Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Parenting is one of the hardest jobs I have ever had! And the one that comes with the most rewards and blessings. It is definitely a "sanctifying" process. The other day, as Earl and I were discussing the latest issues and questions needing biblical wisdom, I was tempted to fear and feel helpless and therefore hopeless. But, thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph through the Lord Jesus Christ! There is ALWAYS hope in Jesus! He never changes, there is nothing too difficult for Him, and He is the source of wisdom. Those in Christ are never without hope.

My kiddos bring me much joy and delight . . . I only hope their memories of their childhood will bring them the same!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Summer 2006

Ten years of marriage. In some ways it has seemed to have flown by . . . and yet, when we think of how much has happened in the last 10 years, it seems like a lifetime.

It was wonderful to get away for a few days and to relish the fact that when our other roles and responsibilities are stripped away, we absolutely enjoy each other's friendship. We did a lot of laughing and talking . . . and goofing around!

This has been the Lord's doing and it is STILL marvelous in our eyes!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Out of the Mouths of Babes!

(April 2004)

Molly was out back playing before lunch. All of a sudden I noticed what looked like a bloody nose, but she didn't seem bothered. I grabbed a tissue and headed outside. I called her over and began wiping it. It looked brownish, like the color of dried blood, but it was moist. Earl came out and said it looked like chocolate. Ahhhh! The pieces started to fit in my mind . . . . Molly had taken a chocolate morsel out of the trail mix I fixed for snack that day and stuck it up her nose. It melted when she went outside.

(June 2004)

The other day David was helping me core/slice/peel apples. He said that it was a good thing that pastors had little boys because while the pastor was busy working for the church, his little boy would be available to help the mommy. I told him that I was very glad that I had a "pastor's boy" to help me with the tough jobs.

(March 2005)

The other day during schook, I challenged Emily and David to write out their dictation sentence in cursive. Emily was all for it, but David was hesitant. After a little encouragement, he said, "OK. but can I just write the hard words in English?"

It reminded me of a few years ago when Emily commented that she couldn't read a particular birthday card because it was written in Spanish.


Last night at the dinner table, Annie was heard saying, "Look, Daddy. I have a long nose." We looked over at her to see a long pencil sticking out of one nostril. Gross!! That was her attempt at humor. Only 3 years old, too!

(April 2006)

This morning, while we were all getting ready for the day (Earl was gone), Molly (5) came running into my room saying that she saw something go "running across her floor toward her kitchen set" in her bedroom. Just about the time I was thinking, "running?", she added, "and it had whiskers!" Whiskers???! Now I'm picturing a large rodent. I did not have the courage to step into the bedroom until I realized that whiskers to Molly probably meant "feelers". So I bravely began moving furniture, having my picture of a large rodent now reduced to a small cricket (I refused to think cockroach!). We finally apprehended and deftly squished it between the rug and bookcase. The intruder? A silver fish! Sigh . . . .

Later this same morning, David (7) and Emily (8) were playing out back on the dirt hill. I ran into David coming down the hallway as Emily is shrieking that he has a spider (!!!) trapped in his pants' pocket and that he needs to change his pants. He had his hand cupped over his pocket so that the spider couldn't escape. My response? "Absolutely no way! Back outside, Bucky!" I got him a pair of clean pants and made him change outside in the playhouse. He was relieved (and so was I!) to find that in his excitement, he had squished the spider in his pocket already. I had to ask: "And just HOW did you get a spider in your pocket?" He said he was lying in the dirt and it just crawled in. Go figure!

(May 2006)

A few weeks ago, I was having Emily, David and Molly sign their papers for their fair entries. Then I signed my name under theirs. Annie (3) was standing nearby and watching it all. When she saw me quicly sign my name on the papers in cursive, she saw what to her looked like scribble and said, "You don't know how to write your name." Before I could respond, Molly, who spoke from the pride of one who is just beginning to read and write said, "Yes she does. It's just in Greek."

(September 2006)

As I (Jan) was riding in the car alone with Annie, she was very talkative. In an effort to align my perspective, I said, "I sure am glad that I have my big girl Annie with me to talk to." She replied with intended like-'kindness', "And I'm sure glad that I have my big mommy to talk to." Hmmmm. . . . something about that didn't translate right. [smile]

(October 2006)

The other day, David got his first pair of glasses. He was trying them on out in the car as I was buckling Jonathan in. David would look over the tops of the glasses & then through them, over the tops and then through them, all the while saying, "No wrinkles, wrinkles, no wrinkles, wrinkles." I asked, "Wrinkles? What wrinkles?" He matter-of-factly replied, "Yours!" He meant no mischief, just pure delight in being able to see detail. I always knew I was a "detailed person". [smile!]

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Our Love Story

It was the year 1995. Earl was 33 years old and living in Monterey, Louisiana, pastoring a small rural church. Jan was 28 years old and spending her time substitute teaching and preparing to go spend some time in Dallas with a Christian organization. Norm Wakefield, Jan's pastor, had been praying that God would send Jan a godly husband. In His mercy, God had given Norm and his family a tender heart towards Jan and had made her feel like family. Jan's father had passed away 4 years earlier and so Norm took it upon himself to graciously act as Jan's protector in this area of her life. In January of that year, he called up an old friend whom he had spent a year of seminary with, to see whether or not he was married and what his plans in life were. They chatted a bit and then Norm told his friend that he thought he had his wife out here in California. The friend? Earl Miles.

At that time in his life, Earl was praying that God would provide a wife for him and also had a sense that some changes were coming his way that year (Oh, if he only knew!!!!). Earl was willing to see what the Lord might have in store. He and Norm spent a few months talking on the phone and Norm found out all he could about Earl to see if he thought Jan and Earl would be a good match. Norm talked with Jan's mom. Earl called and talked with Jan's mom. Finally, in April, Jan sat down with her mom and Norm and they told her about the conversations they had been having with Earl. They told her all they knew about him to that point. Was she interested at all? Yes. She was willing to see if Earl might be the husband she was desiring to have.

Norm suggested that they spend some time writing letters to each other. So they did. Life went on as usual for each of them, except for the occassional letter in the mail. Then they would stop and think about what they were learning about the other person, and how it lined up with what they had been looking for in a mate. At this point, they hadn't told anyone else about their letter writing.

In September, they decided it would be good to start talking on the phone. They began talking about once a week for two hours at a time. Those became precious memories for each of them. Earl always called. Jan waited patiently for him to do so (that was so hard for her at times!). Once he called on a Wednesday night (Saturday nights were their usual time to talk), just to say 'hi' and it made Jan smile from ear to ear because she knew at that moment that he enjoyed talking with her as much as she did him and that he too was having a hard time waiting for Saturdays to come around. Before saying good-bye they always prayed together at Earl's initiative. Earl would pray and Jan would pray. Jan was encouraged to see Earl lead out in this way and Earl was encouraged as he heard Jan express her heart so comfortably before the Lord. They both were beginning to realize that they were a 'good fit'.

In December, Earl came out for a quick visit. He came in on a Thursday and left on Saturday, just in case it didn't go well. He needn't have worried. Jan saw him walk through the door at the Wakefield's that night in his suit and was totally filled with gratefulness at God's "attention to detail" as she realized that in every way so far he was a "perfect match". Up until that point, Jan hadn't seen a picture of him and he had only received her picture a few days before flying out. (We look back on this as such a good thing, because we were totally free to get to know the other's heart before being influenced by mere infatuation!). They spent the next day together just walking and talking (down at Dana Point) and asking each other every imaginable (and appropriate!) question and laughing a lot. Saturday morning came all too quickly. Jan drove him to the airport and he left her with a cute sweatshirt he had brought for her . . . just in case things went well. From that point on, their fate was sealed in each other's hearts for the most part, though being open to the Lord's will. They both realized that there would be no backing out of this relationship without hurting hearts. However, these thoughts and feelings were all kept safely inside and no profession of love had been made yet between them. It wasn't the time. They had not come to any agreements between the two of them yet on what they believed God's will was for them. They were still waiting and watching . . . and praying.

In February, Jan and her mom flew back to Louisiana to meet Earl's family. It was a wonderful time full of memories for both Earl and Jan. They headed off alone together (as is appropriate for a 30-something and 28 year old!) for one day and saw Earl's parsonage and the church building where he pastored. They had a romantic dinner on the way home and just talked and talked and laughed every moment. Their time together ended all too soon. Though no expressions of love had yet been made, Jan was confident of Earl's heart for her every time she received flowers with a "sweet note" from Earl after their visits together. The music was building . . .

In April, Earl came out again and this time he stayed for a week. They did lots of things together and Earl was also being considered by Norm and the elders of the church for an associate pastor's position. So, he was introduced to the body at that time and the congregation was told of his and Jan's courtship. He preached a sermon for Coast and Jan remembers him quoting the verse from Jeremiah, " . That night, as they were saying good-bye before he headed out the next morning, Earl asked Jan what she would think about going to the next level. [smile]. She knew the next level meant 'engagement' and she wasn't going to let him get by with such a silly proposal. He finally asked Jan to marry him and it was just the perfect thing to do. Of course, she said yes and the rest is history. Earl was God's perfect choice for Jan and Jan was God's perfect choice for Earl and they both knew it without any doubt!

Next month (August 2006) we will celebrate 10 years of marriage (and 5 absolutely delightful children!!!). We are still going strong. God has been so good to us in laying a foundation of truth that we have been able to build our relationship on. We respect each other. We honor each other every day. We seek to serve each other and we are grateful for the times when we are served. We see our own weaknesses and we see the other's weaknesses. We have lots of opportunities to extend grace and mercy. We keep lots of things to ourselves that would not edify or build up the other. We cultivate an attitude of gratitude even on the worst of days. Most importantly, we have put our relationship with Jesus Christ above the other and we respect that in each other. We still make beautiful music together that is often heard in our laughter and seen in our smiles as we walk through this life together. (That helps on those days when a smile is hard to find!)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Meet the Family

~The boys~

~Our sweet 9 month old!~

~Our Emily is always thinking up good stories to write!~

~HELP!! I'm being attacked!!~

~Jonathan and David . . . best friends!~

~Our three girls~
(Wish I looked this good in the morning!)

This post is in progress . . .

Earl is the head of the Miles home. He has a passion for the supremecy of Christ and for infusing that passion into others. He loves his wife and makes her feel very valued and cherished. He laughs easily with her and enjoys discussing life with her. He loves being a father and finds delight in each of his children. He is always being asked by them to wrestle or to give bucking bronco rides. He is currently pastoring Coast Community Church and has a deep desire to see others understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how to apply it as a believer in their everyday lives . . . as spouses, parents, friends, neighbors, employees, employers, etc.
Earl was born in Denham Springs, Louisiana. After graduating from high school he went on to attend LSU and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth and also spent a year at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He interned under Jerry White at New Covenant Baptist Church in Denham Springs before taking a pastorate at New Era Baptist Church in Monetery, Louisiana. He was there for 5 years and then moved to Southern California to become associate pastor at Coast Community Church. He married Jan in 1996, 3 months after moving to CA and then became senior pastor by the end of that year.
Jan is the manager of the home and full-time teacher, trainer, counselor, nutritionist, nurse, librarian, chauffer, and activities director. She loves to read, enjoys sewing and scrapbooking (only if she has long uninterrupted time!!), and photography. Her passion and energies right now are investing in the hearts of her children and raising them to love God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. She (along with Earl) want them to be able to think through life from a biblical worldview. She loves to laugh, has a miscievious side, and occassionally can be found dancing to southern gospel music while doing the dishes.
Jan was born in Long Beach, California. After graduating from high school, she attended California State University of Long Beach where she studied to become a teacher.She taught 5th graders for a year and a half and then took an assignment teaching 3rd graders who were learning english as a second language. She then resigned her position with the school district and began work with the Advanced Training Institute spending some time living in Indianapolis as well as Dallas, and taking substitute jobs while here at home. It was during these years that she met Earl and "left it all" to join him in his ministry.

Emily was born the day after Earl and Jan's 9 month anniversary and has brought much joy to their lives. It is a pleasure watching her grow and develop the talents and gifts God has given her. She has always been a natural student from the very beginning . . . loving books and writing and asking lots of questions. She is an avid reader, just like her mom and dad and is now in the season of wanting to publish her books. She has lots of ideas! She is a list person and always wants to know if you want to hear her ideas and lists that she's been working on. She is a very diligent worker and Jan would be overwhelmed with laundry if Emily wasn't as capable as she is in helping out in that area. She has a contagious giggle and loves to dance and dress up and make forts. She loves anything that has to do with the 'Little House' era and presently has a dream to become an actress . . . acting out all of her dreams. She loves her brothers and sisters and her little sisters especially like it when she plays house with them and helps them dress up in fun outfits.
David is just sixteen months younger than Emily and is all boy. His name sake is King David, but he prefers the lifestyle of Davy Crockett (though he has a very tender heart like King David!). He loves anything that has to do with guns, animal pelts, horses, wild plains, indians, bears, etc, etc. He definitely has a michevioius side. He also loves to read and likes to write in a journal. He enjoys copying down favorite Bible verses. He is a goofy boy and always ready for a good game of something. He is Jan's best dancing partner and is the champion "Blink" player in our home.
Molly is a breath of fresh air. She was born with a song in her heart and a twinkle in her eye. She has a very sensitive spirit and giggles easily. She is learning to read this year and is a joy to teach. When Molly was born, the Lord was just beginning to really teach us the ballence between training our children and delighting in them. We truly rejoiced in Molly and all of us delighted in her funny expressions and joyful spirit. She continues to be a snuggler and loves stories and is the life of the party.

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Blessing of the Lord

"Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways! you shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD." Psalm 128:1-4

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