waters for two years now.