Psalm 139:13-16 ESV For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
Earl was born in 1953 to LaRue and Tillie Defrates. LaRue was a pagan street fighter, Tillie a Catholic. When Earl was a young man, LaRue fought his last fight, was saved and attended Moody earning his preachers degree. Tillie was also saved. Earl became a rebellious PK and moved out ASAP, going to AZ to attend Devry. Upon graduation, Earl was hired to sale computers in Cal. He was transferred to Utah for training in the parent company. This is where he met Dee.
Dee was born in American Fork Utah which sits between Provo and SLC. Dee was born as a new "bud" on the family tree of Mormonism. My parents did not attend church, but they made sure me and my sisters did. I loved my religion. However, after high school graduation, I fell away long enough to meet and begin dating "Normon, the Non-Mormon."
In 1979, Earl was sent to Utah for 4 month to train on new computer products being manufactured at Beehive International. Dee was in another part of the building, working in accounting. she was earning money to attend college. Among 500 employees, Earl finds dee and they begin to date.
Earl and Dee begin dating. Lunches, then dinners, then Dee leaves for College in Sept 79' E drives 2 hours, one way to continue to date Dee. Earl gets transfer to Chicago notice to open a new branch office. He proposes. Dee says no. He sends flowers the next day with a card that says, "Will you marry me?" D said yes.
Dee said yes to marry Earl. He called his dad for his blessing. LaRue, now a Southern Baptist Preacher asked, "Is she a Mormon?" A:yes. "Will she accept Jesus Christ as her personal savior? Dee replied, I already have. based on this information, LaRue declined Earls request to officiate the marriage. He said we were "unequally yoked." He must have asked God, why? "Why a Mormon girl? This is not what we prayed for."
LaRue was not the only pastor who would not marry us, We asked 4 different denominational pastors before finally finding a Methodist who joined us as man and wife. After the honeymoon, we began life together in Elgin, IL
We planned to start our life without children for 2 years with the idea to get to know each other before we had children. Within a month, our differences became apparent and I began to entertain thoughts of getting out now, before too much time passed. But God had brought us together and He made sure I stayed married. Within 4 months, Dee, at age 19 was pregnant. Regardless of my immaturity, self-centeredness, disillusionment, the missing of my old life, it didn't matter because to me, children are the super glue of marriage. 9 months later on Jan 3, 1981 Dustin was born.
Our little family would travel monthly to Springfield IL. With each visit to LaRue and Tillies, LaRue would pound the pavement of the Roman road. He would say, "You must be saved. These are the verses from Romans to read to be saved. Here is the prayer to say." One night, I did it. I read the verses alone in my room and cried out to God, help! I need you!
Within two weeks after I walked down the isle to publicly confess Lord as Savior, Earl followed. Years later he shared how he made a bargain with God saying, "If you let me marry this girl, I'll return to you." The day he came forward, The Lord reminded him of the bargain he made.
Nov 1983 Earl and Dee went to Mexico. We decided on that trip to begin to try for a 2nd child. 9 months later, on August 18 1984, Michael was born. Because we were now Christians, I had prayed believing with all my heart God would answer my prayers for a girl, then when he gave me a second son, after nursing him on his 5th day of life, I gave Michael to The Lord. I prayed, because you chose what is best, because you must have a plan for him, I devote him to you.
The years prior to and after Michael's birth were like any other average young family years. We were active in the church, we celebrated holidays, birthdays, went on vacation, worked on projects together, had play dates, all the average things young families do.. All the while, we were stashing extra finances away for our future.
The future need became a reality in 1989. Beehive International, the company Where Earl and I met in SLC Utah went bankrupt. Earl took our savings and started NCC in our home, continuing to supply customers with products they needed. When the in/out of products exceeded our garage space, we began to rent office space. In 1990, NCC became an S corp. shortly thereafter, we hired our first computer engineer then salesman who remained employed, in our "family business" for the next 13+ years. God gave us many lives to minister to over the years through the employment of over 100 workers in 22 years in business.
While the kids were at school, I worked alongside Earl at NCC doing the accounting and running the office as well as teaching fitness classes. Dustin was self driven and excelled academically and socially. Michael was struggling and in 5th grade, he "fell down" life got harder as our boys entered their teen years and began to pull away from the Way.
Dustin graduated HS and went to college. We changed churches after 18 years at the same church we were saved at. We began attending HBC following our pastors suggestion for the leaders of our start up church to visit HBC as a model to follow. that night, both E and I were blown away! For the first time I began hearing biblical truths with no apology. Over time, this Godly authority lead me to stand strong in our family values with Michael who was rebelling. This sudden leadership in me began to divide Earl and I. We began to threaten each other using the "D" word.
Dustin graduated college and moved to Arizona. NCC opened a branch office in AZ. Earl and Dee purchased a 2nd home in AZ. Michael moved out, came back, moved out again within a year moving to AZ. .
NCC had had multiple growing prosperous years. We made a 3 year pledge to the church based on expected growth, then suddenly, still unknown how, NCC almost went bankrupt. These were the hardest years, but in hind sight, the biggest spiritual growth years. These were the years I fell to my face before the Lord. 1999-2003
With both kids out of the home, Earl and Dee mourned being empty nesters for about 15 seconds. We spent the next 7 years together, working full time at NCC, rebuilding the business. In 2007 we increased our small group to add 6 people. We added more, lost some over the years. Today the group is 14 members and we share our lives. The women know all my heart issues and prayers. There support encourages me when another hard issue comes our way.
In 2011, we put NCC on the market and sold it allowing for us to retire in 3 years. Dee accepted a position at HBC moving from volunteer of 7+ years, to staff. Dustin was married to Lorena in Nov of 2011 and again in May 2012. Michael and Dustin partner up on a few business adventures and spend weekend time together frequently. Earl and I travel to Az often and with each trip we reconnect with the kids. Our current hobby as a family is target shooting.
Retirement is just 16 months away. We purchased land and we break ground soon. We will use this last year in IL to pour into the people in our circles of influence at work, church, family and extended family.
We are looking forward to grand babies. I am looking forward to time and life with the daughters (in-law). I look forward to a long laughing life with E.
Psalm 139:16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. John 14:13-14
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Acts 16:31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
Proverbs 16:9 The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold. Proverbs 22:1
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thougths. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I dsire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:8-11
Romans 8:38-39 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Philippians 2:1-2
Jeremiah 9: 23-24 (NIV) This is what the Lord says:
“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, 24 but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord.
Strive diligently to present thyself approved to God, a workman that has not to be ashamed, cutting in a straight line the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
James 4:13-15 (NIV) 13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”