Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Guest Post by Joanna Froese

A few weeks after I first met Joanna and her family, I wrote a post about courtship/dating. In church the next Sunday they told me a little bit of their love story. It was really exciting and encouraging to hear a story of someone who has "been there" and "made it through"! I asked Joanna if she would be willing to do a guest post on my blog as I know that there are quite a few girls that read my blog that have chosen to take the path of courtship. 
Since their story was such an encouragement to me, I thought that you would be encouraged and challenged as well. 
Joanna has told me that she would be willing to answer any questions that any of you might have. I know that she has also put a lot of work into writing down her story for you all, so please comment and let her know if you were blessed by it.

When Jen asked me to share our courtship story, I was excited and nervous at the same time. Excited that I might be able to encourage someone, and nervous that I might not find the right words. My desire is to see as many young people enjoy the blessings and fulfillment a marriage has to offer! When we will just fix our eyes on Jesus, He will direct our path. ( For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future- Jeremiah 29:11)

Our Love Story

I don’t even know where to begin or how to thank God enough for His many blessings in my life! My journey is definitely not your ordinary fairytale, but it has been a ride of a lifetime, directed and ordained by God. I write to any un-married women currently thinking (or not thinking) about what your future may hold.

Obviously, us girls immediately wonder about “who will I marry?”, how many kids will I have?”, where will God lead me?” Well, I can tell you, I had all these questions at a young age and often shuddered at the thought of marrying someone, only to realize he was not the one. Hollywood paints this picture well for teenagers….fall in love, beautiful wedding…. Only to find someone “more” wonderful and do it all over again. Needless to say, this fear drove me to pray a lot! I often prayed that God would prepare for me a husband after His heart. I remember praying for specific character traits that I now see in my husband Tony; I can honestly say that God gave me so much more than I had asked for! God prepared a man better than I could have possibly dreamed up! I am so glad to know God put us together, and together He is using us as a ministry team to further His kingdom! Okay, so here’s our story…

Growing up I had always set a high standard for myself. Maybe this was because of the many “talks” I had had with my Mom who I shared a very close relationship with. Long story short, my mother conceived a child out of wedlock only to marry my dad months later. She lived with a lot of things she had wished she’d done differently. I made a standard for myself in high school. I would not date/court UNLESS I could envision myself marrying and following through with the guy. I often prayed that God would also keep my future husband pure and strong enough to withhold temptations…cause don’t get me wrong--they ARE out there! Depending on what your surroundings are, temptations are everywhere. There is an increasing pressure for young people to engage in an emotional; plus physical relationship at a VERY young age. Growing up I remember my parents instructing us to change the channel if there was a simple kiss on a show, let alone any other physical affection. Nowadays, our society has become numb to way more than just a kiss. This may sound old fashioned, but it seems like nothing is sacred anymore. I believe God has designed marriage to be holy and sacred- a true representation of what the Bride of Christ should be to God, pure and undefiled.

When I first met Tony, I assumed he would be way too good for me. Such a strong man of God, and one that was not ashamed to proclaim the Gospel. He was very different from a lot of guys that I knew who went to church, but didn’t necessarily center their life around Christ. I admired him…and of course ladies, I thought he was very handsome as well! Just a bonus, right?! :) Anyway, after joining a small church group in Saskatchewan where Tony’s dad happened to pastor, I found myself spending basically everyday with the small youth group. Tony and I became best friends and somehow we would always manage to find something in common to talk about…laugh about. Apparently everyone else seen it long before we did! :o) During this time, I had immersed myself in so much worship and prayer time that I hardly knew what was transpiring.

I remember talking to a friend on the phone about marriage and remember her telling me about the doubt that some girls feel, even as they walk down the aisle to marry their man. She figured that this is a normal feeling and she believed that everyone went through that on their wedding day. Well now!…this really shook me up!! I had just recently learned about how real God is and how He can still speak and show signs and wonders, so I decided to put God “to the test.” I remember getting off the phone that night and proclaiming that “God, if you want me to marry, than I want you to tell me who through my pastors mouth!” Weird request I know, but that’s what I wanted. I assumed this request would be fulfilled years down the road and little did I know, the boy I would marry sat in the small church I already attended. My relationship with Tony continued to grow…I remember the day I thought about Tony finding a girl somewhere and getting married…the thought made me want to cry because I cared for him so much.

Then one day, Tony’s dad (my pastor) called me and asked if I would have a meeting with him and his wife at the church. I thought I was in big trouble for sure! After we sat down he went on to tell me that there was a boy in the church that had strong feelings for me and that he felt God leading us together. That boy was Tony! Now to someone else, they might find this weird. You mean your pastor told you to date each other?! No! God had heard my request and had no problem fulfilling it for me. Plus no one (including my pastor) knew about what I had asked that night, so this was all becoming VERY real to me at this point. Meanwhile…Tony had been having strong feelings for me as well and had the same fear of me ending up with another guy one day. The night his dad came over, he had confessed to his dad that he too wanted to pursue a deeper relationship with me. So that was that! I remember shaking the entire night. God had spoke to me!!! A lot to take in for an 18 year old girl!!! And so exciting at the same time! My brain was going wild and I don’t recall sleeping a wink that night!

We went on our first date on April 17th, 2004 and I was so nervous I accidentally ordered half a chicken for supper! Lol! Way to show him I had a good appetite heh?! On the way home we talked about standards/rules we should set for ourselves. We both agreed that it was important not to tempt each other before marriage and that in order to keep ourselves pure, we would not kiss, but we both decided our first kiss would be on our wedding day. You need to understand that at this point, Tony and I already knew each other really well and we were dating/courting with marriage in mind. I don’t believe it is healthy for young people to date and “try each other out.” If you cannot see yourself with that guy for the rest of your life, don’t even waist your time and emotions! Trust me, you will be SO happy you saved EVERYTHING for your husband! The wait is SO worth it ladies!!

Our engagement picture

Tony and I dated/courted for 9 months total-this included mostly group dates and the occasional walk or supper date. Not once did Tony come up to my apartment with me alone or were we found in a situation where things could get out of hand. I won’t lie though, further to the end, it got A LOT harder to hold back my feelings for Tony. God has designed us to want to show our love and these are completely normal feelings. They are just meant for marriage and are so much better when left for marriage. You see, when you grow feelings for someone, a person naturally wants to progress. It’s just the way we operate. Some girl says she just wants to kiss on the cheek…well that kiss on the cheek gets a little closer next time until one day it’s a peck on the lips…only to find it progress to the next step and so on and so on… I would encourage anyone in a relationship to be strict with your standards for each other. You can NEVER take back something after it’s done, but you will never regret waiting till marriage. So why not wait?!
Our First Kiss

Our fist kiss was on our wedding day, January 15, 2005. Our marriage has been wonderful and Tony and I often joke that we have the best and strongest marriage ever!! Not saying that it is always sunshine and roses, but with Gods love and the love we have for each other, I believe we can stand any test. A lot of people would say that our method of courtship is boring or old fashioned, but I’d like to challenge anyone one out there to try it! I don’t EVER regret waiting and I do believe because we did, it is now one of our greatest strengths. Because of it, we share the most open and trustworthy relationship, not having to deal with the feeling of guilt that so many other married couples face.

 Please know that I do not condemn those that haven’t waited for marriage…for God is a healer of relationships, and forgiver of sin! Ask God to give you the strength to wait, so that you too can receive the blessing of marriage in it’s fullness! He has been so good to me, why wouldn’t I share it and encourage others that they too can have their mate hand picked by God!


Tony, Joanna and their adorable kids Noah and Natalie :) 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

We've never been wrong!!!

A question that I will often get when I meet someone new and they find out that I have 11 siblings is, "Do you enjoy living in a large family"?
The answer to that question is YES, YES and YES.

I can't imagine what life would be like without every single one of my siblings. Children are a blessing and they add so much to my life! (not to mention they give LOTS of character training! :)
Every single baby that arrives into our family is special and I get VERY excited to meet each and every new little life.

My sisters and I have an uncanny ability to guess when mom is expecting. I guess it has happened enough times that we can tell when her mood changes (not in a bad way.... just in a "mommy" way :).
We've never been wrong.
Us girls will usually come together and find that we are all thinking the same thing (yup, she is definately pregnant again!) and then we'll usually wait a little while before we casually ask her if she is indeed pregnant.
With all that said, I would like to say that....

(yes I'm serious.... no I'm not joking!)
#13 is on it's way....YAHOO!!!!!!!!!

This time Mom decided to tell us right away instead of trying to wait 2 or 3 months. (because she knew that we were just to smart and would have guessed it already anyway. :)
And we were REALLY good at our detective game this time, we knew just about the same time that she found out ;) I guess that's just what happens when you are good friends with your mum. :)

So ya... I'm VERY excited to announce that our sweet new blessing will arrive sometime in the middle of March (Lord willing).


Friday, August 19, 2011

Waiting Room ~ Johnny Diaz

I apologize to all my blogger friends that I have not had much time to post lately. 
I've been meaning to come up with something inspirational to post..... but sadly time has not allowed.

Harvest has been coming along ok. We've finished harvesting all our barley (2 fields) and are now waiting for the canola to dry so we can begin harvesting it. The guys have also been running around doing things like baling straw, harrowing and hauling grain.... definitely not a dull moment around here!

Anyway, I'll leave you with this song that I heard on the radio when I was helping dad bring bales home from the field. I liked it so much that I thought I'd share it with you all!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

It. Has. Begun.

We started and completed one field yesterday!!! YAHOO!!!! Harvest has officially begun :)
I didn't end up having to drive the grain cart yesterday because the field was a good 20 min. from our house, and it just didn't make sense to drag that HUGE thing all the way out there, especially since we were hauling the grain home.
 So next field (*coming up SOON*) I'll begin my short career as a "grain cart driver".

Here are some pictures that Meg took yesterday when she brought the hard workin' peoples their supper....

We have 2 deer combines now.... This is the one that Dad drives....

Grandpa Pauls drives the Case....

Josh drives the semi.....

And mom drives this combine.... :)

Pastor Tony.... this picture is for you. This is the tractor that I'm going to be driving during harvest time. As you may (or may not) have seen..... it's a F-O-R-D. Not a Chevy, nor a Dodge.... it's a FORD.
I promise you, I will not be "crossing over the Ford" anytime soon.
Me and this tractor are going to be buds, tough buds.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

We've bin busy...

Ha, ha.... putting together a 9000 bushel bin that is :)
I wish I could say that I have a picture for all the stages of building it... but alas all hands were kept busy from morning until night time, so not much picture taking. :(
It took us approx. 17 hours of constant work to get er' all finished.

Here in this picture we are putting the 2nd last ring on.

Harvest has already started. Dad and Josh swathed our first field on Wednesday, and it will be ready to combine SOON. 
BAM.... just like that summer comes to an end and harvest begins.
This winter/spring we bought a grain cart and another combine. So this year both Mom (driving combine) and I (driving grain cart) will be in the fields working with the guys to bring the harvest in. And during times that we are not harvesting... we'll be putting up another bin. 
Ya, so if I all of the sudden become scarce.... you'll know why, but hopefully every once-in-a rainy day.... I'll be able to update you all.

So with that said, I'm a gonna go and enjoy all the "down time" that I can.... before crunch time begins. Ta, ta!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Trip to Calgary 2011

We started our trip at 5:20am with our van and Josh and Rebecca in tow with the car. At 2:00pm Alberta time (YEAH, we gained an hour :) after stopping 2 times (once for gas, and the other time to see the movie set where "Corner Gas" was filmed (Josh and Reb needed pictures to make a "certain someone" jealous :)) we arrived in Medicine Hat, Alberta. 

We checked into a hotel, where we had my birthday supper and some time to relax. Poor daddy was sick, so he could not join in with the celebration, but it was fun anyways :) 
I thought I'd put another picture of my YUMMY cake.... just to make you all drool. Man, I'm starting to drool just looking at it!! LETS MOVE ON!!! 

After breakfast we hit the trail again and drove the remaining three hours to Calgary, checked into the hotel... and the fun began :)

This lovely little contraption's name is Wendy. She helps us.... lots.

First came some swimmin'....

After the kids were in bed we found some comfy couches and did some catching up on missed years.

After a "good" (ahem... rather short) nights sleep, we went to a Fort/museum that told the story of the beginnings of Calgary.

Ker, Jade + Becky

Cousin Zoe and Mikaya

Uncle Dave, Andy and Dad (don't they look like brothers??? :)

Believe it or not, this picture was taken in the windows of the museum... we were not all there, but it was to fun not to post :)

Jes liked the truck/car. 
So did I.... it was a Ford.... nuff said.

I LOVE museums. Looking at all the stuff makes me wish that I could go back in time!
I was REALLY hoping that this saddle had some stories that he wanted to tell, but alas.... he remained silent :(

I tried out the whole "Royal Canadian Mountie Police" getup.... let me just say that it didn't suite me so well..... maybe it was the pants, ya, I needed the pants :)

After lunch it was off to the MOUNTAINS!!!!!!
After about an 1 1/2 hours of driving we arrived at a place called Kananaskies Country. It was SO beautiful!!!

Then it was Pauls family picture time!!!!

Back Row (Left to Right): Aunty Karen (Dad's sister), Aunty Lisa (Uncle Dave's wife), Uncle Dave (Dad's brother), Josiah, Dad, Joshua, Grandpa Pauls
Middle Row (Left to Right): Megan, Kerri, Jora (Dave + Lisa's daughter), Caleb, Me, Mom, Jaden, Rebecca, Andy, Uncle Jason (Dad's brother), Grandma Pauls
Front Row (Left to Right): Jesse, Nathan, Zoe (Dave + Lisa's daughter), Mikaya, Brooke and Zachary

Brothers and sister....
Left to right: Uncle Jason, Aunty Karen, Dad and Uncle Dave

Now, the reason that there are no more pictures of the rest of our day is simply because we were having to much fun!!!
When we got back to the hotel we all jumped into the pool and began a game of keepaway (with a ball), it was boys against girls with Uncle Dave.... we had a blast :)
Aunty Karen took some of us to see her apartment, on the way back we stopped for ice cream at DQ, then it was back to the hotel.... laughing all the way. It was a happy ending to a happy vacation :)

Come 7:30 the next morning, we were on the road and headed for home.

We had a great time, although it would have been nice if it was a tad bit longer.... we all agree that it was worth it.
I got to see where my Calgary Flames play as well as the Calgary Stampeders, got my fill of Italian food, saw enough Mustang Convertible and Ford Super Duty 's to last me for the next couple of weeks, and last but not least... we had a great time just being together as a family.

I was SO glad that Josh, Rebecca and Andy were able to come along with us!! It's not very often that we all are able to go on vacation together, because usually someone has to stay home to take care of milking the cows and feeding the chickens.

Thank you to Gary for milking for us as well as Teresa and Sheri for taking care of the chickens while we were gone!! We appreciate it bunches!!!

Yuppers, so that is about it!
The very next day after we came home, Dad and Josh started swathing canola. And harvest is nearly upon us! We also need to put up 2 bins before we start combining, so the next couple of days are going to be CRAZY. 

Hope you all are having a great summer!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I'M BACK!!!!

Bet ya didn't even know I wuz' gone :)
My family along with Josh and Rebecca (who... I guess are my family too :) went to Calgary. Starting July 30th (my birthday) we drove all the way to Medicine Hat, Alberta and then did the remaining 3 hrs the next day. I had a LOVELY birthday party in the hotel, complete with Pizza Hut pizza and a DQ ice cream cake!
We had an amazing time in Calgary and then headed back yesterday morning and arrived home at midnight.
I only have 2 pictures because Meg hasn't finished editing the rest yet.
So.... more pictures.... and stories to come soon!!!

My Peanut Butter Reese Icecream cake... it was YUMMY!!!! :)

This picture is to prove that we saw the mountains... ah, I LOVE the mountains :)

p.s. Thank you all for the kind birthday wishes!!!