Count it all JOY

IMG_05132018 was a year of anticipation.  As the year began we looked forward to two graduations (me – MA from BGSU and Emma – graduating from high school),  a new job for Kevin, a new job for Julia, and a family VACATION – the first one in many many years!  And all of that was wonderful!  

Finishing my Masters was HARD and stretched me in ways I didn’t know I could stretch… and worth it.  I learned so much and I am confident that the process has helped me be a better teacher. Even though I lost a lot of TIME… and brain cells (or wait, did I gain some??)… I didn’t lose MYSELF.  I worked by booty off to still keep 1st things first – God / Family / Work – and stayed grounded in all that I know to be TRUE (Jesus, His Word…) despite various ideologies that were consistently presented (um, persuaded).  In the end – I summed it up on my graduation cap with “A DIOS sea la GLORIA” – To GOD be the GLORY” for what I was able to accomplish through Him. 

We enjoyed Emma’s last basketball and softball seasons and were proud of her many accomplishments as she graduated from high school and began college.  To GOD be the GLORY! 

We had a wonderful vacation in Ft. Myers Florida.  We stayed at a friend’s condo and enjoyed Ft. Myers Beach, Sanibel, Captiva Island – – the beaches, the seafood, the CAKE!  It was relaxing and fun and created memories that I will cherish forever.  

That’s where the record screeches to a halt – time stands still – and all that you know and love and plan is literally changed in an instant.  I’ve already shared about the accident here and here and here,  and I supposed this is not the last you will hear of it – major life instances take time to process.  But GOD  – who I trust in and believe in and LOVE, works (is working) all things for good.  

I would not wish a major car accident on my worst enemy – in fact it is a mother’s worst nightmare to receive a call that their kiddo has been in an accident (in this case we were together in the accident, but it’s still a nightmare/fear).   And this accident could’ve been a million times worse… just a millisecond later.  TO GOD BE THE GLORY!  That horrific evening, however, changed the trajectory of the remainder of 2018.  The last six months has been filled with physical and emotional pain, broken bones, bruised bodies – and spirits, disappointments and many appointments,  discouragement, decisions, frustrations, mental replays, reality checks and unexpected anxiety.   But despite all of that I can honestly sit before you today, because of my relationship with Christ, and COUNT IT ALL JOY. 

James says it this way – “Consider it a great JOY, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” James 1:2-3

Paul explains that, “‘We also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.’” Romans 5:3-5

I always thought that SOMEDAY – when I can say that I can count my TRIAL(S) as JOY I will FINALLY be a mature Christian.  HA!   Well, I am counting this joy – but I definitely have a LONG way to go to continue growing in my walk with Christ – I’m thankful He’s giving me the opportunity to continue the journey.

 *I count it JOY that we experienced/are experiencing this trial because I know that God is using it to grow us, strengthening our endurance and faith. 

* I count it JOY because my physical body can endure WAY MORE than I would’ve ever thought and by His hand of healing is getting stronger every day.  I WILL walk my dog around the reservoir in 2019 and I can. not. wait. 

*I count it JOY that when I have felt relationally alone on this journey, when it feels like no one cares/understands, I am never alone and HE CARES FOR ME (1 Peter 5:7). 

*I count it JOY because I truly can do ALL THINGS through CHRIST who gives me STRENGTH (Phil. 4:13).   This is not a sports verse – this is a verse about being content in a hardship. And when every step hurt and when the replays diminish sleep and when fear creeps in and what ifs paralyze, CHRIST is the One who has given me strength. He is so faithful. 

*I count it JOY because of the many health professionals who have taken good care of us.  Special shout out to our friends @ Opti-Health Physical Therapy.  The PTs and PTAs have definitely been a bright spot of this healing journey – for both Emma and myself.   

*I count it JOY because I now have the car I’ve wanted… just a few years earlier than planned (and with a payment – HA!).  But really, I do like my car and I’m thankful for it :).

*I count it all JOY because of the HOPE I have in Christ has been strengthened, renewed and present.  His hope does not disappoint – God’s love has ben poured out to my heart through the Holy Spirit throughout this journey.  I can’t imagine this accident not happening and I am thankful for His sufficient grace and presence in my life because of it.  To GOD be the GLORY. 

What are some things you fear?   Let me encourage you that should XYZ happen, God is faithful, gracious, constant, loving and sufficient for whatever you may face in the coming year.  In this world we will have trouble (John 16:33), but He does not leave us to deal with it alone (Heb. 13:5).  And that, is how we can have JOY in the journey. 

2019 will surely bring some GREAT times and will surely bring some hardship.  My hope is that God will continue to give me eyes to see the JOY in the journey.

Postscript: Upon some further reflection, I am declaring (after the fact) that JOY is (was) my word for 2018.  With counting trials as JOY, and with faith producing steadfastness (in the ESV, endurance in the HCSB) comes some responsibility.  James 1:4 says “endurance must do its complete work” in the HCSB, but worded a little bit differently in the ESV, it says “and let STEADFASTNESS have its full effect.”  Whoa – LET it work.  Trust the process. Don’t just drown in the intensity and the self-pity and the weight of the trials.  I can already testify that the trials of this past year have created opportunities for God to work IN me, now I must let steadfastness have its full effect so I can be “perfect (mature) and complete” … “lacking nothing.”  Lacking nothing.  When all I need/want is God.  

Trials ->  grow the genuineness of faith -> resulting in praise, glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus (1 Peter 1:7).

Trials -> rejoice with GREAT JOY -> revelation of Jesus (1 Pet. 4:1-13).

When the trials come, and we count as JOY because of the work He is doing in/through them, and remain steadfast, keeping the focus on HIM, He gets the glory – all honor goes to HIM.  And that’s the way it should be.   

Lord – help me to be steadfast in these trials you have entrusted to me and in the trials (and joys) to come, so that YOU may receive the honor and glory and praise.  Amen 

(Previous Words)

2018 JOY (this Post)

2017 – Didn’t declare a word – – could’ve been “survival” or “hustle.”

2016 PERSPECTIVE

2015 It’s whatever, man

2014 FOLLOW

2013 THRIVE

2012 RESTORE

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Picture Perfect

We don’t post broken stuff on social media. We post the happy, what shines and what is bright. Keep in mind, however, that all that glitters is not gold. 

IMG_0487The first picture is a broken ornament.  It fell tonight while taking down the tree (yes it is early for us to take down the tree, but I’m making room for something special :-)). I wouldn’t normally post a picture of a broken ornament, or taking down my tree for that matter, but something I read earlier today has been resonating in my mind over and over… 

“We’re just actually all people in need of a Savior.”

-from an article on ChurchLeaders.com

My cuties (aka pups) take up a lot of my timelines.  Never mind that they  (one culprit in particular) have eaten about half of the GrubFam Cookie-Palooza – – my waistline thanks you – – but they have been ornery little “poop emojis”!! And tonight they somehow got into an open drawer in the upstairs bathroom and tore up some feminine products as if they were the chew toys in their stockings! 

The secoIMG_0331nd pic is from a shopping trip in Toledo from 2012.  We laugh about it now, but I
purchased that ornament to be facetious. To put in perspective our financial status – the kiddos were on reduced lunch @ school (that’s seems like an oxymoron – if you’re from this area you know why – but alas was our reality throughout many years of ministry).  I’m not saying that to mope or get pity, but so you can understand the background of the ornament purchase.  We were shopping @ Franklin Park – trying to meet all the unspoken expectations of present purchases for all the people, including our own littles, despite the scrawny number in our bank account.  Going to the Toledo Mall was like eye candy and the Grub Kiddos had a strong case of the wantsies… and Mr. and Mrs. Grub had a strong case of “intense fellowship.”  I remember there was a Best Buy mini-store in the mall… and, being facetious/sarcastic/itchy (with a b), I was like – hey – who wants a new IPOD – oh look – let’s get the new gaming system – new BEATS headphones for EVERYONE! HA!  Whatever you want – – it’s YOURS!  The kids eyes were the size of cannonballs and all of the sudden no one wanted anything.  Just call me BUZZ KILL MAMA! Then, we walked by the ornament kiosk where the “perfect families” get their “perfect family” ornaments with their “perfect names” and the “perfect date.”  HA!  You better believe I was getting our “perfect family” ornament.  I chose one with five SMILEY snowmen tobogganing down the HAPPY. HILL. OF. LIFE.  L.O.L. 

The bottom line is we weren’t a perfect family then and we aren’t a perfect family now.  We are selfish, annoying, sinful, greedy, hurtful people in need of a Savior daily.

That’s who Jesus came for.  People like you and me, who despite our best efforts, are not good enough – we mess up, we fail, we fall short.  Jesus came to reconcile our brokenness, our sinfulness, even our facades to Himself. ‘When Jesus heard this, He told them, “Those who are well don’t need a doctor, but the sick do need one. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.” ‘ Mark 2:17 https://my.bible.com/bible/72/MRK.2.17

Jesus came for the broken ornaments (relationships, dreams, expectations) in our lives and the picture-perfect ornaments masking a horrible, no-good, very bad shopping trip (sin, disappointment, sadness, hurt, deficiency).  And so when you see the perfect family/church member/co-worker/neighbor/home/student/dog 🙂 you can be darn well sure that despite the social media shiny and bright, they’re just someone who struggles (or has struggled) with xyz, and they’re actually just a normal person in need of a Savior.  We all are.

Following Jesus is about real life and real life is messy.  So maybe this Christmas season and New Year,  we can take off the masks, be a little more open, share a little more grace, be a little more patient because “we’re just actually all people in need of a Savior.”

Delayed Gifts

Excitement was in the air.  A new Christmas “schedule” was in place this year for the Grubbies – as Kevin is a staff member at church and would be at Gateway all day on Christmas Eve.  The kiddos and I attended the later services and afterward we. were. hungry!  I had prepared a few Christmas Eve snacks and we picked up some boneless wings on the way home to round out our Christmas Dinner. Doesn’t everyone eat wings for Christmas dinner?? 🙂

After dinner we got into “gift mode.”  Starting with stockings we each opened our decorative “sock” filled with goodies, gift cards, and other fun stuff… Then, it was PRESENT time.  I mean, who doesn’t love presents???  Julia opened her gift and although she knew what it was, she was thrilled and started digging in to the box so she could start using it.  Joey, who didn’t know what he was getting, opened his gift and squealed with gratitude, thankful to receive what he asked for.  Then, it was Emma’s turn.  There was a wrapped box and it was rather light.  She hurriedly opened it only to find there was not a gift inside.  There was a paper with a picture, drawn by her no-so-artist-mama, of her gift.  It hadn’t arrived yet – so all she had to hold onto was this paper.

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Her delayed gift arrived yesterday and it was even more wonderful than the amateur artist drawing foreshadowed ;). Emma was gracious throughout the delay, waiting in “faith” of the gift that was promised.

And it made me think.  We have the hope of a delayed gift.  We have the written promise(s) in the Bible.  Of course we know it’s not just a paper (or booklet of papers), it is the Word of Life and we have the Holy Spirit with us as we journey through this lifetime – but it is just a foretaste of what is to come.

Psalm 16:11You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.”

Titus 2:13We look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.” 

Romans 8:23And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering.  We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.” 

This paper, this book, holds the HOPE of the PROMISE. The promise of an eternity in heaven, with Jesus, in paradise. Even though the Word of God is beautiful and full and WONDERFUL – it will seem an amateur drawing compared to the GIFT that awaits those of us who have trusted in Him.  Christmas excitement doesn’t hold a candle my anticipation and excitement of the hope of heaven. Glorious Day!

“In-Between” Cookie Palooza


Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 9.16.43 AMOh! Life of the “in-between”… Keeping up with Grubbie Christmas traditions is proving to be somewhat challenging, because we’re half living in a temporary house, half living out of storage. We have to plan timing, location, vehicles etc. to get stuff out of storage (ie. Christmas Decorations). We finally jollied things up around here, but some things are still in storage (wrapping paper, cookie cutters).   So my PLAN was to KISS (keep it simple stu… uh, er, silly). I was going to make MOST of our regular cookies/treats for Christmas but I was going to skip the cut-outs. When I made this grand announcement, to my surprise I was greeted with disappointment. And shouts of protest! And eye-darts that made me feel like the GRINCH! Really? Because on a normal year I say, “it’s cookie night,” and I RELUCTANTLY got some helpers. But cancel one aspect of the “cookie-palooza” and we’re suddenly scarring one’s childhood ;). Ha! That tells me that yes, even though they’re getting older, and they have to put the device down to mix, roll, cut, bake and frost – they still enjoy it. And for me, the best part of “Cookie-Palooza” is doing it together. Family Time.  Oh, and my sugar-cookie-that-melts-in-your-mouth recipe is to. die. for.

Just another reminder that little things do matter. Home is wherever we all are together. Life may be in the “in-between” but family is forever (and apparently so are cookie traditions 🙂 ).

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The Hard Stuff

Sugar-coating is not my thing… especially when it comes to my kiddos and teaching them about some of the “hard” realities of life. For example, when they were toddlers and prone to wander off at the grocery store, I would tell them in a firm voice that if they wander, someone (who even looks nice) could “steal you away and you would never see Mama or Daddy again and they could hurt you and give you “boo boos”.   Or when they were given some freedom to ride their bikes throughout the neighborhood, if they didn’t look both ways when crossing the street a car could come and “squish. you. like. a. bug.”

Now they’re older (almost all teenagers) and the hard stuff has changed due to their ages and what’s happening around the world… This weekend, after several recent ISIS beheadings in the Middle East and the beheading that happened in Oklahoma on Thursday, our “hard stuff” conversation with our kiddos shifted to what would you do if you were threatened with death over your faith? If there was a gun to your head or a knife to your throat? What would you do? Would you deny Christ and live, or would you stand firm in Christ Jesus (and LIVE!)?

Interestingly this Sunday at church, the message was on RESOLVE and the message opened with a clip from the movie “God’s Not Dead” where the Muslim father finds out his daughter is a Christian, listens to Christian teaching etc. and proceeds to throw her out of his house.  This happens across the world every day. And in America, where the word “persecution” has meant getting mocked/made fun of/discriminated against, we may be about to find out what persecution really means.

Have you thought about what you would do? Have you thought about what your kids would do? Do they have a personal relationship with Christ that they would stand up and say, “Jesus is my Lord and Savior and I will NOT deny Him”? Do they know why they believe what they believe? What your family believes? Do you?

The scariness is not that we could be entering a season where we may begin to see real persecution. The scariness is that we’ve brought our kiddos to church on Sunday and feel that we’ve done our job to “get them to be Christians”. We say a quick prayer before dinner and consider that leading our families. We spend hours and hours and hundreds (thousands) of dollars to make sure our kids get the best lessons to improve their swing, strength training to be stronger than the next kid, have practice several times a week, join the best travel teams and inundate them with activities that they are busy every. single. minute. of their lives. We involve them in the arts, music, youth group, school activities etc. so they will be well rounded. And with all of that ~ how can we possibly prepare our children for the question, “What would you do if…”? There are only 24 hours in a day… How can we expect them to have any resolve if time has not been taken to teach them the bible, disciple them in the word and show them how to go to the Father in prayer?

Listen, we are just as guilty as the next family in all of this. Because our lives are in transition, we are not over-committed right now with all sorts of kids’ activities and it has given me a glimpse that we may have had it all wrong. Well, maybe not all, but what if we had been more diligent to protect family bible time as we did the sports schedule on the fridge?   What if we would spend hours teaching the Bible to our children, or better yet, teaching our children to read and hear from God’s word for themselves? What if we discipled our kids to know why they believe what they believe (if they believe)?   What if we were as disciplined about discipleship as we were about producing the world’s next Michael Jordan, Jenny Finch, MichaelAngelo or Liberace?

We must prepare this next generation with the word of God and the shield of faith. Parents, we must disciple our children and it must take precedence over all the other stuff. CHURCH, we must be intentional about discipling new or young or never-been-taught believers to prepare them for battle on a one-on-one or very small group oriented basis. We must TEACH, not only the word of GOD, but HOW to study the WORD OF GOD on your own, not just in a “Bible Study.”

This post is breaking all the rules (word count, not touchy feely), but this is a message burning in my spirit. We have only scratched the surface of what persecution could look like in the United States of America, but the Bible is clear that it’s-a-coming.  If you’re a believer, and you can’t answer why you believe what you believe or why someone should be a Christian and not another religion – then you need to be discipled. Seek someone out, an older (in the faith) believer. Shoot, if you’re local, message me. I’d love to meet with you regularly. Double shoot, if you’re not local, we can meet with technology. Find a church leader to point you in the right direction. Ask your neighbor who’s always sharing wisdom from God’s word if they would meet with you.   And believer, if you know why you believe what you believe and could disciple someone ~ pray for God to show you who and then do it. We are called/commanded to. Let’s link arm and arm in this battle strengthened in FAITH, prepared through the WORD and filled with RESOLVE from the Holy Spirit.

That is all. Amen.

Happy SWEET 16 ~ JULIA!!

10:45pm – just chilling on the couch, watching “Dateline”. It had been a long day. My grandpa’s funeral was that morning, followed by the lunch… you know the drill. Emotionally draining. It was a full circle-of-life day knowing that my baby girl was due to arrive in just over 3 weeks. After the funeral, I spent some time snuggling my 2 1/2 year old niece, Lauren. It was precious, snuggling Lauren and feeling little Julia in my belly. But now we were back in Findlay, the day was wrapping up and I was relaxing before getting back at it at school the next day. I had told my students on Monday, “Guys, I’m NOT having the baby. My Grandpa passed away and tomorrow (that Tuesday) is the funeral. I WILL BE BACK WEDNESDAY.”

Then I felt something. Kind of like that feeling when start your period, or pee your pants or… what was happening?!? I jolted to the bathroom (as quick as a 9 month pregnant lady can “jolt”). My. Water. Had. Broke.

What the wha??? I wasn’t due for three more weeks. I told my students I would be back on Wednesday. I told my student teacher I would be back on Wednesday! Um, I hadn’t fully prepared for maternity leave yet! Yikes!

I called the Dr. He assured me that I didn’t need to go to the hospital until the contractions started. So we waited. And at 11:15pm I called my stoic, authoritative boss (my principal ~ that was a fun call 🙂 ) and let him know I wouldn’t be in the next day. Eeeeeek! What was happening???

A little while later I had a contraction. After a few of those, I did what every new mom would do… pack up and head to the hospital! 😀 Once at the hospital, my contractions were registering irregularly on the monitor, and the precious nurse, ahem, and by precious I mean #$@#%@, told me my water hadn’t broke. (Oh really, what exactly was that liquid coming out of me few hours ago? It certainly wasn’t pee!) They sent me home. Gahhhh!

We rested a bit but at 7am my contractions did start and were regular. By 11am I called the Dr (my doctor was out of town, sadly, so I called his back-up) and since the contractors were about 7-8 minutes apart, he wanted me to come in to the office to be checked. When he checked me, he said, “Your baby has a full head of hair! Time to head over to the hospital!”

After a very manageable labor and an hour of pushing… shortly after 7pm, Julia Lee Grubinski entered the world.   3 years of trying, 6 months of infertility treatments, almost nine months of waiting, 12 hours of labor. She was here! And we became parents! A 6 lbs 9oz bundle of Grubbie love, Grubbie nose and all!

FullSizeRender-1 FullSizeRenderAnd now she’s 16. Sweet 16! 16 years of giggles and grins. Energy and exploration. Curiosity and some craziness. Maybe even a little drama…. He he! She IS a girl, after all! She has always been strong-willed, which when channeled she achieves what she puts her mind to. She sets goals and reaches them. She loves God and is passionate about serving Him.

Happy birthday, JujuBee! I cannot imagine life without you. You make me laugh. Your love of life is contagious. You’re sensitive. You’re sweet. God began a good work in you and it is our blessing to watch as He continues to complete it.

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Spanning the Globe

Well, at least the Americas ;).

Kevin, Julia and Joey have been in the Dominican Republic for a whole week now (feels longer…)  and this morning Emma boarded a bus with her classmates heading to Canada to visit Niagara Falls and Toronto. And, well, I’m here in Ohio.  And Michigan.   THIS Sunday we will all be reunited as Emma and I will make our way to the DR late Sunday night.  Can. Not. Wait.

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We had a little Passport stress as Joey’s passport hadn’t come yet as of Tuesday May 28th, so we paid to have it expedited.  It made it.  Praise the Lord. (Speaking of Passports, maybe Kevin will blog about his passport miracle… that would make a great #MissionsMonday post next week, babe 😉 )!

Anyhoo, Kevin, Julia and Joey quickly got settled in (to our 2 bedroom with 2 bunk-beds each apartment 😉 ), have been meeting people and already going out on ministry with the groups that were there or are there now.  Kevin is working closely with Frank, the Director at SCORE in the DR and learning and helping where he can.  He has also enjoyed working with Robersy who has several baseball outreaches in the DR.  Joey has been going with him and has even been playing BASEBALL ~ he hasn’t played baseball in YEARS ~ but, “when in Rome…”  Julia has been loving on kiddos ~ in the villages, missionary kiddos and kiddos from the Lily House. She is SO good with kids. IMG_2195IMG_2192IMG_2193 IMG_2194

Meanwhile in Ohio… Emma had basketball team camp for the high school team and we spent last week hanging out, getting some packing/organizing done and got to attend my niece’s high school graduation.  We have been patiently waiting for Emma’s passport as well… which finally came on Friday. #betterlatethannever  Good thing it came too, because she needed either that (her passport) or her birth certificate (which the passport agency had to have her passport done) to go on this Canada trip.  Yikes!  Nothing like cutting it close!! She gets home LATE Friday night, has basketball scrimmages on Saturday (LB Shootout) and then Sunday we leave for the Dominican.  There’s a lot in-between there… but they’re just details, details details ;). IMG_2027

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Thank you for your continued prayers and support.  These next six weeks are going to fly by.  Pray we make MUCH of Jesus!