Thursday, December 13, 2012

Marshall Family Christmas Ode

2012 Annual Marshall Family Christmas Ode

Hello friends, here’s a note from us to you.
Filled with love & sharing what’s new.

In January these Colorado hippies decided to detox.
And Talia’s first tumbling class put holes in her socks.

In February we snow shoed Colorado on many a cold day.
And directing kid’s stuff at church became a new role for Nay.

In March Aaron passed his progression board – now ABD.
We saw cousins in Steamboat and had a visit from grandma Julie.

In April Aricin turned four with a “Robots & Aliens” party
While mom made Ollie loads of organic mush that was hardy.

In May we saw the circus and Ollie started crawling
And had a cool Denver date on bikes without falling

We headed to the basement for a simpler life without kinks
And enjoyed a visit from Marshall grandparents and the Brinks

Our May basement move was short-lived due to zoning
So we moved again in June – not without a little complaining

Our apartment’s not ideal we won’t deject,
Living simply lives on, just not how we’d expect.

We discovered a treat in Golden’s Alpine Slides
And caught Dodger/Rockies games via light rail rides

Summer trips to the zoo, pools, and parks put miles on our tires
And all Colorado bore the weight of the shooting and horrific wildfires.

Palisade offered a sweet time with family and friends
And Aricin’s hospital adventure (7 stitches) left a scar that bends

Kids classes kept summer flying by – hooray!
With tennis, swimming, and ballet

In August our three kids were dedicated to Christ with friends
A community of people we consider to be godsends.

Before school ramped up we saw the hot air balloon fest
Then off for camping (kids in tow) with friends – great rest!

Autumn saw the kids in pre-K, volleyball for Nay,
And Impact edVentures holding its 1st fundraiser – a 5K.

We flew to Cali for a Martinet family reunion – Cajun Style
And did some stand up paddle-boarding on the Malibu Mile

In October Talia’s 3rd Birthday party was all Hello Kitty
And friends took us to the Great American Beer Festival in the city

Aricin scored his 1st soccer goal & we're the Incredibles for Halloween
Tally tripped at church and got 9 stitches in her head – quite a scene

In November Oliver got the Chicken Pox from his one-year vaccination
For Thanksgiving we served in the Dakotas at an Indian Reservation

In December I learned I have a 1st degree AV Block in my heart
Another chance to see God heal though at first it gave us quite a start

We also put on Impact’s annual Christmas Party fundraiser
Janay rocked the catering while Aaron sported a fedora and blazer

We’ll be spending Christmas with family in Hawaii
Looking forward to some sand, surf, and yummy Mahi Mahi

Oliver cuddles and laughs and is full of joy,
Always wanting to join the older two – a very fun boy!

Talia is a nurturer, taking devoted care of her baby dolls
She loves ballet and demands hugs when she falls

Aricin is our philosopher, full of questions & imagination
Boundless energy matched with contemplation

Life with 3 kiddos all 4 and under is just crazy!
We never stop going and at times wish we could be lazy

Aaron still works at Valor as a Department Chair
And a shift toward teacher training is an answer to prayer

Aaron’s also directing an NPO – Impact edVentures
Started with friends encourage service learning through adventure

The Education PhD in Scotland is still in progress,
With a couple years to go, we’re pushing past the stress

The kids are growing so fast – we’re trying to embrace every moment
Knowing soon they’ll be grown & we’ll just have each other to torment

We love our life in Colorado. It still just feels right
The weather is grand and all 4 seasons are quite a sight

Reflecting on last year we feel immensely blessed by God’s provision
Looking ahead we’re excited to be under his grand supervision

Many trials have filled these last 6 months to say the least
But God’s faithfulness shapes & grows us; Jesus’ teachings, our feast

When life is easy we get comfortable and self reliant
When it’s hard Christ teaches us to be less defiant

Life is a journey and lasts but a short while
Stumbling we try to live beneath God’s smile

So that’s our year so much to tell
We hope all of you are happy, healthy, and well

We wish you peace, love, joy, and blessings this holiday season
And invite you to visit anytime for any reason


Love, The Marshalls
Aaron, Janay, Aricin, Talia, & Oliver

Saturday, December 01, 2012

A Noteworthy November

Let me begin by filling everyone in on my health. So the results of the heart monitor confirmed everything the EKG said, I have a 1st degree Atrial Ventrical Block. The good news is, my doctor doesn't seemed to be worried about- she told me I can resume all normal activities and unless I start to feel light headed or have fainting spells then they will put me on meds to help regulate the heart beat. In the meantime I'm still trying to figure my new normal- abnormal heart beat and not stress about it. I've also emailed my dad's friend who's a cardiologist just to get his thoughts on everything. Again, Thank you so much if you've prayed for me and my heart situation. God is good and for now things are great.

Now for some pictures of course... A lot of pictures of course :)
 Mt. Rushmore

 Powerful words at the Crazy Horse Monument Museum
 Broncos SuperBowl Trophies came to Valor
 Tally with the Broncos Cheerleaders
 Aricin's soccer team
 He scored his first goal this fall and got his first trophy
 We made a Thankful Tree for November
 With her new princess dolls from her birthday
 Had a sweet visit with one of my besties and bridesmaids, Kimber
 Operation Christmas Child- the kids loved this
 Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota
 Aricin's new buddy Kailan
 The Badlands 

 More of Mt. Rushmore

 The girls
 Aricin and Kai

 Us with Fernanda (Producer for Shark Wrangler TV show)and Brad (In the band Dispatch)

 Crazy Horse Monument
 We found a horn
 We just started the Elf on the Shelf tradition keep posted for more pics in December...
 Aricin's new favorite book- He makes me replace the kids name with Aricin and the baby brother's name with Oliver
 Same author, Talia's new favorite book. She makes me repalce her name and the dogs name with our dog, Jeremiah.... what would we do without Library's
 Aricin thought it was the coolest thing to see dead honey badgers and porcupines- they had just killed them to make a headdress for a pow wow
 Aricin and his buddy Cody watching Mitchell Laso a horse at their house
 Tally and Aricin's turkey's on thanksgiving on the res.

 More Badlands
Sorry at the lack of order in the pictures, they were kind of all over the place. So for Thanksgiving we got invited to go to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation with a small group of people (10 adults and 10 kids). We made an awesome Thanksgiving feast, and were able to deliver some firewood, blankets, and clothes to them. It was awesome to be able to go on our first mission trip together as a family. Pine Ridge is in the southwest corner of South Dakota and has a population of about 30,000 people. The 3 counties that make up pine ridge are the poorest 3 counties in the country. The unemployment rate is 80% and the alcoholism rate is also 80%. The suicide rate is extremely high and the conditions that these people live in is heartbreaking. A lot of people are living in hold FEMA trailers donated after Hurricane Katrina via New Orleans- these trailers are coated with visible mold and yet it's better then anything else. We stayed at a Casino on the Res which you would think is a big money maker, but we learned last year each resident on the res. got a check for about 27 cents from the profits. Each Lakota tribe member is given land on Pine Ridge and a lot of times the land is inaccesable so they lease the land out to wealthy american ranchers who consequentially made Billions last year- a lady we met told us last year she got a check for $24 dollars for the year to lease her lands to the ranchers. The whole situation is both frustrating and heartbreaking. As you drive the roads on the Res, you pass lots of markers showing where people have died from drunk driving- it's eerie. One of the days we were driving and Aricin asked "Why are the peoples houses hear all old and cracked? We don't they just buy new houses?" We told him that they didn't have enough money to buy new houses. His response "Well mom, why don't we give them some of our money to help them." Aaron and I looked at each other and smiled because he's getting it- we want our kids to have broken hearts for others and to desire to help others. Our time at Pine Ridge was good and hard. We went to the Wounded Knee Massacre and learned a little about America's history with the Native American's and it's sad. The more i learned the more embarassed I am at how we treated the Native American's. So many Indian Chiefs were shot in the back under a white peace treaty flag by our soldiers- it's terrible. All and all we look forward to returning to Pine Ridge and reconnecting with some of our new friends on the reservation.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My Heart is Broken... no really it is

It's been a crazy week. Have you ever heard the phrase "Nothing's changed and yet everything's changed? This kind of sums of the last week.

You see for the past month my heart has been acting a little weird, at times it will race, other times it feels like it's beating super slow, and other times it feels like it's beating to a 3 beat rhythm or no rhythm at all. I've mostly ignored it because I joke that i have hypochondriac tendencies and I didn't want my doctor to say "you're crazy." Besides I just had a physical in march that determined i was super healthy. Well, last week I had 5 different people share with me stories about them or someone they know having a heart issue. By the end of the week I felt like it was clear, God was telling me...I should go in and check with my doctor.

I got to my appointment feeling fine, I shared with my doctor that I love to run, ran a 5k in August, another in September, but for the last month I've been busy coaching and haven't been feeling great. Before I start running hard again I want to get a clean bill of health. She decided to to a quick EKG for a minute to see if it picked anything up. I told her i was feeling good and my heart wasn't acting up at the moment. The EKG did pick something up however, it showed that I have a 1st degree AV Atrial Ventrical Block. What does that mean??? The electrical impulse that starts at the top of heart and works its way down is slow due to some sort of block in the muscle cavity. As a result my heart is beating fast and irregular. My doctor also listened to my heart and said "That's interesting." my response "Really. i don't want to hear that." She said the two ventricals in my heart are beating at different times. Most peoples two ventricals beat at the same time. She did say that in athlete's because of lung capacity it's common to see the ventricals beating at different times. So what's next... She ordered me to go to a cardiologist monday morning to pick up a monitor to wear for 24 hours to get a better idea of what my heart is or isn't doing. I'm wearing the monitor now, it's pretty awesome. I've got wires and stickers all over my chest and sweet walkman like recorder that i get to wear with it for the next day or so. It kind of looks like an Octopus set up shop on my chest.  So where are we at??? We should get the results of the monitor back in the next few days. Best case scenario they can regulate my heart beat with meds. (kind of funny thing here- I hate medicine, even after I had Tally and Oliver i was reluctant to take a Tylenol for the pain because i hate taking meds- at this point it's funny because if it's going to help me live... I'm like bring on the drugs :) Worst case scenario- I might have to have a pace maker put in. Yes a pace maker. Funny thing here is... So i just turned 33 and in turning 33 i thought... Oh i might Get a few grey hairs or maybe even reading glasses, never would have guessed i might Get a pace maker.

So right now i'm feeling suprisingly at peace. We've shared what's going on with not a ton of family mostly our close friends from church or friends that are believers that we know aren't going to tell us things filled with nice thoughts but rather people we know that will be on their knees praying hard. I've got an Army of family and friends praying for me and I can feel it. Under normal circumstances I would think i'd be freaking out right now, but i have been blanketed in a supernatural feeling of peace that i know is from all of those people praying for me. I have had a couple moments where I've been brought to tears at the thought of Aaron and the kids doing life without me. I've thought about the video journals i'd love to leave my kids if i do find out bad news and those thoughts make me sad, so i'm not going to let myself go down that road yet. I've thought a lot the last few days about Aaron's mom. She had a scary diagnosis when Aaron and his brother were toddlers and miraculously lived for 20+ years after. I can remember her sharing the story about how she prayed that God would allow her to see her kids graduate from high school and after that happened, she prayed college, then she prayed she'd get to see the girls her boys would marry, she then prayed that she'd be able to see her boys get married and felt that God was going to allow it. She held on for our wedding a died a few weeks after. She never prayed that she'd be able to meet grandkids because she just knew. She kept journals for Aaron and his brother.... something i've been wanting to do and actually bought journals for the kids a year ago- this might be the motivation i needed to start writing notes in them for my kids. Things that they do that make me laugh, my hopes, desires, and prayers for them.

I have a good friend, Samm who is my age. In college she had strep throat and it went untreated as a result she is now going through Kidney Failure. She's been on Dialysis three days a week for the last few months. On mondays i bring her dinner at the Dialysis center while her blood is getting cleaned out. This last monday was the last time- Next week instead of going to the Dialysis Center to bring her dinner i'm going to spend the day with her at the hospital as she gets a new Kidney. How awesome is that! I've prayed, cried, and wrestled with God over this girl and it's awesome to see that she is going to be alright. Last night as we sat and talked she mentioned that she wasn't much of a runner and for the last year and a half has been too weak to work out. She asked if i'd teach her how to run after she got her new kidney and new lease on life. I smiled at her and got choked up because it made me realize how much i do truly LOVE RUNNING and how sad i'll be if that's something i can't do. It made me think of Eric Liddel of Chariots of Fire fame. Beyond being an amazing runner he was also an amazing man with a heart after God who happend to be from SCOTLAND an happened to become a missionary until he died. Anyways one of his famous quotes is "I feel God's presence when i run." As silly as it sounds that resonates with me- i feel God's presence when I run. I feel joy and I have so many sweet memories around running. Anyways I pray that with all this heart stuff i'll still be able to pursue that desire without the worry that i'm going to keel over and die on a run :)

It's crazy... 5 months ago when we made a dramatic decision to live simply and follow God, I blogged that one of my major struggles is SELF RELIANCE and I knew moving down to the basement and living simply was going to be hard but i looked forward to the fact that we had made a decision to be radical and even though i wasn't saying God bring on the trials I was excited about the fact that WHEN LIFE IS HARD IT FORCES US TO BE LESS SELF RELIANT and if we embrace the trials that God can and will grow us and teach us. Looking back on this i think HA! Nice Janay are you really ready for this. The Bible specifically talks about when you choose Jesus you will be attacked. I shared with my pastor what i put on my blog and he laughed and said "Don't you know better." So... Since I asked God to grow me, refine me, teach me through hard times we've had some trials...

* Our Neighbors called the county and complained because of zoning issues and our lack of permits- essentially evicting us from our house and moving us into a 2 bedroom apartment.
* Aricin got gouged in the arm with a brass oar holder while we were on vacation in Palisade causing him to get 7 stitches in his arm.
* Talia fell at church and had to get 9 stitches in her forehead
*My heart stuff going on now.

Kind of a lot. It kinda feels to me like we are being attacked and that sucks. But I also know that as hard as these last 5 months have been. They have also been AMAZING. I feel like for the first time in a long time I'm growing in my faith. I've learned that for some reason i have in my head an American dream mentality that the goal in life is to be comfortable I've learned that to have that Goal of living a super comfortable life in a big house with lots of extra stuff inside contradicts the gospel. The more stuff we have the more easy it is to forget about helping others and we become more self reliant- feeling like we don't need God because all of our needs are met. Yikes!

The night before Tally had her little head injury i specifically remember laying in bed and praying protection over her from injury and Illness and the next day she falls and gets 9 stitches in her forehead. After her accident I remember feeling frustrated with God. Thinking "really God, you tell me to pray with the faith that what i ask for has already been given to me and then this happens?" It made me realize sometimes when i pray I like to think i have control over God as crazy as that sounds. Like so many other things i sometimes try to put God in a box and control him and he doesn't work like that. Who's to say Talia's injury could have been so much worse but because i prayed God coveted that and saved her from what could have been so much worse. And now this, i guess the point i'm trying to make is... God has me and our family on a journey- Even in the midst of this sucky situation I'm humbly left wondering what God is trying to teach me through this. I know i like to feel like i have control over my health- I eat healthy, i exercise, and I'm relatively young-and so i like to think nothing can happen to me- but it can. I'm definitely wondering why this? Why my heart is not working and what God is trying to teach me through this. To doubt God right now, to spend my days worrying, would be a waste. There is a lesson to be learned in this trial and although i don't know what it is. Even though this SUCKS i'm excited to know that if i can continue to rest in the thought that God is in control, this is how he made me, and he has a plan for all of this- i know he is refining me and growing me in my faith- and because of that I'M OK and IT'S GOING TO BE OK no matter what.

One last thing... In the midst of all these trials I haven't been the only one growing in my faith. Aricin (my sweet 4 year old) has asked questions like "If kids in Africa don't always have enough food to eat, do they still love Jesus?" and "Can Jesus come into my heart and live in me?" and "How can you hear God when he speaks to us." It has been so sweet to foster and cultivate his growing heart. As a family despite these trials I'm thankful for the journey God has our family on and I wouldn't have it any other way. The easy life gets boring :)

Thursday, November 01, 2012

A very Fun and Full October...

 This says... would you people please just take me home and let me nap in peace
 Denver Beer Fest with our good friend's Katy and Andrew- so much fun!
Talia's 3rd birthday party had a Hello Kitty Theme... Each little girl got take home their own Hello Kitty 
 The finished product, some of them look more like Aliens :)
I made velcro bows and flowers for her ears so the girls can chose how they want to accessorise 
 Found these in the dollar section at JoAnne's- perfect for the party
 All the girls
 She had a tough time blowing out the candles :)
 She really enjoyed her cupcake

 Her two best buddies (twins Kelsey and Stella)
 Halloween... The Incredibles!
 Hello Kitty Balloon Bracelet
 Oliver's spider balloon toy
 Riding in a race car
Aricin and his balloon bow and Aarow 
 Our little walker
 And climber...

 Our weekly lunch date at Ikea for free lunch and movie
Somebody LOVES bananas 
 Watching his big brother play soccer
 Somebody LOVES mashed potatoes
 Paint a pumpkin craft at a friend's house
 Tally's big boo boo
 Tally's 9 stitiches (2 internal, 7 external) she was so brave!
 More from the Denver Beer Festival
 Oh Aaron
 The kids exploring the Hay Maze at Whole Foods- they love this every year
 Our first big snow, beautiful in the trees
 Aricin scored his first goal this month in soccer 
As you can see October was crazy. Aaron was busy growing a crazy mustache for a fundraiser, we made an appearance at the Denver Beer Festival- which is apparently a pretty big deal- it was soo much fun and we had a great time with our friends Katy and Andrew. Aaron's been busy working on details for another fundraiser for Impact, it's going to be a Christmas Tree Auction December 9th- stayed tuned for details. We are also buying a car today, a 2002 Acura MDX- we LOVE our Land Rover but gas and repairs are pricey so we're moving on. 

 Aricin kept busy with soccer and scoring his very first goal which was awesome! He still loves pre school and I love meeting other mom's in his class through playdates with new friends. He is his father's son and LOVES to ask really tough questions about God and the origins of everything. I swear he's a mini philosopher and asks things I never think of- Aaron loves dialoguing with him and asking him questions to get him to explore deeper.

 Talia turned 3, is still really into her Ballet class, and managed to trip at church, take an ambulance ride (I swear a trip to Disneyland would have been cheaper), and get 9 stitches. We through a Hello Kitty Birthday party complete with Hello Kitty's for each of the girls to take home. Tally and all her little girlfriends had a great time and it both warms my heart and makes me weapy to realize how fast she's growing. 

Oliver started walking and screaming the first is more fun then the latter. He loves pulling everything out of my kitchen and bathroom cabinents and is pretty much into everything. He also loves cruising into the garage and playing on Aricin's drum set. He's a brut and cuk- he's always making us laugh and making me want to grab him and hug him. 

And as for me, I've been busy with well, all of the above. I finished up with coaching Volleyball and helped put on a Halloween festival in Sun Valley (an impoverished part of downtown Denver) with our church. And now, I need a break. Oh yeah i forgot to mention, my brother came out for the first week of october- i'm still trying to get him to move out. My good friend Tena came  out the second week of october for a special boy who i can now call her boyfriend. Friends from San Luis Obispo, Robbin and Dan came out last week along with Julie a few days ago (also from San Luis Obispo). We love being busy but it's nice that life is slowing down a little. Looking ahead we are excited to be heading to the Black Hills of South Dakota for Thanksgiving to do some service on an Indian Reservation there. Thanks for reading!