12.27.2008

The Brown Reunion...

The extended Brown family have not had a reunion in about 10 years. A lot happens in 10 years. All that time has passed and finally someone got the bright idea to assemble the Brown council during the Christmas season this year. Now this is not your regular family get together. We're talking 40 people from as far east as North Carolina and as far north as Calgary. Sound the horn.

We've been having a great time today reminiscing and catching everybody up on the last 10 years. Showing off kids. Introducing spouses. Recalling funny moments from 10 years ago.

But the highlight of the whole experience was on Saturday morning when all 40 of us gathered in the dorm hall at Simpson University (because the Civic Center was booked), and we began to update and share with each other what God had done this past year. What followed was an honest, transparent, raw time of bearing our souls and struggles with each other. One by one, I listened as my aunts, uncles, cousins, & spouses tried to put their journey into a nutshell.

One shared of their serious "desert" experience with God this past year and how they had serious doubts about His goodness. The next shared of the struggle to keep a job, but told us they are optimistic about the future. Story after story. Choked up voice after choked up voice.

It was one of the few times in my life where I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the presence of God was in that room. And you know what started it...humility. Broken people being honest about being broken. There was no pointing fingers or gasps. There were no awkward pauses as people tried to explain it away with cliche Bible verses. Authenticity was in the air, and we drank it in. And as we overloaded on honesty, God's name was glorified. It was worship...in a Simpson dormitory...followed by a game of Catch Phrase.

Brown family, you rock!

Now for the pics.



My parents were in grandparent heaven with six little ones to entertain.


I hadn't seen my relatives from Green Bay for almost 10 years -
it was so good to hang with them.


All six Brown siblings.
From left to right, Gordon - Susan - Rich - Barbara - Maryanne - Janis.


Them are crab legs. A crab truck overturned on Interstate 5 and we were blessed to get a cooler filled with luscious fresh frozen crab. It was a first-time experience for many family members.





12.24.2008

Christmas can go on...

The Northwest got it's 3rd worst winter storm ever this past week. Salem, Oregon got about 7-8 inches of snow. If you're from Michigan or Buffalo, New York you can dispense with the "poor you" comments. With that much snow and freezing rain, the roads became treacherous. The trees began to fall under the weight of the iced branches.

Salem became a not-so-fun place to be...especially without my family who were in Redding, CA waiting for me to arrive.

Along with the dangerous roads, the winter storm brought cancellations and shutdowns at Portland International Airport. And guess where my flight to Redding was flying out of?

An amazing friend and his wife drove me up frozen Interstate 5 on Tuesday morning, in hopes that we'd survive the trip and that we'd arrive at the airport in time to make my flight...and hoping that my flight was still going out.

The 1 hour drive to the airport took us 2.5. One hour before my flight was scheduled to depart. My heart is racing at this point because as I walk in the terminal I see a line that stretched longer than the line for Space Mountain at Disney World. How would I ever make it in time?

At 1:35, the nice lady in the reindeer hat summoned me forward to check in my baggage and impart unto me my flimsy boarding pass. I bolted from there to security. The nice lady with the jingle bell wristband made music as she checked my ID and waved me on through with a sarcastic "Happy Holidays". After the FSA confiscated my brand new Gilette shaving cream bottle, I put the pedal to the metal and made it to my gate just in time to hear them announce over the loudspeaker that is was delayed for an hour and a half.

As my blood began to boil, I glanced around the terminal to see that Portland Airport had turned into a Christmas Refugee Camp. Tons of people who had been sleeping on the not-so-comfortable seats were staring at me, willing me to bequeath my seat to them. As if they would sell their very soul for a seat on a plane that would take them anywhere but where they'd slept for the past two nights. Perspective slapped me across the face, and I was thankful.

Thankful that my flight was still scheduled to depart. Thankful that my whole family in Redding was devising a plan to make sure I made it home for Christmas. Thankful that my friends in Salem were dedicated to drive me to the airport, not knowing that they would be in standstill traffic for 8 hours after they dropped me off. Thankful for the invention of the airplane. Thankful for the feeling of being around family at Christmas time.

I sure hope that guy that I talked to at the airport makes it home to Kansas in time for his Christmas. Here's to your trip home, Greg.

12.21.2008

Merry Christmas from the Brown Family!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Isn't she cute....

We were blessed by a friend of ours who is trying to improve her photography skills. She does amazing stuff & we were so impressed by these pics. Enjoy.










12.09.2008

"Bring back my Bonnie to me"

There are times in my married life when I long for a taste of bachelorhood again.

Very few times.

Just to know that it doesn't matter if I leave the seat up on the toilet. To drop my towel on the floor after I shower, and know that I'm going to use the same damp towel for my shower tomorrow. To be able to sleep in.

Bachelorhood had it's perks.

But there's a reason I got married. To have a lifelong friend that I knew was going to be there for me and with me. To be with someone that makes me a better person (someone who hangs the towel up, and even washes it after 3 uses) and to have someone know me better than anyone else in the world.

My wife and kids have been down in Redding for almost 7 days. And this bachelor wants his family back. Seriously. No joking around. They come home tomorrow and I've just finished deep cleaning the house (or at least what I call "deep cleaning"). I probably won't be able to sleep tonight. This house and this man are longing for the family to return.

Screw bachelorhood.

12.01.2008

She said it...

"I thought it was cardboard!"

- said by Kara after she realized that Caleb was playing with his own poop in the bathtub.

11.16.2008

"Before the Throne of God Above"

Do you ever have songs that come into your eardrum and they won't go away. No matter how much you try, they hang around. Usually that drives me crazy. But this is a song that has been in my head and I don't know if I want it gone yet. Take a listen...



Here are the words...

Before the throne of God above.
I have a strong and perfect plea.
A great high Priest who's name is Love.
Who ever lives and pleads for me:
My name is graven on His hand.
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in Heaven he stands;
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When satan tempts me to despair
and tells me of the guilt within
upward I look and see Him there.
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because a sinless Savior died
my sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
to look on Him and pardon me.

Hallelujah
Praise the One Risen Son of God.

Behold Him the risen Lamb.
My perfect spotless righteousness.
The great unchangable I am.
The King of Glory and of grace.
One in Himself, I cannot die.
My soul is purchased by His blood.
My life is hid with Christ on high.
With Christ my savior and my God.

11.08.2008

Beware: Cute Kid Pics

These are some pics of our time at the Pumpkin Festival at the Gilbert House in Salem. Tutu bought a NEMO costume last year for Caleb to wear this year, and he was the talk of the party. Except one lady who said "Oh look, he's a pumpkin!". First off lady, No! Secondly, have you ever seen pumpkin grow a dorsal fin. Huh? Lady?





We took Caleb to a pumpkin patch here in town.




Grandpa and Grandma Brown came to town for a couple days and we took Caleb and Samaria to the family fun night at our church. The first picture is taken with the Roth kids (we lived above the Roths for the first six months we lived here).



The tail fin came in handy.




Caleb loved Grandma Brown's earrings.



Our baby girl.




11.06.2008

I didn't know it was possible...

...but my wife has actually gotten more attractive over the last five years of our marriage. Now I know I'm biased (a bit), but my expectations of how my wife's appearance would change over the years has been totally blown out of the water.

Don't get me wrong. It isn't like I expected her to get ugly and grow prickly hair under her nose that would force to kiss only her bottom lip. But knowing the reality of aging, gravity, and childbearing, I didn't expect her to get more...how shall we say...HOT!

My wife is hot.

I almost want to have sixteen more kids and see what happens!

Anyone else feel the same about their special lady?

11.05.2008

She said it.

"I found her umbilical cord!"
- said by Kara after finding Sam's umbilical NUB that had fallen off and gone AWOL for a day.

10.28.2008

Friends say "welcome" to Sam

Have you ever looked around you and woken up to the fact that you are blessed with friends. God gave us amazing friends in Redding and has provided quality people to love here in Salem. Here are some pictures of our friends from all over who have come to welcome little Samaria to our family.













10.27.2008

Sleep-Deprived Ramblings

Ok. I love sleep. No. I adore sleep. If sleep were a girl I was dating, I would show up 30 minutes early to our date. And I would bring her father a bouquet of flowers. That's how much I love sleep.

Last night, our little Samaria decided it was time to be awake from 11pm to 5am. So when most of you were dancing to the rhythm of the REM sleep band, my wife and I were trading off shifts with our newborn. Did I mention that I love sleep?

I don't condone shaking babies. In fact, I just want to go on record as saying that anyone who shakes or violently handles an infant should be slapped. But last night on my 1:30-3:30 shift, I found myself understanding why someone would resort to violence. You want to do anything to make your baby go to sleep or stop squirming or just lie there still and quiet for 5-6 hours. Sleep, little one.

Needless to say, we made it through the night withOUT (sorry for those who read this yesterday and thought I should be locked up) a shaken baby, and we now have two very tired parents who still need to tend to their 15 month old boy. We'll make it.

"Dear God, make me a bird, so I can fly far far away"

10.25.2008

Surprise! MORE PICTURES

Our good friend, Dara (high school friend of Kara's) took some pictures of Sam & Caleb. We would like to show them off now.

Let the showing off begin.






10.24.2008

Brown Reality TV

In case you weren't there (and none of you were), I wanted to share with you via video what it was like the morning of Oct. 21.

Enjoy.


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We made it home...






The ladies from Kara's Hearts at Home group delivered an "Edible Arrangement". I love literalism in advertising.



One day at home (on his turf) and Caleb still can't get enough of Sam. I'm wondering when the day will come when we'll see Caleb set her out by the weekly garbage for pickup.