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.


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.


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.


"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.


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.