Sunday, January 31, 2010

As a Mother, I threw up my hands, and God heard me and answered.

We are drawing very close to our moving day. Our movers will be here at the end of this week and we will be flying out of Calgary to Houston next Wednesday, February 10th. My throat is tight and thick, not so much from the coughing but from the idea of our upcoming goodbyes. I am generally a compassionate person, but not an emotional one. For some reason the past couple of weeks, I am just plagued with emotions. I mentioned two posts ago about how I need to process by letting go, and also I mentioned about how I would miss my sweet friends. All of this continues to tighten in my throat. The one thing that I have not mentioned is how this will be affecting my Ben.
Ever since my boy was born, I have had a hard time understanding him. To be honest, he, for the first 3 years of his life was an extreme challenge. Many times I prayed over him, and asked the Lord to help me mold him into a kind, loving and wise young man. My frustrations laid in the fact that I knew what a bright child that Ben was. He had so many talents but his impulsiveness and behavior really made it hard for others to see. If you read posts from 2007-2008 you will see that I documented some really hard days. So, like I said, I threw up my hands and gave this away because when Ben was around 3 and a half, I realized I had been blaming myself for his behaviors. It dawned on me that it was not my fault, and it was not exactly me causing causing the bad behaviors, it was how God had made him, perfect in his own image, and it was only my job to try to learn to understand him. It was not my job to change him but to mold him. At this point, I sort of let go of it in a way.
Randomly, in late 2008 the Lord decided to send us here to Calgary. I am now realizing that one great reason for God plucking us up out of Louisiana is because of my prayers for my son Ben. We ended up at Calgary Christian School this year as Ben started his first year of kindergarten. It was like God thought to himself, I have the perfect setting in mind for you with the exact right personalities of teachers that you will respond to. Only, it is not here, it is in Canada. There is something really special about the fact that Ben was put in a class with these two particular wonderful ladies teaching him. They were able to give him just enough one on one time to give him a little boost with his behavior and also in his learning. Just loving, gentle nudges, that is all that it took.
With children we know that development is all about timing and crucial stages in a child's life. God's timing here was absolutely perfect. Ben has really grown as a young man in his behaviour and his love to learn and go to school. His teachers keep telling me that he was such a good boy and that it was not hard for them, but sometimes just a little bit of the right thing at the exact right time in a child's life is life-changing. Ben's last day of school at CCS is on Wednesday. Ben is sad to leave his teachers and his class, but he is also excited about moving to Texas so we can be closer to our families who he misses very much.

Tomorrow I am bringing red, white and blue cupcakes to Ben's school. We have made his class red, white and blue beaded necklaces, and Ben has written two very special letters to his two teachers....

Mrs. Degelder,

You are the best!

You make me happy!

I liked it when you helped me.

Thank you for helping me learn how to write letters and read better.

I will remember you when I am gone.

I love you so much,



Mrs. Bouwman,

I like it when you read to me and the whole class.

You make me happy.

I think you are very nice and pretty.

I really like the song you taught us in class about the planets.

I think you are a fun teacher.

I am so glad I got to be in your class!

And you know, I'll always love blue;

And also, I love you!


Ben Brown

To be honest, I am not sure that I am not giving all of these letters and necklaces and cupcakes for my own closure. Ben does not understand fully what God did for him and how he was blessed. I wanted to document this so that one day when we are looking at our scrapbooks, I can tell Ben how I threw up my hands to God, he heard me...and that God thinks he is so special and wanted to do this for him. Ben is now all caught up in school. His teachers and class love him. They really brought out the best in Ben and everyone was also able to enjoy his fabulous little funny personality.

I'll have to remember this as he gets to the teenage years..and if I am hitting a brick wall with him..I need to remember to listen to where or who God might be calling us to...who knows it could be in a different country.:)

Okay, after writing all of this, the lump in my throat has returned!

Ephesians 3:20
"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory, in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Things we will miss about Calgary...

  • Tim Hortons...(Earle will miss the double double, and Collin the Tim-bits)
  • The deposit for the grocery carts(we used to dislike this, until recently we drove to a Super Wal-mart and could hardly find a place to park because of all of the grocery carts in the parking spaces)
  • The Farmer's Market...we loved this place, it is awesome! There is also an awesome one in Vancouver!
  • The fact that Spring last year lasted from May to September
  • People take time to have you over for coffee...the day will stop for a cup of Joe and a pastry.
  • Being able to walk to shops etc from our home..even the grocery store.
  • Our Church and personally I will miss singing with this particular Praise team! A group of wonderful people! Also, we will miss our Small Group at Church.
  • Being within an hour of the Rocky Mountains...hiking in the summer, sledding in the winter...
  • The freezing temperature allows you to put your child's dirty diaper outside and it freezes and does not stink...bonus!
  • The wildlife...and animals...we have Snowshoe Hares running all over the place in our neighborhood..and it was cool to see them change from white to brown to white again...
  • The environmentally friendly standards in is so nice and clean!
  • The fact that my hair takes less time to straighten because there is hardly any humidity here!
  • I have learned so much about cooking and nutrition..from different friends here and just learned a different that is cool...and it kind of sparked a new hobby for me with cooking and appreciating different foods.
  • Canadians spend a lot of time focusing on their families and taking time off..they are encouraged to by their that has been long hours for Earle..ladies here get one year of maternity leave verses the 6 to 12 weeks in the that is pretty awesome!
  • New Perspective on Health care...if you want to know how we feel after living here for a year and being a part of the Canadian system, we would love to tell you, ask us personally sometime..too hot of a political topic for a blog post...
  • All of the electric fireplaces...I get out of the bath, and walk into my warm bedroom with the fire going on a freezing cold night..pretty nice:)
  • We have sort of embraced the Canadian custom of leaving our shoes at the door...our kids naturally do this now and it does keep the floor more clean...
  • EH? and ABOOT
  • Coffee Break Bible Study Group
  • Calgary Christian School
  • Of course what I will miss the MOST are my sweet friends and the many coffee's and conversations that we have had...thank goodness for blogs, facebook and skype:)
  • We are definitely leaving here changed in many ways...I hope to get to visit some with Earle when he comes back for work. (you are going to bring me, right Earle??!) We are glad that God sent us here and would not change our experience for anything. It has been well worth the hustle and bustle!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dear Shell Oil... E&P(Exploration and Production).....

Dear Shell E&P,
First off I would like to say that I am grateful to you for providing me and my family some special opportunities and also stability of work and a comfortable lifestyle in which I can stay at home with my children and enjoy some of life's wonderful blessings.
That being said, I am getting terribly annoyed with you. I am tired! I have an almost 3 yr. old who will have lived in Illinois, Louisiana, Calgary and Houston before his 3rd birthday. Granted we chose to take these moves, but it is getting harder and harder to muster up the emotional energy..not to mention the physical energy that it takes to make such big moves. We have waited since the beginning of October...first wondering if Earle was still going to have a job, and secondly wondering where in the world you were going to send us to next...we waited out 6 weeks before we found out that answer..and it was a tense 6 weeks, we prayed and prayed about where the spirit was going to lead us next..and the Lord granted us a place that might provide some stability for the next many Houston! So upon hearing that we were so excited and waiting to hear when our moving date would be. We thought it would be the beginning of January because that is when Earle's job was sort of officially supposed to shift over. Here we are mid-January...still, no word from human resources on the in's and out's of our transfer. People are having goodbye parties for us...but we are not quite gone yet! Everywhere we go, people are asking us when our move date is..and we still have to say...uhm...we don't know yet. I need to be able to say goodbye to people so I can emotionally deal with the saying goodbye and move on to the next is how I process!!! We are spending the emotional energy on the anticipation of when you are going to give us an answer!!
I have finally remembered to tell Earle to contact the off-shore rep. who lives in see if he can get the relocation process going. I find it bizarre that someone in the Philippines is doing the organizing for something that really is only happening to a small family in North America.
And to be honest, I am not thinking about what happens even after we arrive in Houston..only what happens before we get there. We still have bank accounts to switch to American Dollars, a car to sell and buy, a house to put up for sell, a house to buy, a church to find, a school to find...and social community to establish. Don't get me wrong, you help pay for all of these things and you make try to make the process less difficult for us...but still!!! I even think you could be making me fat from the unnecessary emotional calories I have consumed lately. I may need to write your CFO a letter to see if he would be willing to pay for anxiety meds, diet pills and a possible tummy tuck upon my arrival back to the US...come on..seriously, it is the least you could do.
Shell, I need some closure...I am too tired to deal with you at this point...I need to be done now. Most women would not put up with being in this type of limbo. I thought you loved me. Don't make me call you colorful names. I need a break!

Expatriate Wife,
Carrie Brown

(That being said, I am blessed beyond measure, I know this. God is good and his timing, I know, is perfect.)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My Bu....

This picture was from our last visit together this past July. I am pretty sure I did not post this picture at the time because I thought it was not the best of me...but I am glad to have it now.

Malcolm Neville Owen (George) July 1923- December 2009

My sweet grandfather who our family referred to as "Bu" passed away early Monday morning the 28th of December. He had been having some health issues over the past few months and his body just decided to give in. He was a wonderful man who lived a full and fruitful life. He was one of 9 children, born in 1923...he was a Veteran of WWII, fighting in the thick of things in Europe. He was so brave...and God spared him. He led so many people to Christ. His life was a mission. I am so glad to call him my grandfather and also so glad to have such pride in who he was. He and my grandmother were married 65 years. I will miss Bu, but I have such joy and pride in the memories of him and his character and integrity. I hope that I can lead half as fruitful of a life. No regrets! I am glad he is now rejoicing with the angels...I am sure that God is glad to have him back! Here is the link to his obituary...if you would like to read a little more about his life.... We love you Bu...We will miss your laugh, we will miss your smile, we will miss your kind and Godly heart.