FASTING MIRACLE

i have a very strong belief in Fasting. and i’m not talking about sissy Fasting a.k.a. binging Saturday night and then eating as soon as you get home from church the next day.

on my mission I had a strong zone leader who would lead us in zone-wide 24 hour fasts. we would meet at say 5pm at the church to begin our fast, and then back again the next day at that same time. and even then, we would not break the fast until the entire zone arrived which was at least a half hour past the 24 hours. i remember one time my companion, in a moment of weakness, went to eat something during the fast and I gasped “Sister, we’re fasting!” she moaned back, “Oh but Sister I can’t do this, I’ve never fasted for 24 hours, I’m too weak!” but she did it! it was hard. we were walking a lot. it was hot and sweaty. but we did it!

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China Hong Kong Mission

i have had fasts answered so many times that i’m honestly losing track. the last fast I had answered I thought to myself, i need to write this down and start keeping a log of these miracles. but I didn’t. so here i am repenting and trying to start doing a better job of writing down the times i see Heavenly Father in my life so that I can share these experiences with my children, family, and everyone!

this past weekend we loaded the family up in our Mazda CX-9 to attend a Talent Show at the elementary school. our family fits perfectly in our CX-9 and what I mean by perfectly is snuggly. no extra seats. climbing over seats and people to get in. its a rowdy event getting our whole family of 7 in or out of it.

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2013

among the chaos, Kevin goes to back out of the driveway and finds he can’t get the car to shift out of Park. as this happens I remember earlier that day when I let Adam sit on my lap and help me steer into the garage. after i had turned off the car he had yanked on the shifter and I thought it was the cutest thing that he knew how to use it. could his little 3 year old strength have broken the shifter in that moment?!

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Joey driving through swamp land on Daddy’s lap

after 10 minutes of trying to get out of Park we realize that this is more than a fluke and we ain’t goin to no Talent Show. the kids head inside while Kevin and i stay out for about 1.5 hours dis-assembling the shifter, checking all the fuses, and researching possible problems. No luck.

i called around to a few places on Saturday, most were closed. one tire shop suggested it was a Transmission issue and to tow it to a Transmission shop (cha-ching!). it seemed so silly to have to tow it somewhere when it was still running.

we turned to our friends for recommendations because we really haven’t had any car trouble since moving to Kentucky beyond oil changes, tires, and brakes. several friends recommended a man in our church stake who is a mechanic but said that he is very busy and may not have time to work on our vehicle. i texted him about it and he said he’d come over later and look at it. he did not come.

saturday night we decided our family would fast that we could get the car fixed on Monday because I had some obligations on Tuesday that I really needed the car for. we also prayed that the repair would be inexpensive, especially in light of the $1100 we just spent to put in a new hot water heater and the $500 ER bill for Enoch’s thumb.

sunday evening, while still fasting, Kevin went to his first session of a Self-Reliance group he joined about Starting a Business. i had actually wanted him to choose one of the other groups about Getting an Education, or Improving your Employment but he said those topics didn’t interest him, his dream was to be his own boss. so he attended the group meeting for the first time and there he met the very same mechanic recommended to us by friends!

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my businessman in 2015

kevin shared some of his business ideas with the group including one about a government procurement portal and the mechanic exclaimed that he had served in the military and thought that was a brilliant, even life-saving idea. during the group, the mechanic spoke of his business and how he often has to turn customers away because he is so busy with his existing clientele. by the evening’s end Kevin had setup that the mechanic would come the next day to look at the car. what an answer to our fast! i believe that the mechanic would not have come out for us on Monday, a new customer who he did not know personally, if Kevin hadn’t met him at the business group.

the next day the mechanic found that the problem was a broken spring in the shifter assembly. he “broke it further” (his words) so that we could shift freely. when we asked him how much we owed him he said no charge. to be somewhat fair we paid him $20 and sent him off with a slice of Chocolate Chess Pie fresh from the oven. how’s that for inexpensive?

our fast was answered so immediately and perfectly. i know our Heavenly Father likes to bless our lives as we turn to Him for help. if you are looking for a miracle, I challenge you to make it a matter of fasting and prayer and see Him work in your life.

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Love, the Deans

TENDER MERCIES FOR CHRISTMAS

God has given us some tender mercies the last few days. He is an excellent gift giver.

tender mercy #1: the dead battery

quick trip to walgreens before dinner. boys were good in the store, i just snagged 9 boxes of my favorite cereal for 1.88 each. life is good.

wait, why isn’t the car starting. weird. i just took it in for an oil change yesterday, they should’ve told me if anything was wrong with it. must be the battery. but i was only in the store for like 15 minutes. even if i did leave a light on would that really kill the battery?

i walked back into the store to see if i could intercept whoever was checking out at the register to help jump my car. the man checking out chatted nicely with the cashier. i noticed paint on his phone case- good sign, i bet he’s handy.

“could you help jump my car? i think the battery just died?”

“sure, i’m parked right over there” pointing to a white service van. (perfect!)

he pulled over and connected his cables. even tightened one of the battery lead clamps that was a little loose.

“there’s a sticker on your battery that says it was installed in 2010. you probably need a new one. there is an auto zone right there, they can hook their machine up to it and tell you if the battery is bad. and they’ll install a new one for you at no extra charge.”

i wished him a merry christmas, thanked him for his help, and said a silent prayer that he would be blessed for his kindness.

there was an auto zone literally next door, sharing the same parking lot. they did all he said they would.

the very next morning i needed to drive to tampa for a meeting and this story would have likely been a lot less merciful had my battery died at some point during the trip.

feeling good about how well the bad battery turned out my biggest worry arriving home was that now it was past dinnertime but i still had to make dinner, serve it, and we hadn’t done homework yet so the night was probably going to run long. as we sat down to dinner i asked the boys what homework they had and to my delight the answer was none!

couldn’t have gone any smoother.

tender mercy #2: the bad directions

“daddy will be home tomorrow! aren’t you guys excited?”

“Yay! then it will be christmas!”

as always the day before he comes home is a day of excitement and preparation.

i went to bed excited to know that by the time i woke he would be in the middle of his 5 hour drive to the airport. i hoped i might wake in the middle of the night and be able to call him and keep him company as he drove in the wee hours. but i didn’t wake until 10 minutes before my alarm was set to go off. i called him right away to see how his drive was going.

“good…” he said, but there was a little not good-ness to his voice. “so this drive is 7 hours?”

oh no.

“no, it’s 5 1/2 hours… so, what is your eta?”

“10:30”

“your flight takes off at 10:30”

…GPS strikes again. kevin is an excellent driver. if i was faced with a car plowing toward me on an icy, windy road with nothing but a cliff to my right, there is no person i would rather have in the driver seat than him. he rivals james bond in his maneuverings. but when it comes to directions and having a good bearings of north, east, south, west- ugh!

“why would you go north when Fargo is south?!”

“i was just following the GPS”

“didn’t that set off a red flag when you put in the address and the drive was 7 hrs long?”

“yeah it did, but i couldn’t remember how long you said the drive was and i figured it was too early to call you. maybe the flight is delayed and i can still make it.”

“let me check…no. says its on-time. you might as well stop driving, you aren’t going to make it.”

….i was on the verge of tears. feeling anger, sadness, disappointment, frustration, helplessness i continued,

“well let me call the airline and see if they can move you to a different flight. but i doubt there will be another one today because allegiant only flies like once a day. and who knows how much more the new ticket is gonna cost us.”

i go to allegiant’s website. no phone number. just chat and email options. i google ‘allegiant phone number’ and find it. as i start to dial, kevin is ringing me back.

“hello?”

“God is looking out for me. i just got a text message that the flight is delayed to 12:15.”

I check the website again, that i had literally just checked 2 minutes ago. he’s right, the flight is delayed, and he’ll be there with time to spare.

huge ball of stress unknots from my insides.

The Lord is good to all

i hope you are realizing some gifts from the Lord in your life this Christmas season!

IMPATIENTLY WAITING

PATIENCE

i am failing at this this week. kevin comes home this week FINALLY. it has been the usual 6 week stint, but it hasn’t been the usual 6 week stint. he switched jobs which included a false start at a job, a week of no job, 2 weeks of training, and finally working mostly nights. ughhhh. i’m not even the one who went through it and it was real rough.

with his return this time i feel like he isn’t just coming home from work. i feel as if he is returning from a quest through mountain peaks and desert sands. when i see him walking toward me i picture he’ll be dressed in tattered clothes, bearded, unshowered and weak with thirst. we will collapse on each other, “we made it”.

so as i await his return i’m in a state of life paralysis. no gusto for anything but him. this is the worst way to go about it because it only makes the days longer. but as each day comes to an end i smile giddily, knowing i’m one day closer and he will soon be here to end my internal agony.

the other night i was watching an old seinfeld episode “the pen“. in it jerry is trying to make elaine feel better about their stay with his parents in florida with no a/c, sleeping on a back breaking sofa bed.

ELAINE: Why is it so hot in here? How can they sleep like this?

JERRY: It’s only for three days. Today’s over and we have tommorow. We leave on Sunday. It’s one day, really.

ELAINE: Oh man. What is with this bar? It’s right in my back. It’s killing me.

JERRY: Oh you wanna switch? I’m sleeping on a love seat. I’ve got my feet up in the air like I’m in a space capsule.

ELAINE: I am never gonna fall asleep.

JERRY: Oh, don’t say that. You’ll jinx me.

ELAINE: How can they not put the air conditioning on?

JERRY: They’re nuts with temperature.

ELAINE: This bar is right in my back! It’s making a dent.

JERRY: How about that guy writing a check for 19.45?

ELAINE: I’m sweating here. I’m in bed, sweating.

JERRY: It’s one day. Half a day, really. I mean you subtract showers and meals, it’s like twenty minutes. It will go by like that. (snapping his fingers)

then later the chiropractor tells her she can’t get on a plane with her back so bad and needs to stay put…

ELAINE: (to Jerry) Five more days?

JERRY: Well today’s almost over. And weekdays always go by fast. Friday we’re leaving. It’s like two days really. It’s like a cup of coffee. It will go by like that. (snapping his fingers)

i  need more of jerry’s attitude huh?

HUGS AND KISSES FOR DADDY

i’m going to be mailing these in daddy’s father’s day package as well as help all my primary kids personalize them for their daddies.

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my plan is to bring just the cut out cards the sunday before and have the kids color them. then during the week i’ll assemble and bring them, ready to go on father’s day.

i found this cute gift idea at the ever inspiring blog my sister’s suitcase. there you will find the printable i used.

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i found hershey’s kisses with blue wrappers which seemed very appropriate for father’s day. i actually had a little trouble finding hugs, but succeeded eventually.

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i really like how the baker’s twine looks with the polka dot treat bags.

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i used my corner chomper to round the bottom two corners of the cardstock to make it look a little more polished

6 PERKS OF BEING A LONG DISTANCE WIFE

i was very skeptical about a job that would take my husband from me 6 weeks at a time. i thought i was asking for disaster. the statistics showed one of us would end up being unfaithful, or growing distant. that hasn’t happened <<knock on wood>> in fact our marriage is at a really good place right now.

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7 signs you could survive as a long-distance wife:

1. neither of you has had any recent bouts with infidelity, great or small. if there is a seed of disloyalty, the distance could cause it to grow into something tangible and heartbreaking.

2. you have a life. whether it be a brood of children, a hobby you spend a lot of time on, a job. to keep your sanity you will need something to do other than simply waiting for your love to return to you.

3. you have a strong support system. whether neighborhood, community, church, or family. you have to have someone you can call for help from time to time.

4. it is a joint decision. you go into it together. fully supporting one another as you face the hardships that will inevitably come is key.

5. your marriage is well established. you’ve weathered a storm or two and came out standing strong together.

6. he finds happiness in providing for you. this will help him find meaning in the long hours and hard work.

7. you are an independent person with at least some level of introversion to entertain yourself for weeks on end

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there are some things i <believe it or not > LIKE about him working abroad.

6 perks of being a long-distance wife:

1. our relationship is back to being about love: i did not choose to marry him based off his tidy habits and proneness to put things away. nope. i married a romantic, easy-going, creative man who just happens to be a slob. i’m not a neat freak so with just the two of us, and even with only one child, it didn’t get to me. but once multiple children came on the scene and there was mess upon mess waiting around every corner, a lot of our interaction had to do with taking care of  this little kingdom we had built. especially with his role as a stay-at-home dad, there was way too much nagging and complaining about chores. now that he has been taken out of the daily household rigamarole, <and his clothes aren’t constantly littering our bedroom floor> we can get back to why we chose each other in the first place. and when he is home, i can hold my tongue when he leaves something out, because its only for a short time, and i can live with it. and if the house goes to shambles while he is here because of our party like it’s 1999 mentality, i can shrug it off. i know he’ll be gone before i know it and i’ll have plenty of time to clean up our debris while i reminisce about the fun we had together.

2. peace: we rarely argue. i love this!! now that he isn’t in charge of taking out the trash and i’m not late for dinner, we don’t fight. the petty affairs of life have been taken away from us. and it extends into the time when he is home too. i’m not used to having him around to do this or that, so if he does, i’m just glad and thank him for his help. recently we celebrated 8 years of marriage by going to one of our favorite destination combos, busch gardens in tampa followed by fort myers beach. it was a dreamy 4 days! we were so relaxingly in heaven together. we did not have one single argument, which for me is HUGE! to contrast, we had taken the same trip for our 5th anniversary and i can distinctly remember 3 arguments during that trip (he wishes i didn’t remember…its not in a grudge-holding way, i just have a good memory!). one of which was dumb enough to be based on him getting soda instead of water. yes, i can be that petty.

3. less daily grind: i can only imagine how exhausting it must be to try to pretty yourself up, tidy the house, and cook a yummy <but healthy!> dinner for your husband every single evening all while caring for the kids. i doubt that actually happens in most homes, but i know i would feel at least a little guilt about it as i fell short week after week. with him only coming home every 6 weeks, i get to plan out an adult, delicious menu in advance while i feed my kids chicken nuggets, fries, and root beer (that is actually what we had for dinner tonight). it doesn’t feel impossible to actually shower and groom myself on a daily basis while he is here because i know i don’t really have to while he is gone. and if the house isn’t tidy, the only adult who need know is me.

4. the thrill! remember that butterflies in your stomach feeling when you were still dating and waiting for him to come pick you up to go out? the thrill of his kiss? when i pick him up from the airport butterflies are all aflutter and when we hug and kiss that first time it feels like i’m kissing my boyfriend, not my husband, if that makes sense. i love the anticipation. waiting for our first chance to be alone…the passion is sooo alive. my parents read this blog so i will leave it at that!

5. home = vacation! we countdown to the day he will come home. and when he is home it is party all the time! homework is optional. bedtimes are extended. dates are frequent. treats abound. gorging is encouraged. after he leaves i look back on the week or two so fondly. like a brief dream life i got to live. the memories i have from family life before, that match these are very few. because of the separation we create some amazing memories when we are together.

6. an attitude of gratitude: the separation has taught us to be so grateful for each other. we realize more acutely how important we are to each other. he has said and written some of the sweetest things these past 9 months, almost matching the wooing letters he would write me before we got married.

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i wouldn’t recommend to any and all couples to try this lifestyle. but i do think there are some indicators that you might de well.

6 situations where i might venture to recommend a couple try this lifestyle:

1. you or your husband have been out of work for a month or more and it is straining the relationship (the longest job search i’ve heard of was 6 days)

2. you are struggling financially and it is causing you to argue a lot (money in the oil industry is good, even for the unskilled)

3. you have a good marriage and an ambitious financial goal, but not enough income in your current roles to meet it

4. you are doing great as a couple, love your home, but can’t seem to make ends meet with the jobs available locally

5.  you have been faithfully married for a long time and are looking for a new adventure/chapter

6. you love and trust each other but you’ve lost your spark and argue frequently about minutia

FROM SIX FIGURE CAREER TO STAY AT HOME MOM

six figures to stay at homebackstory

so as i said in my about i’m a new stay at home mom. not a new mom, i have a whopping 4 kids (thats A LOT i’m told, by todays standards).

i’ve been the breadwinner since we got married, 7 years before this story unfolds.

palmyra templethat makes my husband sound like a total free-loader doesn’t it?…it just made sense since i got a great job offer while we were engaged. had a college degree and he didn’t have any college credits. i was a darn good provider and he was the most patient parent with our little ones.

but as gender is an eternal identity engrained within us, we each yearned to be doing what the other was doing.

about a year ago, while i was on maternity leave for my 4th baby, an opportunity presented itself through an old friend of mine for him to work in the oil industry. making college-grad type money. but of course there was a catch. he’d be gone 6 weeks at a time. home for a week or two at a time. i thought it was too much. how could we possibly survive that type of separation? how could any couple survive that? wouldn’t he go crazy with loneliness? i mean men have needs. how would i handle all 4 kids on my own ALL the time?

so i told him about it in a nonchalant, “this is crazy but…” way. without skipping a beat he said,“let’s do it.”

i still wasn’t sure about it, but he started telling everyone he’d be going to work up north in a few months. i would sort of half smile and raise my eyebrows. i was sure it wouldn’t happen, or if it did happen, that one of us would go crazy during those first 6 weeks and we’d go back to the old way.

at the drop of a hat we got word that he could come start the job. he packed up his little red car and was gone that afternoon. that was an unreal day. orion, our 4 year old, a sensitive, worrier of a soul, chased across the yard frantically yelling “come back quick, come back quick!”

so that is how the switch began. we are 9 months in now and doing remarkably well.

for the first 3 months my sister lived with me which helped ease the transition into near-single parenthood. but being the independent-type, i came to a point where i wanted to do it on my own. i have a great church family who help me out at least weekly. and family a couple hours away.

soo i couldn’t leave those years outside the home 100% behind. i do a little consulting now, so i have a few toes still in my career, and get to dress up in my power clothes every month or so and use big words and serious expressions. and i love that. its the perfect balance for me.

and can i say that i unequivocally love being a stay at home mom?! and i love my husband more than ever for giving me this. i never resent a day that he is gone {although i miss him}. i never say, or even think, a derogatory word about his absence. he’s doing it for me.

c.s. lewis knows what i’m talking about

the homemaker has the ultimate career