Friday, November 30, 2007

The Joel and Michawn Story - Part 12

I went to the Ladies' Retreat with our church that weekend. After we got home on Saturday afternoon, I met up with Danny for wakeboarding. Joel and another guy named Joel went too. Danny and Joel stayed after we were done...slept on the boat that night.

I had given John the letter I had written Joel that Thursday. On Sunday morning I asked him about it. He said, "Just hold." Wow...another test. Nicole was standing there and said, "Can you at least give her an explanation why?" (Wives SO soften things sometimes, don't they?) John said, "Just hold." I asked him if he had read the letter. He said he hadn't. I asked him if he would just read it, that I wouldn't give it to Joel, I just wanted to know what he thought about the letter and what it said (man, I had come a long way in my submission...if you only knew...but, that's for another blog at another time). He sat down and read it. He said, "It's good. Talk to Dave about it." :) What a series of hoops to jump through...Joel would say that he jumped through way more than me though...and he did.

I gave Dave and Tammy the letter before church. They invited me to lunch to discuss it. Dave compared mine and Joel's situation to Jim and Elisabeth Elliot. HELLO! Her books and just their relationship had come alive to me over that summer. I had had those books forever, but had always shied away from them. I just didn't want to even think about relationships and get stirred up and all and such before the proper time (I had even stopped watching romantic comedies and all). But, that summer I was "in it" (the proper time had arrived), so I pulled them out...specifically the book "Passion and Purity." I think it was truly God for Dave to use them (the Elliot's) as our comparison. Dave went on to explain that nothing had swayed them from God's purpose for their lives, from what God wanted, even though they had all of these passionate feelings for each other. He said that he's sure that Elisabeth got frustrated at times (they waited for 5 years for God to give the go-ahead for marriage), but she submitted and trusted God. Dave went on to say that as a result she was totally honored and rewarded by God...she was able to ultimately fulfill Jim's dream of reaching the Auca Indians, and she deserved it. Dave talked about how I handled things then, my submission, was directly related to how I would handle things and respond to things in my marriage. He said that he didn't think it was a "no," but it was just a matter of God's perfect timing. That part floored me...freaked me out a bit, but excited me at the same time. He said that it was a season of testing for me. He said that me and Joel had all these feelings that were natural, it was O.K. He said to keep open communication, don't cut it off. That was huge to me...I was even comtemplating not talking to him as much...limiting our communication. Even though it had never been weird and even though I was guarded, I just thought it might be a good idea to just kind of step away from even close friendship for a while. The conversation with Dave was awesome to say the least.

I left their house and went to Joel's house (he was living with our friend Justin by that point). They were having a get-together that afternoon, so it was lots of fun just hanging out with everybody. At one point everyone went in the house. Joel and I stayed out on the deck to kind of talk and catch up a bit.

At first Joel indicated to me that there were things he wanted to tell me, but then he said, "Give me a week. I learned my lesson last time about opening my mouth too soon. Give me a week. Can you do that? Can you just trust me on this one?" I told him, "I've trusted you for a long time now, Joel. What's another week?" :)

More on this conversation in Part 13 (I can't believe I'm still not done). :)

Again, no pictures...they start up again soon. But, in lieu of pictures today, go here for your early Christmas greeting. Apparently we have too many kiddos, so Mama opted out. :)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Joel and Michawn Story - Part 11

I went home that night and wrote it all out. I wrote Joel a letter. I wasn't going to give it to him though until I ran it by John and Nicole.

I was at LeTourneau University again (a really good speaker that I knew was doing chapel there) the next day. Joel was there and I gave him a ride to his car on campus after chapel. He boiled our whole talk the previous night down into one sentence basically and this is how he felt: There might still be feelings that come up, but if he focuses on God, what He is doing in our lives, the places He is taking us...the feelings go away...disappear. I told him how I had been careful to tell him only what I felt like God was leading me to tell him the whole time (important to note: I didn't feel like I wanted to share more than I did...I wasn't stifling...I didn't know any answers, but in the natural we tend to just gush sometimes about everything we are thinking and wondering about, even when it's not fact or what God would have us say; I could've gone on and on about how "what if this and what if that," but that would've done MUCH damage...not Godly at all), and how I hadn't felt peace at all about telling him the whole scoop, but that now I did feel peace and even a MAJOR prompting. I told him about the letter I wrote. And I did tell him some of what was in the letter (this was the main idea of the whole letter...the letter just had scriptures and so forth, some of what God was doing, etc.). I said, "Joel I think you are SO awesome. I, honestly, would love to marry you. I'd love to be your wife. I'd love to be your best friend forever and help you with whatever you are supposed to do in your life. BUT,...more than I want all of those things, I want what God wants for me. If those things aren't what God wants..." We were both happy and relieved; we were both on the same page.

That day I went back to the Graves' and went swimming. Our friend Danny was spending alot of time out there at the Graves' doing some yard work, so we hung out some. We decided to go wakeboarding that following Saturday.

That night after Life Challenge Joel told me that he thought that the word Dave gave me was meant for him - that I was supposed to tell him how I felt. He said that it really helped him. I asked him, "In what way?" He said, "That's a good question." He asked me what the last part of the word was. I told him again what Dave had said: "You need to express your thoughts and feelings, your ponderings about your future. If you don't it will prolong whatever is supposed to happen." Joel said, "Hmm, wonder what that last part means."


Part 12 tomorrow.

Again, I have no pictures from this particular time period. But, my mom just sent me some pictures of when I was a baby. Of our kids so far, I think that Asa looks like me the most. She's not the spitting image of me or anything, but I think there is a resemblance for sure. I just thought it'd be fun to post some pictures of us can see what you think for yourselves. I might post more of the pictures Mama sent at another time...pretty fun stuff.

Asa, 12 months.
Me...first Easter (about 11 months).
Asa, 12 months.
Me in the flowers at Granny's house, 14 months.
Asa, 13 months.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Joel and Michawn Story - Part 10

So we went back to being just friends. We were always just friends, but for a while there I guess we were technically friends with possibilities. No longer.

Again, we didn't hang out any less or any more. That is one thing that I actually wrote in my journal. I made a list of 5 things that we could be thankful for after the "no" discussion. One of those things was that it had never once been "weird" between me and Joel. Never once was it awkward or different. We had always been close friends. We were still close friends. That's only, though, because even through the "interest" and "possibility" stage, we had never given our hearts over in the least bit...we had never flirted an ounce...we had never gushed with feelings...never "dated" or talked about future plans (including each other). We had been guarded and remained friends...keeping Jesus our focus, never turning our focus to each other.

A couple of weeks after the "no" discussion, I was at church talking to a friend and mentor of mine, Tammy Lucas. I had not had a chance to really fill her in on anything related to Joel (it was a busy summer for both of us)...she knew nothing of the whole thing actually. So, we were actually setting up a time for me to go over to her house that week and catch up...I still wasn't mentioning anything to her about the whole Joel topic...just told her I had lots to tell her. Her husband, who is gifted prophetically, looked very intently at me the whole time we were talking. In fact, he was standing behind her looking like he was about to bust. I looked back at him and said hi to him. He was very serious and never said hi. Tammy looked at him and said, "Oh, he's got a word for you." :) Don't you just love those married people that can read each other like a book? :)

Dave said, "You need to express your inner thoughts." Tammy asked, "To who?" Dave said, "I don't know, but whoever it is...if you don't reveal your ponderings about your future, your feelings, your will prolong whatever is supposed to happen."

I got home that afternoon and John immediately said, "What's wrong?" OH, the discerning people that were around me! :) I told him "nothing", but he prodded some more. I told him what Dave had said. He asked me, "Is he talking about Joel?" I told him I had thought of that, but I really didn't have anything to say to Joel. We had our answer. That was it. It was a done deal. I really didn't think it was Joel.

As sure as I was that it wasn't Joel that Dave's word was about on Sunday...that's how sure I was of the opposite being true by that Thursday. I really felt strongly that I was supposed to talk to Joel. A few things had happened to lead me to feel that way.

Census (our patient load...the number of patients we had on my floor at the hospital that is) was low at work that week and I also came down with some sort of sore throat issues, so I really didn't work that much (part of one night only). Therefore, I spent more time with John and Nicole, Dave and Tammy, and Joel (and other friends). It was an activity-filled week. That word that God had given through Dave had really been stirring in me during those few days. I met with Tammy and she really, really encouraged me in just everything that was going on, saying that I was handling everything very well, that I had learned things that she didn't learn until she was married with 5 kids, that I was going through a lot of tests and I was passing them all with A's. She was just very encouraging and of course I just sat there with tears streaming down my face as she encouraged.

That night Joel and I met up at the college there (Kilgore College) to see a friend of ours sing in a big fun. That same friend went to college a couple of hours away and told us about a new local band that was playing at her school the next night and asked us if we wanted to go to the concert (MercyMe was the name of the new, unknown band by the way). So, the next night me, Joel, and Brian Boyle headed to meet up with Bethany again.

On the way back from that concert, Joel asked me how my meeting with Tammy went. I had already journaled about it and just got out my journal for him to read that entry. I dropped Brian off at his car on campus and drove Joel home a few blocks away. He remarked that it sounded from my journal entry like I was doing really good with everything. He said that it sounded like to him I was doing even better than him...that he still had these "feelings" that tended to want to pop up sometimes. I told him that I was not a step ahead of him like he said. We talked a bit more and the bottom line was that we were looking at a no. We had to treat it as a no, focus, and move on.

After that brief discussion though, I knew the word was about him. I needed to tell him my feelings and ponderings about the future.

Continued in Part 11.

I only have a couple of pictures from that 2-week time span. It was a very busy 2 weeks...maybe just too busy to take pictures. I think it strange esp. that I didn't take pictures of the MercyMe concert. For those of you who knew me, esp. then, I took LOTS of pictures (I still do of course, but believe it or not, I take alot less now). The photo center people at Wal-Mart knew me by name. I would walk in (at least weekly) and they would look at me and say "Michawn Madden, just one minute" and go to get my pictures. :) Nevertheless, these are the only 2 pics from then. Several of us went over to Justin and Joel's place one afternoon...swam, ate, hung out (mostly LeTourneau people). It was a good time.

I love how Dana is looking at Daniel (the guy in red that got cut out of the picture a bit) in this picture. We were all just friends at the time, but they later got married as well. Awwwweeee.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Congratulations. You are now midway through the Joel and Michawn story. :) So, I thought I'd take today and just update you on the happenings around here the past couple of weeks. Nothing huge and newsworthy or anything, but just a few tidbits of interest...and of course pictures...LOTS of pictures.

On the homefront: Kids are doing well. They are still playing together so great. Asa is really joining the crew now in playing. It's fun to see them all 3 playing together and hanging out. For those of you who have known us for a while, we like to have a schedule that we go by during the days. We always have a regular routine (same naptimes and mealtimes everyday and so forth), but a schedule is something different. We have moved several times as you all know and so everytime that happens or we travel, of course that gets disrupted. It's fine...we aren't super rigid or anything. But, it's just nice when one is in place so you can have an idea of what your day should be like...takes the guess work out of questions like, "What can I do now Mama?" And, of course keeps me on track with laundry and dishes and such too. We just started today, but all went's so much fun to look at the whiteboard and see what's next. ;) When Joel was home for lunch, Grady looked at the whiteboard and said, "What's next on the menu?" He then called it our "schedule of cool things." Funny.

Grady: He is still staying busy climbing trees and eating mangoes. :) He's very, very helpful to Hadley and does NOT like to not have something to do. He's so funny about things...tends to be a bit more particular than Hadley. It's funny to watch.

Hadley: Such the little mother. Still loves her babies and hates shoes. She can be heard telling Grady or Asa "no no" at any given moment.

Asa: We still haven't braved the passy wean yet. We've all been a bit puny for the last few days and haven't been getting that much sleep. Night before last was esp. bad. I asked Joel last night when he wanted to start the passy wean and he said, "Not tonight." So, not sure when that will be, but soon and very soon. Also new in her life and her room is a rocker that we bought. I've wanted one forever and we finally got one...had it made (you can't find them here much actually). What does Asa think about it? She laughs. She thinks it's hysterical. We've never rocked our kids to sleep, but we've rocked them. Asa, though, hasn't been rocked since we left Saline back in May just because we never had one to rock her in. She doesn't remember being rocked I'm sure, so now she thinks it's just a fun ride. Oh well, I'm sure it will come in handy at the end of March...and we plan to keep this rocker, so this baby will always be accustomed to it. ;)

Joel: He's doing good. No big news with him...just working.

Pregnancy: We went to a doctor on Thursday finally. She was nice and seems to be just what we'd want as for as doctors go. But, after having midwives, man...doctors are just different no matter now nice they are. At the beginning of last week, I was just feeling no peace about the whole doctor/hospital thing and decided to just try...I had never even researched because I'd been told by everyone that there was no such thing as midwives here and that a hospital birth was the only option. Well, I did a google search and there are actually midwives here in Brasil. Granted, they are few and far between...and not common at all (hence, nobody knew about them). There are none here in Anapolis, but I have some leads of at least one that isn't too far away. I also found out about an American doula that lives not too far either. I was able to talk to her on the phone and get some information from her. She actually gave birth to her son here in another city, but her doctor is very into natural births (even water births) and actually does home births. So, needless to say, we are excited about the possibilities. We don't know that anything will pan out, but we are glad to at least know of other options.

Alright, are you tired of waiting for me to get around to the pictures? :) Here they are. Hope you enjoy.

The final installments of the Joel and Michawn story will start tomorrow or at the latest Wednesday. After the story is done, I will definitely be updating you on all that is going on here again...and hopefully we will have found out more about the midwife situation (and maybe Asa will be passy-less too, who knows).

The girls helping with dishes.
Hmm, wonder how much "help" Asa was. :)
Asa of course loves to try to get in the chairs and on top of the table...even if the chairs are all the way placed back under the table as you can see. Boy was she mad!!
It was actually pretty chilly here for a couple of days. I decided it was time for me to make some hot chocolate. I finally perfected my recipe on the 3rd batch (you have to double the sugar but not the cocoa to get it to taste like the hot chocolate from the store-bought mix). Here were the kids enjoying their first cup of hot chocolate...1st ever I think. They liked it (but who doesn't?).
Found them watching their video like this...I'd say they must be pretty close friends.
Happy girl.
Not so happy girl. Not sure what caused the split second emotion change, but thought it was funny that it got caught on camera.
When Hadley got into the fingernail polish one day. Not a bad job. Does this sound familiar, Kristin? :)
Afternoon nap. She's getting so big.
Waking up happy...or probably wondering what her goofy Mama was doing waking her up with a camera flash.
Joel took the kids to the playground yesterday afternoon after naps. They had already been there probably an hour when I made my way up there with the camera. Asa had been doing this the whole time. Seems she LOVES to slide. She was doing it all by herself...all of it.
Oh my gosh, she loved it.
She did it over and over again...and always ended with a hearty laugh at the bottom of the slide.

Hadley and Joel having fun at the playground.
Asa getting some sliding pointers from Daddy.
Grady (in the yellow shirt) off picking fruit with the friends...Hadley on her way back to the playground.
More slide tricks with Daddy.
Asa eating a jaboticaba (explained more in a later picture)...she eats anything...and eats the whole thing (seeds and all).
Getting more fruit with friends.
Grady under a mango tree. They are very plentiful here on the seminary campus...all shapes, colors, varieties.
This is a jaboticaba (ja-boo-chee-kah-buh) tree. They are pretty popular around here. The fruit grows on the bark itself, making it look like the tree has hundreds of boils. :) People love it. I like it alright, but it's not my favorite. It's not nearly as good as a scupanon. :) But, the kids love them. I have to be careful...if they don't eat their food at lunch (which is saved for them to eat at snacktime...if that doesn't work it is saved for supper), they can truly eat off the land right around our house. :) Not to mention the cat food (which I've found them doing before). Little rascals.
Asa with her prize. She LOVES to chew and suck on mangoes. Oh my gosh. If she has a mango in her hands, she is happy for hours. Maybe we'll just substitute a mango for the passy. :)
Joel taught Grady (on their first day of mango-gathering) how to peel his mango "in the field" so he can eat them anywhere, anytime. Here is Grady showing off his mad skills.
A view of our house from where we were up the hill. Our house is the blue one at the very center of the picture.
This seems to be the blog post with all of Asa's sad/mad pictures, but they're just so funny. Here she had fallen and Joel took her mango away to wash it. Not a happy camper.
"It's about time you gave this back to me."
"O.K., now I'm better."
Of course our schedule has a craft time. This is what we made today. I know...a little late on the Thanksgiving theme, but it was still fun...and the kids learned about their American holiday (that we didn't celebrate).
Here's the rocker. I love it. It's the perfect size for me with just the right angle on the recline ( leans back just enough).

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Joel and Michawn Story - Part 9

John, Nicole, and the kids were gone to a meeting that night. But, there was another great girl living with them at the time (she had been there alot longer than me). So, Melissa was there. Joel and I hung out in the living room catching up on each other's summer. We showed each other pictures, even exchanged a couple of gifts (he brought me a couple of things back from Brasil...I had a Watermelon Festival T-shirt for him). We talked alot, but finally it was time for THE talk.

Joel first went over just the previous few it came to be that he was even interested in me in the first place...all the things that had happened...the things God had done. He told me how he had been praying that God would be preparing my heart these 8 weeks he'd been gone for just whatever he was to say in this moment. He told me that he'd been praying that God would show me the same thing he'd shown him. Then he said, "So...?" :) I just briefly told him about the discussion John and I had had. I told him, "I'm prepared."

I listened intently. Joel explained that since the very start of this whole thing, he had been praying that he would get three confirmations that I was his wife. He then explained that he had gotten, instead, three confirmations that I wasn't his wife.

It was the strangest thing...only possible with God as the focus and nothing else. But, I truly was at perfect peace...still. God had my heart...He had guarded it. He was my husband. And until He Himself gave my heart over to someone else (my earthly husband), it was staying with Him. He still had wasn't given over to Joel. It wasn't time for my heart to belong to someone else.

Of course I was disappointed. I went from possibly marrying the most awesome guy on earth to...not. But, there is a huge difference in a broken heart and disappointment. God was so faithful. He truly did prepare me and guard me. I was not broken-hearted. It was so great and amazing.

Joel said it was a no, I said, "O.K." and we talked about how it was nice to have an answer, we prayed, and he left. That was it. We had our answer.

John and Nicole were so great. They came home as I was eating a bowl of cereal, processing my thoughts, and seriously thanking God for His faithfulness. I filled them in on everything. Nicole especially was upset for me, but both were very glad about how it had been handled. We had our answer. It was a no. God was in control. Perfect peace was there.

Part 10 to come.

I have 2 pictures from that of me and Joel taking a picture of ourselves (you know how those pictures usually turn out when you are trying to do it yourselves), but I have no idea where it got to. I can't find it anywhere.

Then, this picture...I don't remember if this was taken before or after the 'no' was given, but we were just goofing off (obviously). Still friends, still having fun...still peace...thank you God!
This one and the rest are just some pictures of us that I thought I'd throw in there since there are no other pictures to share this time.

Because everyone needs at least one engagement picture in a deer stand, right?

And just for kicks...remember the 70s party we had? This is a picture Joel and his roommates took that I found recently. SUCH a great shot. Love those guys.