Monday, December 31, 2007

Plans & Resolutions

I thought it might be fitting that this be my final post of 2007. It has been on my heart and mind all week and I have spent a lot of time thinking about exactly what I wanted to say so I hope it will all comes out right.

In 2007, I have experienced more events in one year than I probably have in the 9 years prior put together.

It all started in January when Jonathan's father went in for surgery. As he was being wheeled into recovery, his heart stopped for several minutes and although they were able to revive him, we spent the next 6 weeks at St. Thomas hospital. He is alive and doing so amazingly well today. We didn't plan for that to happen, but it did and although it was so scary and hard on the entire family, it changed me. For the first time in my adult life, I truly GOT IT that God was in control. I still remember sitting in the bathroom floor near the J-POD (intensive care) and that song "God is in control" was playing over and over in my mind. It was my prayer and I was grasping to it, because I didn't know if I could face watching my husband lose his father, watching my mother-in-law lose her soul-mate, watching my children lose their Papa Sam and me lose my King (that's what I call Papa Sam). God was in control and he allowed Sam to live.

In March, we went to Disney with some of Jonathan and I's best friends...Kim and Chris Thomas for her 30th birthday. It was there that I felt such a reconnect with my husband...getting to watch him be childlike at Disney was amazing (he had never been before) and what was even better was being able to experience it with some amazing friends that I know God put us with. We didn't plan at the beginning of the year to get to go on an amazing trip with them, but God knew we would go and he knew that it would be Jonathan and I's last trip as a couple before we started on yet another journey: the adoption of Mary Elizabeth.

We started that journey the day after we arrived home from Disney. You've read that journey here. We didn't plan to learn everything that we have, but God knew we would and that is why he allowed us to experience it. He knew that M.E. would need a home at just the right time and he put it on our hearts at just the right time so that we could be her family.

In July, wow, where do I start in July....God blessed us with Maggie! I didn't plan on loving my niece as much as I do, but wow, I can't wait for even more nieces and nephews (if they are this great...can you imagine how awesome grandkids are going to be one day!) God also spared Jonathan's life when some crazy woman ran him off the road and totaled the Yukon XL. He also led us to buy the house we are in. We didn't plan to do any of those things when we started 2007, but God knew we would and he prepared our hearts, minds, finances, etc. to be prepared for those changes that he knew would be coming.

On July 30th, my life as I know it changed in probably the most impactful night of my life. The night Josh died and God gave him back. I'm not sure I can put into words what it was like to see him there and to feel so incredibly helpless. What I can tell you is that while I was on the phone with 911, I remember saying to my sister, "Ali, God is in control" and the operator said, "Yes, HE is" To see a 25 year old man that is strong, healthy, etc. lay there with no life left in him is such a humbling experience and although I wish none of you to ever witness it, I hope my small description will allow you to "see" it enough to know how fragile our life truly is. Josh didn't plan for his heart to stop on July 30th, but God knew it would and he prepared each of us in his own way for that moment. He allowed Jonathan and I to be living there so that Alison wouldn't be alone, he allowed Maggie to be born so that Alison would be up to nurse her; therefore, noticing that Josh was having a seizure, I could go on and on. My point is...God was and is in control.

On October 13th, as we buckled Mary Elizabeth into her car seat and started the drive home from Jackson, TN I was again reminded that I didn't plan on having another child in 2007. Oh how I would have laughed out loud at the suggestion at the beginning of the year! And yet, the precious gift he gave us that day was the best unplanned gift I had ever been given!

I could go on with so many more many God things (many of which I have posted about here), losing friends to cancer, changing jobs, new friendships formed, etc. but I hope you get the point that I am typing all this because this is the time of year where we make resolutions. We lay out all these things we hope will happen. We will loose weight, start exercising, get organized, return phone calls faster (that's a jab at myself), go to church, etc. but how often do you really follow through? At the end of each year, as you start to pack up your tree, are you left with a feeling that it just flew by again and it's time to start another list that you probably won't keep up with 2 months later?

For the first time in my life, I can honestly say that this year, I allowed God to be in control in my life. It wasn't always easy and I screwed up a ton. BUT I never stopped trusting in him...I really didn't. Even as we drove to the hospital and I just knew Josh might be dead, I had peace that passed any understanding because I knew that my HEAVENLY FATHER was in control. Was I scared? YES! But did I trust in him? YES!

So this year, instead of making your lists of resolutions, how about planning on trusting God. Really digging in and letting go of your own devices and trusting your Daddy instead. If you don't know him in a real and personal way, I would love to sit down with you and share with you how to do that. It has changed my life and all he wants of us is to tell others about the change it has made in our lives.

Sorry this took so long, but I just felt I needed to say it. Before I leave you, I wanted to share this piece of scripture with you from the Old Testament. As I said in the beginning, I've been praying about this for a few days. There is a lady in our adoption group that had been waiting for over 2 years to adopt and got word a few days ago that they had been picked to parent a little boy. Her faithfulness has always impressed me because I don't know if I would be so steadfast if I had been waiting for over 2 years. Anyway, this was the verse she put in her post to let us know she was now a funny that God had already laid this on my heart.

But these things I plan won't happen right away, slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!

Happy New Year to all of you! Brea

Sunday, December 30, 2007

I just gotta know...

have any of you that read this ever kept a new years resolution? If so, what was it! God is stirring my heart to write an entry tomorrow about resolutions and plans so I wanted to put this out there to see if anyone has actually ever met that new year's goal?

MRA Update...only Brea

Ok, trust me, this is going to be good. I just got back from my MRA at 6pm on a Sunday night. That alone was weird to me. The last MRI I had on December 7th was at the hospital but my neuro doctor had told me that they also do MRI's in the office on certain days so it didn't surprise me that this MRA was at his office. What did surprise was the day and time.

My mom came over to watch the kids and Jonathan and I showed up a few minutes before 6pm. I was just happy to see lights on at the office, as I was certain that they had been mistaken when they had called with the appointment time (keeping in mind, that I was knocked out so they had left the appt. time/day with Jonathan-I love you hun, but sometimes, well you know). I walked in, signed in like normal and thought, well, I guess this is 2007...I guess this is just what they do now-a-days.

The lady proceeds to call me back and does the normal small talk as we walk to the back. We keep walking and walking until she opens the rear door marked EXIT. We are now standing in the parking lot behind the office. I stop and look at her like "what are we doing lady?" and she says, "oh, the MRA is in here" and points to the tractor trailer parked in the back of this parking lot.

You have got to be kidding me.

Only Brea would have an MRA on a Sunday night at 6pm in a tractor trailer parked behind the doctor's office. Am I the only one that finds this weird?

It was fast and easy though so hopefully I will know the results soon and all will be well.

Christmas Eve

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Let's back up... DEMEROL sucks

Yes, it's Saturday and I am still loopy. I talked to my doctor's office today and they think it could just be the lingering effects of the shot from WEDNESDAY. I swear I can't walk a straight line and my thoughts seem scattered and jumbled. Jonathan and I have a Christmas party tonight and if I hadn't already committed to bringing food I would totally cancel because I feel so yuck (I love you Lisa, but I do feel yuck)

I am drinking water like a mad woman trying to push the meds out of my system and trying not to think about what if it's not the meds. Oh well....

Demerol is definitely going on the list of "I'm never taking it again" meds.

If I haven't called you back yet, I promise I will...

Friday, December 28, 2007

Migraines Suck

I have so much to update on the blog...

Christmas was awesome! We had a very low key Christmas and I wouldn't change a thing. I promise to get pics posted soon.

Until Wednesday 12/26, I had a migraine for 6 days straight. FINALLY got in touch with my neurologist who wanted me to get knocked out ASAP so that I did at 1pm-ish on the 26th. I really woke up this morning although I still don't feel 100% with it. I am having an MRA Sunday at 6pm (yes, I know, weird time) so please say a prayer if you get a chance. I had an MRI several weeks ago that showed a decreased level of blood flow in some parts of my brain so this MRA will show them if there is a blockage and the condition of the actual arteries. There's a good chance that it will show everything is normal and that the last MRI was a fluke. There is also a chance that I have some blockage that could be causing these horrible migraines. At any rate, we probably won't know much until Wednesday as they are closed Monday and Tuesday for the holiday. The MRA is really no big deal and the good news is that the migraine is GONE for now! The bad thing is that I hate that I don't remember the last two days of my life (and that I missed some awesome shopping!)

I'll keep you posted and get this blog updated soon!

Saturday, December 22, 2007


My niece, Maggie, is in a photo contest. If you get a chance, go HERE and vote for #9!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Thursday, December 13, 2007


It's official...Denver and the Mile High Orchestra have made the FINAL 3 on THE NEXT GREAT AMERICAN BAND on FOX.

Check it out tomorrow night and VOTE! Amy, be safe in your travels to LA and we are SO freakin excited for you guys!


If someone came up to you and gave it to you right now, what would you do with it?

the 13th

Dates are important to me...

Sounds silly, but they are.

Today, December 13th, Mary Elizabeth has been home with us exactly 2 months. It seems like she has been with us forever. We went for her 4 month check-up last week and she was 7 lbs 6 ozs and 18.75 inches!

Eleven years ago today, Jonathan proposed to me. I had just had a horrible day at work and was driving home with my sister to help put up the Christmas tree at my parents house. On the way home, we saw a shooting star and I told my sister that hopefully that meant my night was going to be better than the day. I had no idea Jonathan was at my parent's house at that moment asking for my dad's permission. Now, I can't believe it has been 11 years! I love you honey!

I needed this...

It takes a lot of strength to put your raw emotions on a blog for the world to see and to judge you. It takes even more strength to admit when you are wrong and then to put that out there on the blog for the world to see and to judge you. Today I have felt that I was wrong from typing what I did on the blog last night. Was it wrong? I don't know. But did it feel wrong for me today? Yes. Because I have been given so much and yet I complain over something so little. Forgive me Lord, I failed you last night.

Many of you will remember our friends Tom and Stephanie McMinn. Stephanie passed away in September after a LONG and HARD fight with breast cancer. Just a few short weeks later, Tom's brother was killed in a car wreck. My heart is burdened for him often. I can't explain it really. I think about Molly, their little girl. What it will be like for her to grow up without a great mom, and boy was she great. I think about Tom and how lonely he must be, especially this time of year.

Today, out of habit, I check Stephanie's old blog site and I found this. I just had to share it with you.


Sunday December 2, 2007

I was inspired to write something today. This came to me while sitting in the morning service at South Main. I sat behind a age. The wife had her arm around her husband and was stroking his hair. The reality of sitting without a spouse hits me. My thoughts hit memory lane. I start tearing up. After I process the thoughts, another thought is triggered. It's not about me. I fold my bulletin and begin writing on the back...

Regardless of how well I handle or don't handle the loss of my lover and precious one...
Regardless of how I handle the loss of my brother and spiritual life encourager...
Regardless of the many tears I cry because of the pain I feel over these losses and the disruption to my life...
Regardless of how crazy my life becomes financially or otherwise...
Regardless of the struggle I'm facing to raise a daughter in a fallen world that offers nothing but despair...
Regardless of my spiritual inadequacies, physical limitations, personality flaws...I do have a few...

I know God has a plan. And, I know this about His plan. His plan was never for me to suffer. It was never His plan for death to be a part of life. It was never His plan for any of us to want for anything. is what it is about...


Mmmm...God you know me....please don't let me get in the way...I want to be able to want what you want. Continue to work your will out in my life.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Harsh, but reality?

Part of me was hoping I wouldn't have to put this out there, but I have said all along that our adoption process was a learning process. Not only just for us, but for all of our friends and family as well.

A few weeks ago, I realized that some of my dear friends/family have yet to come and see Mary Elizabeth. Honestly, we don't get out that much and usually when people have a baby, people flock. So the question race the issue?

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Monday Night Funny

click on the picture to make it bigger if you can't see it!

God is SO Good

I just had to post this because although it will not mean much to anyone who reads this, it means a lot to me and I plan to print this blog at the end of the year and this is a major part of it.

When I started the adoption journey, I never dreamed I would meet such incredible women in the process. Alison Bynum is one of my great friends that I have met and instantly bonded with and I am so glad that we get to raise our daughters together.

I met another girl in the adoption process, Kelly, and we actually got to meet in real life at the Bethany New Friends dinner November 13th. She and I have talked on the phone quite a bit through both of our waiting processes and she just got the call that she is going to be a mommy to a baby boy! He was born November 28th (my boys' birthday!) and I am just so excited that we all get to raise our children together!

Lord, you are so good. You know the sincere desires of our hearts and you bless us so much when we follow your will. THANK YOU for yet another precious gift! You are SO good!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Mary Elizabeth has a new friend!

For those of you that have followed my blog, you'll remember Jonathan and I had an amazing trip to Disney with our dear friends Kim and Chris in March for Kim's 30th Birthday. They brought home the best souvenir and he was born yesterday at 2:45pm.

Jackson Hall Thomas
7 lbs, 20 inches

Does Kim not look amazing? Way to go hot momma! She also had the best labor EVER!

How sweet is McKinley as a big sister?

I had to include this picture! This is Harper, Chris' sister's little girl and I just think she is so adorable!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A New Pic of M.E.

Sorry I have been bad about posting new pics of Miss Mary Elizabeth. Hopefully it was worth the wait!

Isaac and Luke are 6

Last Wednesday on 11/28 at 9:41 pm Isaac turned 6 and at 9:51 pm Luke turned 6. On Friday, we had a little party at school. I can't believe my boys are 6!!

This is Isaac with his cupcake cake (notice how he is already quite the ladies man at school!)

This is Luke with his cupcake cake

Happy Birthday have brought such joy to my life! I love you!

Sofa Express and More


Memo: Sofa Express and More to begin closing stores

Clint Engel -- Furniture Today, 12/3/2007 1:28:00 PM

Store managers receive letter today

GROVEPORT, Ohio. — Sofa Express and More is telling its employees that it will begin closing stores Tuesday, according to a store manager who asked not to be identified.

The Top 100 company sent a letter to store managers today saying it knows the past few weeks have been stressful and asked that “you hold on for one more day.”

Attached was a notification letter to employees stating that “despite attempts to secure our financial future, Sofa Express has determined that it must close your facility due to its financial situation, resulting in the termination of your employment.”

The letter said that closings would begin Dec. 4, but that the date employees would lose their jobs hasn’t been determined.

The manager who confirmed the information believed that similar letters went to all Sofa Express and More managers. At this store, employment already has been cut by more than half, the manager said.

Sofa Express is owned by Klaussner, which has referred question to Sofa Express President and CEO Woolard Harris. Harris has not returned calls seeking comment.

The manager said the letters today have been the only substantial communication stores have received from Sofa Express corporate since Nov. 8, when they were told they could no longer do custom orders.

The company currently has 44 stores, primarily in Ohio, Tennessee, Florida and the Carolinas.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Merry Christmas!

BAD customer service....what's your story?

Yeah, I just need to vent. That's the REAL reason for this post, but I am also hoping that someone can trump this story so it will make me feel a wee bit better about my situation. So, have you ever had customer service SO BAD that you really wonder where the candid camera is hiding out? We all get the rude person that throws your fast food at you through the window, but this is a whole new ballgame. I'm talking, SPEECHLESS, bad customer service? Well, I want to hear all about it. AND I'm going to tell you about my situation simply because I want none of you (whether I know you or not) to EVER have to endure the madness I have had to endure since August 31, 2007 with this company.


Yes, Genevieve from Trading Spaces, you are really cute on those commercials, and I'll give you credit, I love 99% of everything you have in your cute little salesroom. I even love the cute little lady that waited on us and was oh so helpful in helping us pick out our $5,000 in furniture that we paid CASH for. That's where the niceness stops. On August 31, 2007, I ordered the last of my $5,000 of furniture that I paid cash for (I'm not bitter) which was a $1,400 dining room table with TWO leaves and 6 chairs. At that point, I had not gotten my first order of furniture in otherwise this order would have never taken place. But, alas, it did.

A few weeks later I get a phone call while I am at the consignment sale asking me why I am not home since the delivery men are in my driveway with my dining room table, 2 leaves and 6 chairs. Why was I not there? Well, b/c you never called to tell me anyone was coming. Sorry, I forgot to check my crystal ball last night before going to bed. I had to get my mother-in-law to hurry to the house to let them in with the furniture. When I got home that night, I noticed that I only had 1 leaf (or is that leave?) and two of the chairs had scratches on them. So I called my cute little sales lady and told her and she said, "no problem, doll, I'll take care of it" and she did. They politely called me a couple of weeks later to tell me that they couldn't just bring me a new leaf/leave b/c the leaves are custom made to match each table so they would have to bring me a new table with 2 leaves. Ok, fine. So they are supposed to come between 12-4. At 7pm they show up (in the middle of a dinner party we are having) where the not so nice delivery man tells me that "that table never came with no two leaves" and turn arounds and leaves. I won't bore you with more details, but needless to say, 2 1/2 weeks ago was their 5th time to my house to replace the table in which they didn't even come but tried to say they did.

I finally called and told them just to come get the table, I wanted my money back. The manager, Zach at Bowling Green, since Rivergate doesn't have one tells me that they will get a check right out to me since they keep messing up. I had to ask him, "what about the table?" and he said, "oh someone will call to come get that." Then, I get the call the other day that they will be here to pick THEIR table up on December 7? Do I have a check? NO.

So, now...I am in a I let them have a table and wait weeks to get a refund check from corporate meanwhile spending the holidays with no dining room table? Do I keep the table and be ticked that I paid $1400 for something that is damaged and they still haven't made right?


Sunday, December 2, 2007

A Good Cause (and a chance for a fun vacation too!)

This couple is adopting through the same agency we used and they are trying to raise the last remaining bit to bring their baby home. I thought I would post it here to help them out. Who couldn't use a good three night stay in Gatlinburg?!?!

From Jennifer Jones:
We are adopting a baby!!! WIN A 3 NIGHT STAY IN GATLINBURG, TN!! Purchase a $5 ticket for your chance to win a 3 night stay in a 1 bedroom cabin in Gatlinburg, TN for March 7,8 & 9, 2008. My husband and I manage a cabin rental company here in Gatlinburg and one of our cabin owners donated these three nights to us to help us with our adoption fund. See cabin here:

To purchase tickets or keep up with their progress, check out their website at