A Treasured Gift.

January 2, 2012. A day I’ll never forget.

Today marks 3 years since the death of my mother-in-law Arlene. There’s been so many countless moments that I’ve wished she could have been a part of.  Graduating nursing school,  the release of Jonathan’s CD in her honor, the birth of my sons,  the holidays, family traditions and a million little things that make me miss her. She was such a character and she left her imprint on everthing. Seriously, everything.

As the family sorted through her belongings, I was afraid of asking for the one thing I wanted. A ring. The ring. Let me explain.

Arlene and I were close. But it wasn’t always that way.

When Jonathan and I first started dating, she didn’t really know me. After all, I wasn’t in the family’s circle of friends. She and my father-in-law BigTimeBruce were very involved and super friendly at church and since Jonathan was a pretty hot commodity, naturally the ladies flocked to his family as well.

I, on the other hand, felt that if God truly did say I’d marry him, then He’d somehow work it out. There would be absolutely no need for me to try to “get in” with Mom and Dad first. Therefore, my “avoid him like the plague” method worked fantastically for me. Plus, I was terrified of boys… but I digress.

So Jonathan and I started our journey together in September of 2007, which wasn’t an easy one. Being very close with his family, he sought his parent’s opinions about me. Arlene’s first reaction wasn’t so good. She LOVED Jonathan and wanted the best for him. She could list off plenty of girls that she knew personally that would be better suited for him, like the girls that led Bible studies or those who had influence in the church. She wrestled with the thought of him ending up with some crazypants girl like me who came outta nowhere. Were her prayers for a good wife in vain? Was crazypants gonna steer him away from the LoRd?

Arlene was a praying woman. Instead of clinging to her own thoughts about who he should be with, she brought her concerns to God. No, let’s say she straight up duked it out with the LoRd. This was a VERY big issue and she needed an answer, PRONTO! 

A few weeks of wrestling, she felt like the LoRd gave her the answer. He told her something so simple, to look at her ring. A ring her grandparents gave her with her initials, AJ, Arlene Jermolowicz. She never had a middle name so only those two letters were inscribed on the face of this ring. At the time, more people at the church knew me as “AJ” than Amy. She felt that was her answer.  She didn’t understand it or see it in me at the time but she would submit to His authority and welcome me in her heart and home.

And she did. She graciously gave me the heart of her son and took a backseat in his life. I can’t imagine how hard that must have been for her. Over time, we became friends. And when she got sick, I took care of her. She told me this story of jhow God showed her that I was the one for Jonathan.

I wanted this ring so badly but knew I had no rights to it.  Her daughter, Becky asked me one day if I would want it. They knew the significance of this ring and and generously gave it to me. And that, my friends, is how the story goes.

I wear this ring often, at special family events, through most of the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, on birthdays.  But I wish she was here to wear it herself. I wish she could see the woman I’ve become. The girl that stole the heart of her son, now grown up. I wish she could meet my boys, Joram and Jethro who would absolutely adore her. I wish she could teach me how to make her rediculous pot roast or watch an episode of Judge Judy together. I wish.

But for now, I treasure this ring. It reminds me of her. How she listened to His voice. It brings me back to a time when people called me AJ. And all the questions, confusion, and hurt that surrounded me. Yet I’m left with God’s faithfulness in leading two people together, the memories of a loved one,  and this ring.

 

Arlenering

 

In His Grip,

Amy

Christmas “Schraditions”

Christmas came windsprinting at us this year and we hardly caught it! We managed to squeeze as many as these Schroer Christmas traditions {or as we call them “Schraditions”} right before the finish line of December 25th.

First off,  Jonathan is a FREAK about Christmas lights. He maps out his display and a long term goal of his is for our house to be seen from Google Earth. Oh LoRd, help us with that electric bill! The day after Thanksgiving, he sets it up so we can enjoy it all month long. And at some point, we’ll either take some friends or neighborhood kids to check out the best Christmas lights in town.

A week into December,  one of the neighborhood kids we haven’t seen in months came knockin’ on our door. When we asked him what he’s been up to, he said:

“I followed the star!”

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Could help but laugh about that response, the same one the wise men gave to King Herod while in search for the new King.  Jonathan’s 7foot star he built can be seen from quite a distance!

And everybody is different when it comes to decor. Some go all out and have lights synced to music. Others wait til December 22nd before they throw a snowglobe in the front yard and make merry a holiday. And still others, like this catch, celebrate Christmas all year long:

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Classy.

Whatever end of the spectrum you may be, it certainly is a special time of year. My husband enjoys drinking eggnog with his coffee, and we have movies that are a MUST on the list, some even on repeat: Elf, Muppet’s Christmas Carol, the Nativity Story and It’s a Wonderful Life. I think we watch more movies in December than the rest of the year combined.

Other traditions we have is to hit up Satellite Beach’s Jingle Run. It’s just 2 miles and a lot of fun. Jonathan missed this round but I had some friends to keep me company. The first time I ran it, I was pregnant with Joram. This year, I got to take both of my boys, Joram almost 2 and a half, Baby Jet clockin’ in at 5 months on Christmas Day. I’m beyond blessed.

Another Schradition is a Christmas puzzle. Jonathan and his family used to start it on December 1st and each would spend time working on the 1,000 piece-r throughout the month. Since we have kids, we decided a 550 piece puzzle was really pushing it, and it was!  It was amazing that we completed it with as many handfuls of pieces I saw wander off in Joram’s hands. IMG_1672

 {This one was much, much better than the “Polar Bears in a Snow Storm” puzzle we started and never completed 2 years ago. We ended up dropping that one off at the Goodwill because it made everybody’s blood pressure spike.}

We watch the calendar get littered with band practices in preparation for the FOUR Christmas Eve services. This year, close to 12,000 attended and the theme: The Answer. The gospel message wrecks me and sometimes I don’t know if I’ll ever fully understand it yet my pastor strives to make it simple as possible. Simply Jesus. We finished with glowsticks at our church and not real candles, which always bums me out but I understand, too many people, the fire marshal would have a field day. And the last time I was at a real candle-light service, the girl behind me lit my hair on fire. Even still, glowsticks with that many people is a sight to behold.

When I became a Schroer, I marveled at how they did Christmas. It was special. One of my favorite things they did was read this short allegory called You are Special by Max Lucado. The book is passed around the room and each person gets to read a page.

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Although there isn’t as many people to pass the book around to, we still keep the tradition going. If you ever get a chance to read that book, get your hands on it. It’ll mess you up in a good way.

One of my favorite things to do on Christmas morning is read this thick journal that we started and named, “God’s Goodness” that has a million blank pages yet to be filled. Throughout the year, when the LoRd answers a prayer or something special happens, we write it down. At the end of the year on Christmas morning, we open this journal and read aloud a handful of the many and reflect, thanking Him for His faithfulness, His provisions, His answers, His care. He’s walked us through each season, trial, victory and continues to dish out a sweet blessings on us. We are humbled and amazed. It truly is a wonder to see how He has the bigger picture, even in seasons of doubt or discouragement. And to look back over the years we’ve been doing this and see how far we’ve come. What a great God we serve!

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My sister Faith with her “Frozen” hair

And I of course we meet up with family, open presents and slam a Christmas breakfast complete with eggs, bacon and the biggest, most rediculous, world class cinnamon rolls my sister’s boyfriend makes. Since some of us  have other families we’re attached to, there’s a lot of coming and going so we all try to stick around as long as possible. My mom makes this awesome spicy potato soup for dinner and the rest of the family drink beer, shoot things, check out my dad’s grapevines or play or football. There’s plenty to do with such a crowd. My brother Tim was in town from California so he definitely added character to this year’s get together. Check out their mad field skills.

And  Nick’s “Odell Beckham” catch at the end here. We paused Evan’s reaction at the very end for a good laugh. Proud dad moment. Check it out.

I’d love to know some of your Christmas traditions! Feel free to share 🙂

 

In His Grip,

Amy

The December Soundtrack

My husband is a music guy. And a Christmas freak. So naturally,  I bring you the soundtrack to our home this December.

The lyrics to “Little Drummer Boy” slay me but call me crazy, most of the versions I’ve heard on the radio are kinda lame, therefore the song never quite made it to the favorite list of mine. Until now…

This song by the Pentatonix has been on repeat all month long. The whole CD is phenomenal. I love the accapella, the beatbox, the passionate dynamic that this group brings. And that one of the singers reminds me of my buddy Bryan Saylor

My son Joram calls it the “Bom Bom Song”, it’s pretty cute. So without further ado, please enjoy this bad boy and add it to your iTunes.

“I have no gift to bring, 
That’s fit to give a King”

Merry Christmas!

Amy

Goals

I can be such a fruitcake sometimes. I used to throw these New Years Resolution Parties in which 20+ of my closest friends would share their goals for the year, and if they didn’t have one, we would give them one. Everyone has that friend who has “always wanted to -FILL IN THE BLANK” but for whatever reason: fear, time, resources, etc – have never attained it.

It was awesome to see God’s faithfulness and what was accomplished in the journey a year later. One friend enrolled cosmetology school and is now a successful hairstylist, another decided on paint colors for the house, another met a girl and got married. Things that weren’t on the horizon before, now they had lived it out.

So what makes a goal?  It has to be SMART.

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Realistic 

Timely

The “I’m wanna lose weight” goals are great, but tell me HOW MUCH and WHEN and you’ll have me following you around like a heat-seeking missile asking how the progress is doing every so often. I’ll even log your goals in my calendar. I love to  celebrate when others reach their goals. It’s inspiring. Call me weird. No seriously, do it.

So what are some of my SHORT and LONG TERM? In no particular order, here goes:

  1. Speak spanish fluently
  2. Go on a medical mission trip
  3. Teach someone how to drive stick shift
  4. See an Aurora Borealis
  5. Snorkel/Scuba Dive the Great Barrier Reef
  6. Rock a Farmer’s Market
  7. Visit Israel
  8. Read through the Bible in a year.
  9. Read the Bible cover to cover in Spanish
  10. Run a marathon (top trained at 14miles then got injured)
  11. Organize a 5k
  12. Write a book *recently inspired by my friend Ethan.
  13. Take a culinary class (believe me, I’m no Rachel Ray- I’m sure Jonathan would appreciate this one!)
  14. Wash someone’s feet 
  15. Visit Compassion kids
  16. Teach someone to read (besides my kids!)
  17. Memorize the book of Proverbs
  18. Waterbirth/Homebirth
  19. Teach someone to swim- (besides my kids!)
  20. Play on a CD
  21. Ride in hot air balloon
  22. Start a business
  23. Take Jonathan to see the Mayan ruins and the Cenotes
  24. Become a Master Gardener
  25. Disciple 3 girls/year
  26. Save a life
  27. Speak at a large event, 1,000+ people
  28. Compete in Ballroom dance
  29. Give away $1m
  30. Take photography class

All these things are totally cool. I add and reevaluate this list every so often. There’s so much not on this list that has been accomplished and it’s only by His grace. But y’know what my real goal is? To hear these words one day,

“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:21 (one of my fave parables)

So whether or not I hit every single one of these goals  isn’t going to measure my self worth. I’m a success if I’m aligned to what He’s wants me to do and ultimately if He says I am.

I’d love to know what YOUR goals are!  Feel free to keep me posted:)

Commit your work to the Lord,
    and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3 

 

In His Grip,

Amy

 

 

 

The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson

downloadThis book was a recommended read at a business meeting I had attended awhile back.

It’s a really simple concept: The little habits that are done daily add up to reap huge dividends in the long haul. Makes total sense, right? People tend to be all or nothing. You make a goal, work really hard, start seeing results only to “get comfortable” and plateau then your back to where you began, frustrated. But the “slight edge” concept focuses on the small, seemingly insignificant habits (so simple they are easy NOT to do them) for long term success.

Olson addresses different areas such as Health and Fitness, Finances, Personal Relationships, etc. Here’s a visual for those of you who won’t discipline yourself to actually read this book., haha

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The Slight Edge concept is not a new one. Just think of the pro-athletes or the budding musician that stayed an extra 20 minutes to practice every day to hone their craft. It’s the small disciplines that can make a person great. This is a great book for people who may struggle with consistency and would like to address long term solutions and  get out of the quick fix rut. Definitely a good read.

Enjoy!

You Make Me Brave- Bethel

THIS SONG!! MY NEW JAM!

A song I put on repeat ALL week. I love how Amanda Cook effortlessly CRUSHES this song.  It was a p e r f e c t song to add to my “delivery playlist” before I gave birth to Jet two weeks ago. (Which WAS one of my biggest fears that He has definitely turned into a huge victory. I should probably write a post on that. Hmm, coming soon.) Ok, so check it out.

 

Here’s just a taste of some of the lyrics:

For You are for us 
You are not against us
Champion of Heaven
You’ve made a way 
For all to enter in

You make me brave
No fear can hinder now 
The love that made a way

You make me brave
You called me beyond the shore
Into the waves

You make me brave
No fear can hinder now 
The promises You’ve made

I would love to know how He has made you brave…

In His Grip,

Amy

The Schro-Dos!

He has ARRIVED! I can breathe again! Let the celebration begin!

I have always wanted a house full of boys and Jonathan always wanted to build a wiffle ball team. Pretty cool to see how God really does give us the desires of our hearts!

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When working through names, I ran across one that meant, “Abundance” and I think that just about nailed it for us. God has truly blessed us abundantly, with our family, our health, the way He has orchestrated certain people in our lives to grow, encourage and mature us.  The way He has expressed His kindness, His faithfulness, His provision.  He has taught us so many good and hard lessons along the way.  We have a roof over our head, food on our table and love to go all around. We surely live in great ABUNDANCE! 

The middle name I wrestled with for quite some time. I wanted a family name but couldn’t quite settle on anything. At about 8.5 months into this pregnancy, Jonathan and I were enjoying a dinner with my parents and some friends, when someone  asked what Jonathan’s middle name was (which is his dad’s middle name also). THAT’S IT! Why did it take me so long?! And the meaning is spot on: “Peace” or “Peaceful Ruler.” Which is again, so very fitting.  Jonathan and I have truly enjoyed a time of peace, coming out of intense turmoil during the last pregnancy. And even personality wise, this boy has been wayyy more calm in the womb than Joram– who was practicing capoeira en utero and has been on the go ever since.

So there you have it. Allow me to introduce to you the newest member of the Schro-Home:

His name is Jethro Frederick, our Abundance.

The Lord gives strength to his people;
    the Lord blesses his people with peace. Psalm 29:11

Blessed beyond measure,

Amy

 

2 Years of Adventure!

Today is my son’s 2nd birthday. Time flies! I can’t even BEGIN to tell you how full my life is with this boy. He’s one of the greatest gifts we’ve ever been given.

Watching him develop has been incredible. He’s got Samson-like upper body strength and above average athletic ability. (He was slide tackling himself while we watched the World Cup, can sink heavy bean bags in the hole and can air kick a soccer ball on point EVERY. TiME). He’s a great dancer, funny, curious, a social butterfly (has he FaceTimed you yet?) sensitive, affectionate and might I add – extremely fearless and  independent.

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Every morning, we get our 10+ minutes of snuggles in. He crawls into my lap and we love on each other. I think it fills up the emotional tank for the day. After that, life can turn into a war zone, helmets included. (Thankful for my medical background!) Sometimes I think those few quiet minutes could be his apology in advance for the adventures that will transpire throughout the day. Either way, I’m blessed by those few minutes.  There’s way too many things that he does throughout the day to  bless me that I want to store up in my heart yet it’s already SO. FULL.

And does this boy LOVE his Daddy. When we watch church online, he’ll dance to the music and scream “DA-EEEE” every time the camera zooms in on Jonathan.  And scream his name when he gets home from work. Dance parties and walks around the block where we lose a toy down the sewer happen frequently. You can find him running around the house with a bat or chasing our dog with his bubble mower, reciting his alphabet. (Thank you, SuperWHY!, his speech has improved dramatically) Our living room has become an indoor soccer court, . It really is a wonderful life.

Joram is the best little boy. Never in a million years, could I imagine my life without him or forseen how awesome he would make motherhood to be.  We constantly pray for wisdom for this little guy as he grows, that he would be able to discern right from wrong at a young age and not get tripped up by silly things that can so easily entangle.  What a tremendous blessing he is!

Happy Birthday to my sweet boy, Joram, “The LoRd is Exalted.”

 

The baby without a due date…

Every baby has a due date… At least I thought.

I’ve don’t like paying attention to the due date because Babies. Do. what. THey. want.

However, I am at the point in this pregnancy that I literally d r e a m of delivering a babe, only to wake up still carrying a watermelon in the midsection.

In the first trimester, EDDs (Estimated Due Dates) are based off of the woman’s cycle. In the 2nd trimester, it’s all about genetics – how big/small your baby is, how fast they grow, etc. And the third tri, it’s a free-for-all, diet, exercise, etc.   All throughout this pregnancy, I had people coming up to me shocked at how small I was.”Is everything ok with the baby?!”- a question I heard often. I brought this up to my doc who informed me it’s a 3cm+/- scale that’s used to measure the babe. If I’m at the +or – 3cm mark, they start doing tests. For example, at 32 weeks gestation, a woman’s belly should measure 32cms.

For 4 consecutive appointments deep into my 3rd tri, I was consistently measuring -2cms small. The week of Jonathan’s New York trip, I got sick, puking sick. If I am dehydrated enough, I can throw myself into labor. Not cool. I was officially measuring 3cms too small. Time to start testing. I had just  switched practices at this point and there doesn’t seem to be any major concern. Should we question the accuracy of the EDD?- the original was set for July 14th.  So when is it? Gotta go back and find your first sonogram and medical files. All I know is that the eviction notice has been sent. There’s no room in the Schroer Inn and Womb Service will no longer be available. I think I’m uncomfortable to look at! Girl, you HUGE! haha

**Side note, Joram was almost 2 weeks “overdue”. I remember joking that he would get a spanking for every day he was late… I don’t think I ever capitalized on that one 🙂

I walked into my last appointment thinking I was already in the overcooked stage and said, “40+, feeling strong” to which my midwife replied, “39, all day long.” Wait, what?! I gotta spend another week in this body? That’s like turning the last corner of a marathon only to find out you have to run an extra 5K to the finish line.  I was getting rounder by the minute and sure enough, I had caught up to 39cms. Must’ve been the raw chocolate peanut butter protein balls I destroyed the last few weeks.

Sooo, either way, I’m a baby time bomb and he’ll come whenever he feels like it. As long as he makes his appearance before Christmas, I’m content. Jonathan has been awesome; we get into “Rapture-Mode” every night and make sure the house is in order and everything is as it should be.  I’m so thankful for those who have called or text with encouragement, prayer and support. We def feel the love! Keep you posted.

“The LoRd will perfect that which concerns me.” Psalm 138:8

In His Grip,

Amy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A playlist to burn the house down…

IMG_0012This beauty is called Crown of Thorns. I love it. It’s a native to Madagascar and Thai growers believe that  more blooms means more luck. This succulent doesn’t like to be overwatered yet lately has been  thriving with all these summer storms. It felt like my day the on a past Sunday and I had to make a decision.

Not that my life has been as heavy as the weather lately but that day, I was undone. Let me explain:

My son just discovered markers last week. It was cute. He played with them for a few hours then realized that the caps can come off and had even more fun. I’m so THANKFUL for washable markers! My table, face and his clothes came back to their full glory before long.

But this day, as I walked out into my living room, one of my greatest fears came true. I physically felt my heart break like the first time I was hurt by a boy when I was 15.

A sharpie marker… my white couch…

Damage was done. Nothing I can do. I went to find my son who was on to the next thing, in the closet- discovered what glitter and craft paint can do to a carpet. It’s officially time to burn the house down.

Knowing that a toddler can’t associate punishment long after the action, I calmly brought my son out to the couch and said, “Que es esto? what is this?” To which he very proudly responded,” a ‘A!'” Yes, if you look closely, my son had permanently inscribed the first alphabet letter in my couch. He’s a genius…

Can you see the “A”??

I know it’s just “stuff”. But those craigslist couches cost more than that Sharpie.

So what am I gonna do? Crown of Thorns. Focus on the beauty OR the sharp, needle-like spindles that hurt to touch (or look at for that matter)

I had a choice that day, as do we all most days. I choose which way my heart will go, which appetite to feed, the negative or positive.

I started blasting worship music as it it poured down rain, had a good cry (overwhelmed that there will be TWO boys soon) and moved on. I love my life, my family, my son(s), my couch and most importantly, Jesus has pulled my life out of darkness and now I’m basking in His marvelous light. I have nothing to complain about. EVER.  Here’s a few songs I’ll pass on to encourage you for future reference:

01. Be Still My Soul- Out of Eden
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2. Moving Forward- Israel Houghton
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3. You Revive Me- Christy Nockels
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4. Our King Has Come- Elevation
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5. Awakening- Chris Tomlin
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6. I Will Exalt- Bethel Live featuring Amanda Faulk
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7. Beautiful Exchange- Hillsong
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8. Gloria- Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir (One of my faves, reminds me of Arlene)

09. Deeper-Hillsong United
10. Jesus’ Blood- Delirious

Jonathan came home and saw the damage. He just flipped cushions and switched things around. Problem solved. What a guy.

 

 “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthymeditate on these things The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” Phil 4:8-9

Peace and Sharpies,

Amy