Friday, October 28, 2011

Chaplain to the Marines: We are moving!

The Earls, moving... no way!? Do you sense the sarcasm?  When I hear our name in conjunction with the words "moving" it makes me laugh.  I think we figured out that we've been married 8 years and have moved like 6 or 7 times. 

Well, the blog has been lonely lately due to the fact that we got word we are being relocated to Southern California (Camp Pendleton) for Josh to serve as a Chaplain to the Marines.  We got the news last month, and since then it's been busier than we could have imagined.  Good busy, but ... the lists are long and involve manual labor and girl sweat (girls don't sweat we just glow).  Ok, some girls sweat... I digress.

We are super excited!  I think when Josh joined the Navy, his goal down the road was to serve the Marines.  If you weren't already aware, Navy Chaplains service the Marines and Coast Guard as they are all under one umbrella.  They do not serve the Army or the Air Force, as they have their own Chaplains.  When we arrive in CA, Josh will begin work-ups for his upcoming deployment to Afghanistan this spring.  Of course I am bummed to have to be apart for so long again, and it hurts my heart to think about how much Bella will miss him, but... I'm excited for his marines.  He is possibly the best Chaplain they could ever dream of and they don't even know it yet!  He so desperately wants to serve them, especially on the front lines.  One of his best friends is a Marine and Josh knows the hardships they face.  I expect him to love on those guys as much as he would love on his greatest friend.  As his wife, I am proud to be able to serve with him in this new capacity.

Oh, by the way, we are coming back.... cue Arnold "I'll be back"!  Yes, we both moved from CA when we were younger.... I was 14, and have not lived there since! Where we are moving is closer to where I grew up, and I'm excited about that!  I get to live by old friends and most importantly, my older siblings (and nieces and nephew) finally!  I love them dearly and have missed out on so many years with them.  I cannot wait to make up for lost time:)  We also get to be closer to Josh's family who we cherish so much.  They are just a few hours away and well worth the "short" drive!  His entire family lives in Fresno and the surrounding areas and we are excited to be able to attend family events, ect.  We will settle in Temecula which is a bit inland from Oceanside (smack-dab between LA and San Diego).

East coast.... oh how we will miss you.  It's such a bitter-sweet transition for us.  We will be on the other side of the continent from my parents and younger siblings, which makes me sad.  Also, having lived the second half of our lives out here, we have grown to appreciate the seasons, scenery, the people, and... southern hospitality!  We have made the greatest friends here which can never be replaced.  From friends in MI, to friends from Liberty and VA Beach, we will really miss you and thank you dearly for loving us through some of the greatest/hardest times of our lives.  PLEASE COME VISIT.... I can promise you some good weather (wink). 

So, expect a post in a few weeks once we settle. Until then, we are asking you to PRAY FOR BELLA.  This is going to change everything in her little world and for a girl with autism that's hard.  I have been praying ever since we found out we were moving that God would bring about the right school, teacher, and therapist.  Please pray those things specifically.  Pray the transition is smooth and that she would not experience any regression from this move.

God is good, all of the time... even during moves.


P.S. Did I mention we are driving two cars across the United States.  Should be fun right?  Thank goodness for my saint-of-a-mother-in-law Carol who is flying out from CA just to sit in a car with us, and drive back!  She will be a great help with Bella in the car with me:)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Marriage is beautiful if you make it that way!

Hebrews 13:4 says, "Let marriage be held in honor among all," we should hear the ring of preciousness. The Bible is telling us this morning: Let marriage always be thought of as precious. Let it be treasured like gold and silver and rare jewels. Let it be revered and respected like the noblest, most virtuous person you have ever known. Let it be esteemed and valued as something terribly costly like the long, black, marble Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. In other words, when you think of marriage, let yourself be gripped by emotions of tremendous respect and sanctity. In relation to marriage cultivate the feeling that this not to be touched quickly or handled casually or treated commonly. In God's eyes marriage is precious and therefore he says, "Let marriage be held in honor among all." John Piper

A couple meaningful verses on marriage....

Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church, and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church; however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.Likewise you wives, be submissive to your husbands, so that some, though they do not obey the word, may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, when they see your reverent and chaste behavior. Let not yours be the outward adorning with braiding of hair, decoration of gold, and wearing of fine clothing, but let it be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable jewel of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. So once the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves and were submissive to their husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are now her children if you do right and let nothing terrify you. Likewise you husbands, live considerately with your wives, bestowing honor on the woman as the weaker sex, since you are joint heirs of the grace of life, in order that your prayers may not be hindered.
I am often struck with extreme sadness when I watch television or hear conversations where marriage is made out to be a less sacred or something unimportant or even something as meaningless as a vehicle that when damaged or old can be replaced with a newer version. It's on these occasions that I want to scream: REMEMBER THE VOW!  Remember all of the witnesses!  Remember the sacred bond you have with that man or woman! 

The reality is, God compares our earthly marriage to the love/bond Christ has with the church.  He died for his people, made the ultimate sacrifice for them.  He prayed for them, wept over them, shared joyful and stressful moments with them.  

I must now reflect on my marriage and search my heart to ensure that my husband is held as a rare jewel, someone I would die for, daily.  What does is mean to die daily?  The first word that comes to my mind is humility. The second is mercy.  The third is joy.  Humility is a word that, in this context means I should place Josh's needs before my own.  I should seek to serve him.  I have spoken to many women who are offended by these words.  Here's the deal chicks, if you know me, you know I have a mind of my own and hold my own opinions apart from my husband.  I am not weak spirited... in fact... I'm straight up sassy!  But, when I married Josh I had to die to my desires and seek to serve him (like I should serve all of you).  He had to do the same thing... it's a two way street people! Placing others before yourself is an act of servitude.  After all, aren't we supposed to be like Christ -- and treat our spouses as he treated the church?  I also believe that I should be full of mercy for my husband. I should understand that he is not perfect and be forgiving and understanding.  Does that mean I cannot sharpen him lovingly when he does things that I believe are wrong?  Not at all.  That's why it's called a relationship.  Mutual respect brings about an open love, full of communication.  After all, the only person who ever lived on this earth perfectly was Christ.  I cannot put my husband in his place and have the same expectations.  Lastly, I must be joyful.  Joyful despite sorrow.  Joyful in the worst and best of times.  I must thank God for my husband daily... even when his socks smell...even when the dishes are piling up... even when my day has been less than perfect.  I want Josh to experience the joy of Christ through me.  I want to radiate it.  I feel like sometimes I can be joyful to everyone BUT my husband.  He's the one that gets to see "the real me".

Dear Lord, help me treat my spouse like a rare jewel. Help me love him as Christ loved the church.

P.S.  This was written for my soul.  Not to offend.  I am preaching to myself:) Marriage is hard, I know!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Her joy is my joy :)

I had someone tell me once that they had never seen Bella smile. This was due mostly to the fact that when Bella is in busy places, it stresses her out and causes increased tantruming. I got a little sad that people weren't seeing Bella's joy, but then was reminded that her smiles and laughs are sacred. She saves them for special moments... moments she shares with me, her daddy, and anyone who is lucky enough to experience her heart. Since my girl is turning 3 in one month, I am getting quite sentimental... and was determined to capture this little ray of light for you guys.

Here's a sneak peak into the "real Bella"... the one that resounds with joy. Her joy is my joy. *PS, I had to chase her for almost 2 hours on both occasions. She's not big on posing:)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Bella's first day of school...

My love and my love.  Bella's first day of pre-school.


We sent you to school last week, it was your first day.  The first of many my dearest.  You woke up happy, ate your breakfast, got dolled up in your dress, skinny jeans, and leopard print shoes, and headed out with mommy and daddy.  You don't know this, but we embraced each other the night before as tears ran down our eyes.  The thought of our sweet and fragile little girl, stepping out the door and becoming a woman was too much to handle at that moment.  We praise God for you sweet Bella. We pray his wisdom on your teachers.  We pray a miracle in your development.  Most of all, we pray you experience joy each day that you are at school.  We love you more than you could ever imagine.

Mommy and Daddy