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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Those Sweet Feet


We have had the sweet privilege of snuggling this newborn for a few weeks now as Miss Bee approaches her one month birthday. Our time has been filled with scheduled feedings every three hours and some lucky nights of 
stretching past five hours at a time. 
Back are the days of diapers and bottles with baby coos and the impressive grunting noises Miss Bee can produce. There are plenty of hands to help and cuddle along with the fun outfit changes Addi seems to enjoy daily. Thanks to our foster community, we have all that we need for the time being. We're not sure how long these sweet feet will be with us, but for now, we love Miss Bee like our own and share those moments with her mommy via text messages. Miss Bee has been an amazingly easy baby with rare cries and lots of new smiles. 
Please pray for Miss Bee and her young parents. 
Pray for protection over their family, wisdom for the state workers and opportunity to share Jesus in a dark situation. 

"Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
Matthew 19:14



And So it Begins...

Our hearts are a bit breaking for our oldest as the hardware has been cemented in and the progress begins to create the perfect smile. 
What used to be is no longer as welcomed updates have been created in the orthodontist industry. No longer is there outer headgear; it's been replaced with hydraulics and screws attached by spacers on the inside of your mouth. Gone are the days where you could face plant your pillow and still breath due to the headgear providing space around your face. Instead of minutes with the plaster in your mouth, it's now seconds. It's the same office I went to back in third grade, but the staff looks different and there's new carpet. 
Most everything else looks the same.
Addison will be living off of milkshakes, Motrin, soups and purees for a few days until her mouth becomes adjusted to the new look. 
And just when she's adjusted, we'll shake things up again and add braces. 
Beautiful smile or money saved for a car? This adventure nearly broke the bank!
You'll thank us later metal mouth...I mean brace face...oh, bad mommy! 
It's out of my system now...

 { Looking good babe. }


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Gracious Jealousy

Well, here we are again with weekly infusions, side affects from the new drugs and arranging schedules to be with my sister as Traci embarks on yet another chapter in her story. She's sturdy as an Oak Tree and laughs in the face of fear. Traci's spark has not been stolen; her smile not lost. There is so much more fight left in her body and she's ready to face this head on.



In the past few weeks, My Hero has had a liver biopsy to get a clear picture as to how the organ is functioning with the disease settling in. She's had three chemotherapy infusions and so far, besides a few tummy aches and fatigue, has handled it well. Her hair was starting to fall out in clumps and leaving itself on her pillow case, so rather then continuing with the mess, we had our third hair shaving party. A little hair chalk, Mohawk fun and mini cheerleaders made the process quite entertaining. Nothing seems to knock this gal down; maybe a brief moment of lost balance, but God has continued to gain control quickly and lead. It's been an inspiration to watch Traci's faith play out over almost 
9 long years of this battle.


I've had lots of thoughts race through my mind recently as we face this new reality adding the odds stacked against winning this battle. The one thing that keeps coming to me as I pray, ponder, worship and reflect is this thought: gracious jealousy. Now, most may say what the heck are you jealous of with illness, symptoms, treatments and constant pain? Let me explain.


Back in November we were driving home in twenty four degree weather. The landscape was white with frost; the trees stood still covered in frozen crystals. Nothing moved; life was paused as the sun slowly rose shining light on the individual crystals covering the ground. I silently prayed that God would do the same with my sisters cancer pausing life as it was; no more surprises, no more progression of the disease. But, as life would have it, the hours passed by and life continued moving forward. So, I had to adjust my thought process which led me to becoming jealous of My Hero. Whether we are days, months or years away from a joyful homecoming, I find myself being graciously jealous of My Hero being that much closure to sitting at the feet of Jesus. I find myself being jealous of meeting Moses, worshipping with the angels and embracing our Grandpa's all in light of having a perfect body. 
No more scars, no more pain; perfect in every manner.

"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."  
Revelation 21:4

The day when all earthly pains will pass and all that's left is holy worship. The day when health will never be questioned or fail and all that's left is to dance freely. If I could prolong this process I certainly would, but the beautiful story that is continuing to unfold should never be forgotten; it should never be frozen. Until God chooses His final pathway for My Hero, I will support, encourage and wipe all my sisters tears away...
with immense gracious jealously. 


Monday, January 11, 2016

A Misdirected Moment of Pause

A new year. 
A new start. 
A new beginning. 
Sometimes that’s all one needs to turn the page to make the next step into something great. 

As a stay-at-home mama to three kiddos, having time to stop, take a deep breath and pause before taking the next step forward is hard to find. This past weekend, My Love gave me just that; a time to stop, pause, reflect and to have fun. I left home with my suitcase packed full of snow pants, snow boots, stocking hats and warm gloves with the expectation of a romantic get-away to Steamboat, CO. I had myself dressed in layers with childcare pre-arranged as Tim had organized the surprise of all surprises. Little did I know that I would be landing hours later, cozy wool socks on, in Kona, Hawaii!

{ Prepared for a snow storm. }

Sure enough, Tim pulled a good one on me (oh, yeah, our oldest was in on the surprise trip too!) as a month of secrets led to the weekend of rest with my dear, sweet friend Catherine, who had moved to Kona six months earlier. The shock was very much present even after five hours of processing over the ocean. The weekend began immediately as we stayed up until one in the morning catching up and chatting. That then led to a days worth of exploring, swimming and enjoying the presence of each other. The pause in life continued the next day as we parasailed 1200 feet up in the sky, paddle boarded over the turquoise seas, snorkeled with schools of colorful fish and hiked drop-off cliffs through the jungle. 

{ No boots required. }

video
{ I could only focus on one thing; turning & waving about 
made me dive into the deep blue. }

{ Living on the edge...technically climbing it. }

Life is demanding. Life refuses to stop; it can’t be put into slow motion through selected situations. We are given a choice to move forward or to rapidly make a U-turn unwilling to face what the road ahead looks like. Recently, I have felt overwhelmed with potentially new seasons and being able to clearly hear God’s voice as I want to obediently execute my purpose for His plan in my life. 

The push and pull of life has never felt so heavy than what it has been over the past few months. My husband saw this wearing on me and knew that no other Christmas gift would amount to what this weekend would bless me with, as for a brief moment, the strain from the push and pull paused; it fell silent. I’m leaving with clear direction, understanding and insight for the new year. I’m leaving with new experiences shared and tummies full from delicious meals and couch time snacks.

The challenge will come when I wake up back home and find the demands of life meeting me first thing in the morning. The decision to embrace the pause will come when the first panicked wife calls as she is faced with betrayal; when my sister’s doctor appointments fall short and report unwelcome news. The challenge to seek peace when the kids choose to button push and responsibilities of home schooling become present.

I feel more prepared for the road I’m on as 2016 is here and moving. My prayer is the push and pull of responsibilities and desire to fulfill my purpose in life doesn’t cloud the drive to His destination; the journey God has me on. I pray that I can pause a few more times to take in the sights, have some fun and let go of the burden not mine to carry.
And hey, if it takes another surprise trip to Kona in wool socks to dump some burdens, then let it be that Tim seeks a female to pack my suitcase next time rather than the awesome attempt he made. 

{ Layover in Portland made for a sweet sister visit & the 
random passing by of my MIL. }

Friday, January 1, 2016

Our Twenty Fifteen Recap

What was the best part of this past year?
Charlie - Family (being Auntie's cheerleader)
Addison - This Christmas. (no reason; just loves this time of year)
Myriam - Playing with toys (Pet Shops, Olaf)
Tim - Cambodia with his bride & getting to know our pastor on a personal level; watching the depth of community & family grow in our church.
Stephanie - Physical & spiritual stretching through injuries, trips & situations that brought both tears and laughter. Completing the online college course was pretty cool too.

January
After ten years of driving the Tahoe, we upgraded to a 2007 Suburban. I'm pretty fond of the heated seats.
Completed our training for our foster license. 
Game night with the ladies at NCCTK.
Shaved my grandma's hair off due to chemotherapy.


February
Myriam had her EEG to rule out any seizure disorders.
Tim and I celebrated one year from our renewal and baptism celebrations.
Ran my first trail race.

March
Tim traveled to Cambodia with Brian Davidson.
We took a family trip to Disneyland with Grandpa John & Grandma Judy.
Shaved my other grandma's hair off due to chemotherapy.

April
Easter celebrations.
Spring Break entertainment of friend play dates, Tulip fields & organization.
Became a certified foster family.


May
My dad blew himself up on the boat.
Tim and I took an anniversary trip to senior town up north.
We had our first and only s'mores of the season.
Daddy dates running errands with Grandpa Doug in the plane & having treats with Addi.


June
I ran the Deception Pass Half Marathon.
Kids had the end of the year art show at the library.
Hiked Galbraith Mountain with Uncle Jason, Auntie Traci & the cousins.

July
Make Jesus Famous YWAM launch.
Tim sang with Realtime for the ten year reunion of winning gold.
Multiple Birch Bay sand dates. 

August
Tristan came to stay with us for a few days of respite care.
Pool party at Auntie Traci's.
Cooling off in the creek with neighbor friends. 
Family trip to Hefley Lake.



September
I ran a 10k & walked 5 miles with my mom in the North County Road Run.
All Day Campus Classes begun for Addison and Charlie. 
I started my first online college course at CCEF.
The highlight of the year was the trip to Cambodia with My Love. 

October
Ran the Milkshake Run up and over Stewart Mountain.
A family trip to Great Wolf Lodge with Papa and Nana.
We took our last trip to Stoney Ridge Farms gathering pumpkins and fall treats.
Tore my calf muscle resulting in an eight week recovery process.

November
Jacob Dean, Myriam's biological brother, was born. 
Myriam started Preschool.
I took the girls to Frozen on Ice. 
Tim and I enjoyed an overnight at Snug Harbor Marina Resort with some Element Friends.
We celebrated Papa retiring after 40 years on the job.


December
Finally was given clearance to slowly start running again.
Addison had a girls sleepover with friends from school while Charlie had a sleepover with Auntie Traci.
Impromptu New Year's Eve party with the Ellis and VanderPol families. 


Well, that's a wrap. Goodbye 2015. 
Nice to meet you 2016. 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Jesus Is Born

From ours to yours, 
The Broersma Five wishes you a Merry Christmas.


Sunday, December 6, 2015

School Successes

Fall has passed, routines are set in place, homework is now normal and workbooks are being used assisting in achieving monthly goals set at the beginning of the year. All the kids are doing excellent in school which Tim and I are really proud of as they work hard at the assignments given to them. What surprises me most is the interest Addison is having for drama and impromptu skits! Yes, this coming from our sweetie who struggled with crowds, speaking and being heard. It's been so much fun to watch Addi grow, challenge herself and make a strong community of friends at Mp3. 
Charlie has done well and made big strides with reading and writing. He's made great friends and seems to be Mr. Social at school. Some of the best reports though, are when you hear how your son is the one to stay behind, clean up, organize and model gentlemen behavior. Money doesn't touch how rich a parent feels when hearing those positive remarks made towards your child. 

{ Painting therapy creations. }

I had the perfectly organized plan for this fall school line up. Myriam was pre-registered for our church program with Addison and Charlie enrolled for all day campus classes at Mp3. It worked out that on Monday and Wednesday's Myriam and I would have the day to ourselves with the Tuesday/Thursday line up giving the older kids three hours of uninterrupted home school time. 
The only glitch was that our youngster was still not 100% potty trained. At that same time, I was also having a few concerns for our little one as we had been seeking professional advice from a dear friend specializing in children's occupational therapy. Megan lives just north of the border and has given Tim and I some amazing insight into our spunky sensory babe. Myriam now has a tool belt to use when feeling anxious, nervous or tempted to take off. I have been immensely blessed by our "play dates" with Megan and feel like we've made significant progress over the past few months. 
The problem with making perfectly organized plans is they never get off the ground without a bump or two. Our bump was that Myriam was not accepted into our church program which in turn became a huge gift to her. She's now attending the Peer Pre-School Program at Lynden Middle School and loving it. The best part is that it's on the original weekly schedule I was so excited for back when school started. 
Myriam is our first child to ever ride a school bus so it was a big deal here on Double Ditch Road. JoAnn is an absolute doll taking such gentle care of the kids buckling them up, handing them toys, keeping the "Magic School Bus" warm and on Friday's handing out treats. 
Teacher Kaaren and her team of support understands Myriam's struggles and already have made a difference in her behavior at home. There is overflowing excitement to share about the day at school once she bounces off the bus. I am extremely thankful for this program. 
Whatever the need any of our kids have, we will meet it. 
If that means not keeping Myriam home then that's what we must do. 

{ First & second day on the bus. }

All the kids are now on the count down until Christmas break. There are Christmas art projects ready to be made, cookies ready to be baked and attempts at obtaining an all-family-smiling Christmas card photo taken. What I love most is that regardless of the successes at school or at home, Jesus remains the only reason for this blessed Christmas season. 
So, we focus on that as we keep motivated at our school work. The kids continue to build relationship with their class peers and gain friendships alongside of their schoolwork. ABC's, lessons of making right choices, being respectful and learning colors and numbers are being taught.
As for us as parents, we learn from our kids that it's not easier to over complicate issues. Keep it simple; keep it real; and keep it about Jesus in our hearts. 

{ Retakes were later in the day... }