Thursday, September 27, 2007


I guess the blog world plays tag?!?! I just got tagged so in the spirit of fun, I better play :) And... you might just be included in on this on!

Here are the rules. 1)Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves. (2) People who are tagged need to write a post on their own blog (about their eight things) and post these rules. (3) At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. (4) Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

My Randomness...(in no particular order or importance! really!)
1) I have this "thing" about germs. When I enter a public bathroom I have a routine I go through to ensure the little things are as far removed from me as possible. I never use the first few squares of toilet paper - those are discarded for fear of others having had touched them. I do my business, then always flush the toilet with my foot. I exit the stall and then lower some paper towel - then wash my hands thoroughly - use the towel to dry (unless of course someone has already stolen it...or if there is air dryers I never start it with my now-clean hands - I use my elbow or something) - I open the door with the paper towel or if need be the inside of my shirt so as not to touch the door where everyone else who doesn't wash their hands have just touched - toss my towel into the trash can and if I don't score the 2 points I only retrieve it off the floor if time permits and if I don't have to revisit the whole door execution again. Now - I am quite successful at this - the challenge has come in having 2 young boys now potty trained learn the rules. They have heard on many more than one occassion - "ahhh - don't touch that....keep your hands together.....hold on let me open that door, etc.. etc.." I know it has sunk in because I have seen Reece as natural as can be, flush the toilet with his own foot - atta boy!!! Now - Chase is another story!

2)I cannot seem to finish reading a book. I currently have about 4 or 5 half done. This is not because I am not enjoying them - I do - I just face so many interuptions in my life that often time passes and my attention is turned to something new before I finish the first. I do intend to finish them all! Currently in progress: Grace Based Parenting; A New Kind of Christian; Here and Now; Third Culture Kids; etc..

3)I really like to fall asleep on the couch. Not sure why - I remember this from when I was in high school and I haven't outgrown it. There is just something so comfortable about dozing off when you are cozy in your own house, around your family - and I just like to stay in that place. My husband has now given up on even trying to wake me up because I rarely get up and go when this happens...until I have a few hours under my belt and then I head up to bed....but all on my own time ;)

4)I think this is kinda neat - all 3 of our children's names came from our first ever "name list" when we were pregnant the first time. Reece, Chase, Pierce - I like our names (and although I never understood this as a kid when my Mom would mix all 4 of us up - I do it now too - often.) Recently I was telling Chase that I loved him and that he was a special little boy but I began the statement with Reece. He looked at me so strangely and said, "me not Reece, me Chase"

5)Although I love the idea of journaling, I am not very good at it. I have this weird way of wanting to categorize and organize my journaling to the point that I never do it because I don't have the right journal with me at the moment. In the end, this wacky concept has paralyzed me from expressing a lot of my prayers, thoughts,and memories. It kinda bugs me about myself actually. Any suggestions on how to overcome this :)

6)I prefer blogging to other forms of internet pages because I use it as a form of journaling. But - I do have a facebook and have been amazed at how many people I have re-connected with in the past month. Even friends from my AIM field time in Slovakia - very cool!

7)One of my favorite sounds in the world is hearing my kids laugh. Especially the all-out-full-gutted laugh!!! Little Pierce is extremely ticklish so I get a good daily dose of his laugh - very fun. And it never ceases to amaze me how three different people can sound so much the same when they laugh....or even cry for that matter. Amazing.

8)I am running out of interesting things to say here. Hmmm. I have always loved piano music and some day think that I will bite the bullet and take lessons. I have zero ability to play any kind of musical instrument but I think I could learn piano, right?! Maybe don't answer that!

I am choosing to tag the following friends: Toni, Tara, Betsy, Char, Erna, Leah, Charla, Tanya

Invisible Moms

I am posting this to encourage you, as a Mom, that the little things you do each day are making a difference. It made me think - and inspired me - and stirred that "creative" part of me. Read it and then realize, today, the great work you are doing! (I cut and past so I apologize for the way it lines up - but, hey, I have more important things to do with my time than edit the spacing of this text!)


I'm invisible.

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way
One of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be
Taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, "Can't you see I'm on the phone?"
Obviously not. No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping
The floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see
Me at all. I'm invisible.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you
Tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not
Even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, "What time is it?" I'm a satellite
Guide to answer, "What number is the Disney Channel?" I'm a car to order,
"Right around 5:30 , please."

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes
That studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now
They had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's
Going...she's going...she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a
Friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and
She was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there,
Looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to
Compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress;
It was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was
Pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut
Butter in it.

I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully
Wrapped package, and said, "I brought you this." It was a book on the great
Cathedrals of Europe . I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until
I read her inscription: "To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of
What you are building when no one sees."

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover
What would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could
Pattern my work:

1. No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of
their names.

2. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see

3. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.

4. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of
God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the
Cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny
Bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, "Why are you
Spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by
The roof? No one will ever see it."
And the workman replied, "Because God sees."

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost
As if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I see the
Sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of
Kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is
Too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great
Cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become."

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease
That is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own
Self-centeredness.. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep
The right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the
People who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on
Something that their name will never be on.

The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever
Be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to
Sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's
Bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, "My mom gets up at 4 in the
morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three
hours and presses all the linens for the table." That would mean I'd built a
shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And
then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, "You're gonna
love it there."

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're
doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel,
not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to
the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Live Simply.
Love Generously.
Care Deeply.
Speak Kindly.
Leave the rest to God

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Does Parenting Age You?

Reece is more or less out of the throwing fits stage (thank goodness) but is entering the "talking back" stage to replace it (yikes!). He can say the funniest things when he is frustrated or angry - we often have to cover our smirks and laughter in the moment and wait till he is away to let it out! Yesterday I got onto him for something and asked him to take a break and go to his room for a moment. On the way up the stairs he responded with much agitation, "Mom, you are like 67 - you aren't even 32 years old!"


Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Girl!

We are excited to learn that Jared and Betsy (Benjy's sister) are having a baby girl! This little one will be the first girl on both sides of their families. She will be loved and spoiled and have a lot of big boy cousins to protect and teach her not to fear snakes and bugs and rough play (there are 5 grandsons on the Brednich side and 2 on the Gowens side). So...needless to say I think everyone is thrilled to be able to buy some pink this time. We are so very thankful to God for this little niece of ours - she will be the first to enter our world since having our own kids. Kate Elizabeth - please know how special you are to us already. Keep growing! We are looking forward to knowing you!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Good Change

I just want to say that Benjy and I really feel blessed. The past few weeks have held a lot of change for our family - new school, new home, beginning a new group to share Jesus with friends. Change can be hard but these changes have all proven to be refreshing and encouraging. We both feel like we have had more conversations with new people in these past weeks than we have had in a long time. Ironically, we have even had more conversations with our neighbors from the old house since our move than we had during the three years we lived there! Many of these new conversations have begun because of our children. A new school experience and a new neighborhood for your kids to run around has opened doors for us! It is exciting to think about what God might have in mind for new friendships from these places. To be honest, things had been feeling a little stagnant but not anymore.... The changes have been needed and we believe God is working on us to be more bold and intentional in being ourselves with people. Sometimes on the mission field it seems like even teeny tiny baby steps can bring so much encouragement. So... imagine how encouraged we have felt when a couple approaches us at Reece's school program and asks us about our purpose here and tell us they are interested in seeing what house church looks like. Or when we hear news that one of our Christian brothers who moved away last year has been talking to his family and they want Benjy to study the Bible with them. We sense good things around the corner - new opportunities, new friendships, good things. Thank you for your prayers. They are important to us! Our Sunday night group is just forming but it is exciting for us to try a new way to create Christian community with friends who have been studying the Bible with someone on our mission team. This group provides another step for them to have more conversations about Jesus. Continue praying that God would use this group to plant another house church.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Funny Chase

Chase NEVER ceases to amaze us. He is a funny little boy....and sometimes in these 2 year old days...a bit mischievious. Although I don't know why, he seems to respond quite well to "reason" - which can be entertaining and time consuming at the same time (but almost always worth the time it takes to draw him to an appropriate decision). Here is the most recent humorous conversation....

Scene: Chase is in the bathtub - I hear break outs of laughter - I approach the bathroom and see puddles of water down the hall. He decided it would be fun to pour cup fulls of water out of the tub and onto the floor. I pull him out and set him on his bed as I clean up the mess and collect my thoughts ;) In an attempt to use his preferred means of concluding life - we begin to reason.... "why did you do that?" "do you know it makes Mommy sad when you do things you shouldn't" "look at the big mess I had to clean up and all the water you wasted" and then this...

Me: "Chase, do you know that God wants you to think and make good decisions. What did God put in your head?"

Chase: long pause......"nothing"


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Our New Home

Well, we are moved - not completely unpacked but we are moved and settling in. We feel very, very blessed and enjoy our home already. We were waiting for our internet to be connected and have been really busy so I have not been on the computer much as of late. But anyway....our new place... There are about 35 homes in behind a 24 hour guarded gate and so we feel very safe. Not too far from where we lived before and only about a 7 or 8 minute drive to Reece's school. It is quiet and pretty - lots of nice landscaping and a common area with a playground for the boys. We have been welcomed by so many friendly people. And perhaps the thing that warms my heart the most is that there are a lot of kids running and playing outside. Earlier this week the doorbell rang and there were a handful of kids outside, inviting our boys to come and play with them. Reece and Chase were thrilled and it has been difficult to keep them inside ever since. Their favorite friends so far live in house 12 and yesterday Reece asked me if he could go ask them to come outside to play. I said it was fine but he had to be brave and go speak to him himself. Reece returned a few moments later, explaining that they first had to eat but then they would come out (I asked Reece if he spoke in english or spanish and he said, "well, first I spoke english but they didn't understand me - so then I spoke in spanish") We know it will be so good for the kids to make Mexican friends here at home - outside of school or church friends. Seems like all of these kids are learning english in school so they are loving the chance to try to speak to Reece and Chase in english too. As parents, we really feel blessed to be in this home for lots of reasons - but especially for the boys.

Thank You God for the way You continually provide and care for our needs. We appreciate Your hand in leading us to this neighborhood, this home. Please use this place to offer hospitality and real friendship to people. And most importantly, may these walls surround our family and create a place where we love each other, grow together and learn and live for You. Thank You for the children who have already blessed my boys with friendship and fun times. Amen.

I will try to post some pictures soon....and I have a lot of stuff to share about so I hope to post more often!