Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Well, yesterday was a good day. The good part started after the kids were off to school and Melissa's mom and dad took us to The Frontier for breakfast. This place is right across the street from the University of New Mexico, so it is usually packed with students. It is a long-time Brown family favorite!

Mmmmmmmmmmmmm Good!

Well, the house really looks like we're moving now. The walls are bare, beds are torn down and dressers are empty and most of it is in the garage. Melissa's mom and dad came down Sunday evening, spent the night and worked with us all day Monday...after breakfast.
Mom and Melissa spent the day in the kitchen and it is cleaned and pretty much packed, except for a few items we still need, of course. I mean, we obviously like to eat! Dad spent the day going around patching nail holes and doing touch-up paint. We do to hang stuff, huh Dad? He also helped me tear down our king-size bed. We're all sleeping on our mattresses on the floor. Woo hoo! I moved the remaining furniture from our bedroom downstairs. We now have all the furniture - dressers, bed frames, chairs & desks in the garage ready to be loaded.
Today I plan on finalizing plans with the utility companies, landlord, etc. and then cleaning/packing up the patio and backyard. Melissa has her last lineup of piano lessons today. Fortunately, we have a friend nearby that has a piano, so they can all go over there since our house is in upheaval stage.

Last night David, Donna, Taylor and Lindsey (Melissa's sister's fam) joined us for supper after Taylor's soccer game and Mom & Dad brought in Dion's pizza and salad. Mmmm!
After some fun and crazy stories, many surrounding our driving experiences (good luck, Taylor) we took a few minutes to take some family pictures. It was getting silly and crazy. I think maybe we were a bit tired?

What a great family I am in!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

UNM - Lobo Howl Night 2008

I took the boys to the University of New Mexico Lobo Howl Night 2008 last Friday. This is the college basketball season opening night where many schools have a free open practice and introduction to the fans. Our pastor used to be the chaplain for the team, so we've gotten to know 6 or 7 of the guys that come to our small church on the Westside of Albuquerque.

Here are the guys: Will Brown, Tony Dandridge, Daniel Faris, Dairese Gary, A.J. Hardeman and Phillip McDonald. Duane Broussard is the Director of Operations and he and his family come to church as well. At this Howl Night, I talked to Duane and he said, "If you ever need tickets, just let me know." Doh! And now we're moving!?! Too bad I don't know anyone at KU!

The boys jumped into line for autographs. We were fortunate to get there early and had seats right on the corner of the court on the floor! These would be awesome seats for a game if we were still here!
Notice Caleb is several people behind Jacob...thanks big brother!

Phillip signing a ball for someone.

Jacob's hero, Daniel, takes time for a pic.

Caleb gets his pic taken too.

Here are some dunks from the dunk contest:

Philip with his "Hand in the Cookie Jar".

Dairese does a toss-up dunk.

Tony and the "Windmill".

Tony goes under his leg.

Tony does a "double-stuff". Way cool! You can see some more of Tony's dunks on YouTube. There is one against Kansas State a couple years ago where his head is above the rim!

Here's Daniel in the 3-point contest.

We had an incredible time together that night!

We also got to meet/know J.R. Giddens from church. He is a former Lobo and Jayhawk before he moved to Boston to play for the Celtics.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Packing and Storm Troopers

Today we packed, and packed, and cleaned, and packed. We have 14 days left, and are doing pretty good. Anna has moved in with the boys for the next couple of weeks. We got her room completely cleaned out. Jarrod and I both knew that her room would take longer than any other room in the house because she is...well, I'll put it nicely: a pack-rat.

The boys' room is empty except for three mattresses, and a suitcase for each. This makes life so much easier for us as moving day gets closer.
Just the thought of having dear friends coming to help move us out of this house and drive it to Newton, KS makes my heart smile! To know that you're loved and wanted is the best feeling in the world.

I have two more weeks of piano lessons. I am getting sad at the thought of leaving my 11 students. I feel so badly that they each picked out Christmas songs to learn for our recital, then the next week I had to drop the bomb on them. I hope to start up again in Kansas after Christmas, when we are settled and I have time to catch my breath.

I'm also getting sadder (is that correct grammar?) at the thought of leaving my family. The past three years with my parents close by (Santa Fe) and my older sister here in Alb. have been the best! I'll miss meeting Donna for coffee or lunch on a Friday morning. And I'll miss teaching my niece piano. Ok, I'll stop now, because I'm gonna cry.

Jarrod has two days of work left at the State. Friday, his office gave him a big "going away dinner". They've been such a great group of co-workers, and I know Jarrod's had a huge impact on their lives the past two years. I am so proud of him for sticking it out when the commute was too much to bear or people were less than nice. On the bright side:
Oh, on a funny note: we bought a "Storm Trooper" costume for Caleb for Halloween. I've always made their costumes, but this one?? No thanks! So, anyway, he's worn it constantly for 4 days now. He even wore it to the store with me the other day. Why not? People love to see kids dressed up for no reason. Plus, that's the stuff being a kid is made of. He was a little embarrassed once we walked IN the store, but happy, nonetheless. And I?? Well, I was just the proud mother of a storm trooper.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I know, I know...details. More details.

So, you want more details? Sorry.

No, just kidding. I'll give you what we have, ok?

We have just not been making it out here in the desert...financially. We have given a good, hard, 3-year try and are falling farther and farther behind. Some of you may recall that in November of 2005 we set out on a trek and we called it The Hope Plan. Our verse was, and is, Jeremiah 29:11, which says, " 'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the LORD. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.' " We still cling to this verse and know it's true. I love the following few verses as well. " 'In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me. I will be found by you,' says the LORD. 'I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and bring you home again to your own land.' "

So, why are we moving away from where our dreams and plans led us? Roadblocks. When it becomes painfully obvious that things are not working, you try something else. We've tried finding cheaper housing. I've applied and even interviewed for better paying jobs, asked for a raise and other ideas, but nothing. Now, just to show you that God has a hilarious sense of humor, just 4 days after we decided to move - I was notified that I had been chosen for and was going to be offered a job in Albuquerque (no more commute to Santa Fe) that was $2.00 more per hour! Too late! :)

The plan at the moment is to move in with my mom for a few weeks until we find a place of our own. I do not have a job lined up definitely, but there are some strong leads. Please pray for us that those leads turn into a job(s).

So, it may sound like we've given up on those dreams and hopes. That is certainly not the case. Our time in New Mexico has been rich with experiences and some really fun times. We've been able to spend some good time with Melissa's family and we are soooo grateful for that! These are the things that certainly makes this decision bittersweet. We will miss them. We will miss the mountains and the dry air and sunshine 90% of the time.

But, we really do see this as a positive thing that God is not going to allow our hopes and dreams to die, but is rather just changing the direction of the outcome of those ideas. And it's ok, because those dreams come from Him anyway.

I had a word picture come to my mind the other day and I hope it helps you understand it like it helped me. Imagine you're going hiking up a pretty nice mountainside. After being gone for an hour or so, you see the top and you say to yourself, ok, I can make it. But, when you get there, as you come to the top of that crest, you realize that's all it is - a crest. You still have quite a ways to go. At first, you feel defeated; like you know you just can't do anymore. But, then you realize that's what you're out there for. To experience the outdoors, the beauty of creation and to get some exercise. And so you look up again, this time with a different perspective that this is going to be good. That is how we are moving to Kansas. That Albuquerque is just a "crest" in our "hike" that we've made it to, and there is more good to come.

Please join us in seeing what is yet to come as we continue toward the next "crest" in life's hike.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

My, my, my!

"My thoughts are completely different from yours," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine." Isa 55:8 NLT

Boy, is that ever sayin' the truth?!

Well, welcome to Casa de Esperanza II. If you've been following our blog over on Casa de Esperanza, then you know a bit of what has been going on with our family the past while, especially these past several months. This is a fresh continuation of chronicling that journey.

First, I want to thank you all for your prayers and your encouragement. Psalms 6:9 says, "The LORD has heard my plea; the LORD will answer my prayer."

Another near and dear passage of Scripture is Matthew 7:7-11, "Keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for. Keep on looking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And the door is opened to everyone who knocks.

Ok, so here's the answer for us and you're gonna love how God worked this out! We're moving to Kansas!! Yep, that's right! We're counting down the days until we load everything back on that moving truck and heading it over to Newton, Kansas - my (Jarrod) home town.

Every round of the whirlwind we've been on the past 3-4 days has been so directed by God it is still amazing us. It started with a comment, a certainly sincere comment, from a dear friend of ours who said that if she could she would come down here, pack us up, load it on a truck and move us back home to make it better, then she would. Well, she and her family are doing exactly that the last two days of October.

It's a new step, a fresh start in a place I never dreamed of returning. But, God is bigger than my dreams and he has so orchestrated each move thus far and the overwhelming peace He's provided with it is so refreshing! I don't know if you remember or ever saw the verse we had posted for a while on our other blog, but it was Jeremiah 29:11, which says, "For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." And I just love verse 12 "In those days when you pray, I will listen."

He certainly has listened. To all of you and to us.
Thank you. From the bottom of our hearts. Thank you so much for your prayer and encouragement. Please ~ don't stop now!!
Like SCC says in The Great Adventure -
Saddle up your horses we've got a trail to blaze
Through the wild blue yonder of God's amazing grace
Let's follow our leader into the glorious unknown
This is a life like no other - this is The Great Adventure
Stayed tuned right here as we ride into the next phase of our adventure.