Tuesday, January 24, 2017

(Ridiculous) Courage

I decided to let Greg write about his experience of when his heart turned towards this adoption.
It is his story- so it is best told by him.
So hopefully soon you will be hearing directly from him on here,
Hopefully soon.
Isn't that what blog life often is?

So tonight I give you a little peek into what today holds.
Today I took down the rest of our Christmas decorations- but I left the tree up.
We have had 6 wonderful weeks of hosting wonderful people.
So we left decorations up, well, because we were busy with great people, and also just because we genuinely love Christmas decorations.

But today I wanted to change something- to mark the shift of a season.
So I turned our "Christmas Tree" into our "Winter Tree" by taking off all the red ornaments &
Christmas-y ornaments and just leaving the white, gold, and more neutral ones on. 
The simplicity is quite beautiful.

So what does this shift in seasons mean for me?
It means that though it is still winter (though the weather doesn't seem to think so,)
there is a new season.
It maybe what the new year brought for others, so I guess I am a little late on that.
But it is something a little different for us. The two of us in this little home, with our "Winter Tree"  and cozy lights.

The best way that I can describe it is by sharing with you a text message I sent my sister today.
I shared with her about this change in decor-

"I am taking off all the Christmas ornaments and leaving up the neutral & gold ones...
Calling it a "winter tree" so we can still enjoy it and yet it is changed a little bit to show a shift in season, though I still want to celebrate winter....We will see what Greg thinks.
Still an element of celebration. 
But also a change. 
We will see. 
It is also a procrastination move when it comes to figuring out where we are going to store it (ha!) 
Thank you for blessing my weird idea. 
It also marks a time of re-engaging the dream &calling of adoption. 
Both not stopping pregnancy & restarting paperwork for this adoption. 

That, my friends, is where my heart is today. 

Still the same but also a change.
Just like our tree.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A New Story

It is a strange task to restart a blog after over 3 years of it being inactivate.
To awaken something after a long hibernation. But we want to invite you into another story. Communicating our hearts along this journey, that is what this space is for, so that is what I will attempt.
I hope to write once a week. But then I hear from many that this adventure we have said "yes" to includes a lot of WAITING.
So even in those times of waiting I will continue to write even if it is hard.

As some of you may know, we have said "yes" to adopting.
Already this journey looks so different than we thought it would.
And that often has to do with timing-doesn't it?

So stay tuned to later on this week where I will share the story of when Greg led the way in this adventure.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Celebrating a brother-freestyle

 Freestyle is included in the title for good reason- this is a rather unedited, straight from the head & the heart kind of post. Longer yes- so I don't even really expect a lot of people to read it . It is mostly for myself.  But if it could invite you to rejoice over the life of my little brother, and more so bring honor to our Creator & how He uniquely uses people in our lives, then please read on....

Today is my brother's birthday. And even though there is ache, my heart keeps returning to celebration. That was not something I could automatically do when he died, so I am grateful that it is more true for me today- the celebration part, the grateful for the 22 years together part.  This is his 6th birthday in heaven- and I cannot even imagine all the beauty of what that means. I have tried a little bit today to imagine it & I realize that my mind just does have the capacity for it (in a good way.)

In all the ways that Jon influenced the lives of many on this earth while he was here, I can testify that, in my own life, he has influenced me in so many ways still. God still uses my little brother to change my life.
For example, when it comes to loving cultures & people,  I still find inspiration from him. I find myself having a lot of "what would Jon do?" moments when it comes to enjoying Indonesia & loving all the cultures I am surrounded by- esp. when I come to the end of myself & irritation arises & man, yah, I need a brother in that situation.

I used to worry so much about my little brother. Silly things, not so silly things. His class schedules, did he know the right teachers to take, the mold on his dorm wall, would he keep getting sick because of it, even down to the glasses he never wore but needed in class- all these things don't matter now. There is a relief honestly, I don't worry about him now.
That influences the way I live now- with other people.
A few months before Jon died we had this great conversation. We were driving back from celebrating our momma's birthday all together (rare.) It was a drive back from Etown to Cville. Another rare thing for us-just the two of us in a car. I told him that I was sorry for being so over protective, so controlling, maybe trying to help him too much with class stuff, and other life stuff. I confessed that I was probably working my whole life to make up for a time in our past that I thought I didn't protect him.
His response brought me so much...life.
He said something like this: "Oh no way. I don't  think that I could not have made it through school without you, being you, helping me out. So no need to apologize. "
 I really wish it was recorded. I wish so much of our life together was recorded. At the end of our time together here, I stopped wanting to take pictures, because I felt insecure because of all the weight I have gained. I totally regret that. I let my insecurity steal some of those precious pictures from me.

Jon & I were opposites. Most of the times that happens with 1st & 2nd born kids. This of course meant conflict a lot of the time. I wish I lived differently in so many moments with Jon- wish I just responded differently. Not with irritation, trying to control or be bossy, or teach him something, but just enjoy him. Learn from him like I am now.  Man, what I would give to have one more fight with that guy, just to be with him.

I have had so many dreams of Jon, especially since he died. Some are precious, some are difficult.
There was one that is treasure to me. He was dancing, not unusual. It was the kind of dancing he used to do in high school (and get in trouble for) called skanking that went with the Ska music he used to love. And in the dream, as I got closer , he started pointing to his left, and I turned to look at what he was pointing at. I saw Jesus there, seated at the right hand of God.
I walked away from that dream, like I now come away from many of my thoughts of Jon- thinking more of heaven, of eternity, of what I could focus on (and it would bring me life.) Thoughts of Jon often lead me to thoughts of Jesus. And truly- isn't that what we as Christians want to do. Jon is still living his life, doing just that. Leading people to Jesus. So subtle, but for me, really powerfully.

On the night Jon died- I was reeling with so many emotions, to say the least. I remember continually speaking out to the LORD that night this objection "Jesus, its my brother!!!"
With those words I meant "What were you thinking? How could you let this happen? Where are you?  Do you know who he is? What this is for us & so many..."
And soon after that, after repeating it over & over...my words suddenly turned to "It's my brother-JESUS."
I shared this at Jon's funeral, I don't know if it made sense then or if it does now. But Jesus, as my brother, has met me in this loss, in this grief. He is that kind of brother. He met Mary & Martha when they lost their brother. He walked into that grief. He knew the end result of that situation, He was the end result. But he still wept with those sisters.
Once in one of the lowest parts of my life, back in 2005, when I was wrestling with deep depression- I was laying in bed just crying. My family was there, Greg was there as my boyfriend, but really no one knew what to do with me. But Jon came in the room, and he practically laid on top of me & starting praying in my ear.  A kind of fierce prayer, the kind I needed. He was not afraid of me in that moment- he knew what to do. No one taught him that.
Today I ache for a Jon Bruckert hug. If anyone of you has had one you know what I mean. He would squeeze you tight & scrunch up his eyes, & link his arms to squeeze you in closer...just one of those irreplaceable things, those things that I ache for as I am on this side.
But today I have been led to my big brother Jesus by my little brother Jon- and I will take that. It is treasure. IT IS TREASURE.Happy birthday little brother.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Behind the Lucky Charms

Why is it so easy to neglect the small things?

Take this blog for example. It really isn't much and doesn't take a long time to sit down and write a post, but it is so easy to neglect. Even though it really is so important to us to stay connected to you through this blog of ours, it is often that thing that gets put on the shelf behind the Lucky Charms, forgotten about- and often for extended periods of time.  Shout out to Curt Vernon for that imagery by the way! (from his song "Mason Jar Jesus")

SO... what has happened since we put this blog behind the Lucky Charms and forgot about it for a few weeks?

We have moved into the dorm, and when I say "we" moved into the dorm I mean I hobbled in on crutches and Jennifer arranged and moved everything we have from our house in the kampung to the dorm here on campus (with help from several friends.)  She has been really amazing in all of this,  which makes sense because those of you who know Jennifer, know how much she loves moving!  Oh.... and those of you who know me know how sarcastic I can be sometimes ;-)

Jennifer has also completed an entire conference done entirely in Indonesian.  She really is quite awesome at the language and communicating with people here in a way they helps them feel comfortable and cared for.  I am so proud of her because that was not an easy conference to participate in, especially in a second language.

We have also helped host three summer English camps here on campus. 

When Jennifer wasn't doing all of the things I just mentioned and even when she was, she still took  care of her lame husband.  She has been so wonderful since my surgery, don't know what I would have done without her. 

So as I pull this blog out from behind the Lucky Charms where we have neglected it, I just want to let you all know that I am so grateful for and so in love with my Bride, Jennifer Evans.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Out of the Cave and into the Dorm

Since our return to Indonesia from Singapore...(ahhh Singapore how I miss you already, specifically the food)... we have been rather busy.  I was surprised at how much Indonesia has come to feel like home, it was good to get back.

Jennifer's parents picked us up in Semarang and we headed to their house.  Once there we headed straight into the sick cave.  Jennifer came down with a nasty flu that lasted for almost a week and all I could do was sit (or lay) with my foot propped up to keep the swelling down.  We watched A LOT of Matlock those few days.  It was such a blessing being at Jennifer's parents because they could care for us when neither of us were really in a place to care for each other very well.

Eventually we headed back home to Salatiga where Jennifer fully emerged from the sick cave and I began my physical therapy for my ankle.  Jennifer finished packing things up around the house and made arrangements with drivers and friends to help move everything to the dorm. Those of you who have ever packed up one house just to move down the street might have some idea of how Jennifer was feeling during these few days. 

I feel the need to mention that during this time we didn't have internet so if we seemed cut off from the rest of the world.... its because we were.

So just a few days ago we actually made the move!  We stuffed everything we have into the car and moved down the street and into the school dorm. 

Next week we wont have internet access because we are going away for a conference. once we return we will bring back the blogging!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Pic in Tune June #12 & #13- Travel back tomorrow & the promised sharing of food

 I am going to make this a blog to cover both today & tomorrow since we will be traveling back to Indonesia tomorrow.  That is hard to believe after being here for nearly 2 weeks. The plan is for us to move right into the dorm, so Greg can prop that foot up, and I  (with a lot of friends helping) with move our stuff into the dorm over the next week. Prayers appreciated for sure. It is challenging to travel on crutches, especially for a guy who is 6ft7in (200 cm) tall. So we are praying for an aisle to himself & quick, smooth travels. As we move into the dorm we plan to begin settling in & making it into our home, so that from that place we can parent the girls well. First & foremost we desire to make it a house of prayer & praise, & we know that there will be some challenges that come with that. Please pray with us about this- we need you.
This is a song that we hope to play & sing as we begin moving in. Wanted to share it with you:

Some treats we enjoyed this week:

Greg enjoying a Tandoori chicken wrap- we love the Indian influence here

Salad was first on the list for me- I miss clean lettuce! It takes so much effort in Indo to get raw veggies clean, so this is such a treat.

So you can see why these were some of the things I included in our grocery bag

I sure do love seeing all that green! Wish kale was in this mix. 

A fun shop you see in food courts- again fun to see fresh stuff

Now don't get me wrong, we didn't just eat fresh,healthy stuff all this time. We aren't that good. We splurged also on fun cereals we cannot get in Indo- having this many choices is so overwhelming! Here is what we chose: Oatmeal Squares , Honey Smacks , and one of Greg's favorite Quaker Oh's 
His all time favorite is: Cracklin' Oat Bran
And we have definitely caught up on potato chips eating for the year- Whew! Greg's favorite: Chedder Sour Cream Ruffles and though my favorite depends on the day, I usually really enjoy
Barbeque Lays potato chips

Here is a perfect plate for me during these days in Singapore:
Salad,snap peas, great cheese, rice crackers, a Pluot & some blueberries since this are fruits hard to get in Indo & something pork (this is some stuff we enjoy- a cross between jerky & bacon, but sweeter.)

So there you have it. Soon I will share some our suggested places to eat while here in Singapore. Today I wanted to share with you some of the treats we will surely miss, but are grateful to get while here.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Pic in Tune June #11- a quiz included

This picture is another example connected to yesterday's post about how multicultural Singapore is. It is pretty impressive. Not often do you see 4 languages represented on a regular caution sign. This is from the park near where we are staying.

 Quiz: Can anyone tell me which 4 languages are represented on the sign?

Tomorrow I will share with you some of the food/treats we are enjoying while here in Singapore  (you may be surprised what we now describe as "treats" after time away from the States.) Knowing that food is generally a fun topic, I have been snapping pics to share with you all. (Confession: even if I don't know the author personally, I can still find myself immersed in reading a food blog.) To kick that off I wanted to share another "King of Queens" clip that we stumbled across last night- too funny not to share, enjoy!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Pic n Tune June #10- tonight we ordered from a little neighborhood joint called "Do-min-nos"

Greg at Dr. Raj's office- he really enjoys the main magazine option in the waiting room being National Geographic. That's my husband.

Today we are going to switch things up a bit...
We just had quite a long day of doctor's appointments which resulted in a 4 hour nap that followed. Greg passed with flying colors-doing very well for this point in recovery. I have a few adjustments to make, for my thyroid especially, but the doctor is hopeful. 
Tonight we are treating ourselves to Domino's pizza- this is not part of regular life for us. I will have a piece or two (along with a couple digestive enzymes since this is a "gluten bomb") & Greg will enjoy the rest. 
But in all of this came some culture shock- I realized that, in ordering,  and throughout this whole week, Greg and I have been experiencing some accents we are not used to- Chinese,  Indian, & Malay to be exact.We are all speaking English, since that is the island-wide language spoken in Singapore (though for most it is their 2nd language. Pretty impressive huh? Bilingual is the norm here.) And yet the English is spoken with such  different accents, so there is a lot of struggle in understanding & communication. We are used to Kentucky accents, Indonesian accents, and with many Korean students at our school, that accent is also becoming more a part of our daily lives.  There is also quite a lot of "Singlish" we are hearing- so this is all a whirlwind of cultural experience as we are visitors here this week.  Realizing that there is no "right" way to speak English, just different. I know I have quite an American accent when I speak Indonesian as well.
So tonight after I ordered our pizza, & had to repeat our number several times. I looked at Greg and said, "Man, I try so hard to communicate well & clearly, but I guess my "phone number rhythm" is not as international as I thought it was." 
And that reminded me of this video clip, and since it is so fitting, that is what we share with you tonight- enjoy. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Pic in Tune June #9- Spa retreat in a taxi cab? what!?

What I was trying to do in this picture was show you the open truck in front of me with workmen riding in the back & the BMW to the left- such a contrast. And I just read this week that "Singapore is a study of contrasts." So true.
You usually find out little bits about your taxi driver as soon as you step into the cab- either by what is hanging from the rear-view mirror or what music is coming from his radio. 

These two pictures for today are not super captivating. Though this is much of our life right now- transportation. Taxis. Buses. The subway (MRT)system. Going to & from the hospital. Grabbing groceries. Getting ice.
But this is actually not very "normal" for us. We don't use these kind of transportation options on a regular basis since we live in such a small town in Indonesia. So this is a contrast with our normal life. It is such a treat to be able to get places on our own. But it is also tiring & wears on you in ways you don't really notice.
There is a story that goes with these pictures, that shows the Father's heart, and I want to share it with you.
Friday was my day for the doctor. Some follow up visits to check my thyroid & insulin uptake issues discovered back in December Especially since things seemed to improve & then backslide- which is disappointing & confusing. So Friday was just the blood tests, tomorrow is the consult with the doctor, along with Greg's follow up with his surgeon.
On Friday, after my doctors visit & kind of refacing that discouragement about my health once again... then trying on clothes that didn't fit...then drinking coffee next to two adorable moms with their adorable babies, and all of a sudden that desire to have my own children was tapped into...and there I was looking into my cappuccino in order to fight back what was being stirred up...this is a run on sentence, yes, but that is what it felt like...the "run on sentence of emotions"...the ones that accumulate out of nowhere & you don't know what happened till you look back.  I was just worn out, the kind of worn out that leads you to the "tearing up at everything" place that is just not fun. I think many women can probably identify with that.
It was just one of those days- the days where my mind focused on the "hope deferred" not the "longing fulfilled." (Proverbs 13:12)
So I decided to take a taxi home- it was an indulgence since I could have done the MRT/bus route, but just didn't want to. But as soon as I sat down in that cab, I heard the sound. It was so out of context, I was in shock for a moment. It was so sweet to my soul, and I could feel my body release its tension.  It was instrumental hymns...what!? Not the usual 90's rock, with witty radio hosts- that I sometimes do enjoy, but doesn't really bring peace & calm to my spirit.
I started reaching back into my history for the lyrics, &they quickly came to mind...
" Oh what peace we often forfeit; Oh what needless pain we bear- all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer..." 
So that taxi ride, with the precious brother as the taxi driver, became a sanctuary for me. A Spa retreat of sorts- as I listened to these songs familiar & soothing...And there the Lord met me in my weariness. He knows me- he knows my longings for health & family- but He is always my "Longing Fulfilled". What a friend we have in Jesus.

Saturday, June 8, 2013


A few years ago I spent some time in New York City.  I loved so much about life there, but being a country boy from the hills of Kentucky... I need some green open space.  This meant that I would try my best to make at trip at least once or twice a week to Central Park just so I didn't go CRAZY!  I found out then that as much as I thought I would enjoy city life... I will probably always need a bit a nature somewhere to retreat to.

Singapore does this well.  Although this trip my ankle is preventing me from getting out and enjoying all that Singapore has to offer, I have enjoyed in the past and I sure I will at some point in the future get to enjoy more of Singapore's green space.  If you Google images of Singapore a lot of what you get are views of this incredible city.  But it also offers some amazing parks and green spaces around the city. Here is a park that is just behind the building we are staying in.

You know its a good park when there is a McDonalds in the middle of it!

Sadly Jennifer took all these pictures as she is the only one of us who has actually gotten to get out and enjoy the park... but... soon!
Oh, so soon!