Let Us Begin

Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today.

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Johnny: John, My Rock, Daddy, Doctor

Johnny: John, My Rock, Daddy, Doctor

Johnny is a fun loving, adventure seeking, mountain moving, family man known for his ready smile, contagious laugh, and curly red hair.  (It’s gotten a lot tamer over the years.)  Always ready to fight for a worthy cause and promote the good of mankind, Johnny is passionate about serving the Church and community.  He juggled ministry, a full course load and clinical rotations during his four years of naturopathic medical school and just graduated in December.  Now running his own family practice, Natural Family Practice and Fertility Specialists, he is at long last doing what he has worked so hard all of these  years to prepare for – helping to make people well.  Still, he somehow manages to keep family a priority and always puts the boys and me first.  They adore him and want to be just like him and I wouldn’t mind that one bit.  I am so grateful that he is the one I get to journey through this life with.  Can you tell I’m crazy about him?   Yeah, just a little.


Us ~ Our Story

I like impossible situations.  That way, if it works out, you know it was meant to be.  -Johnny

These were the words that began our very impractical romance on New Year’s Day in 2006. He lived in California and was finishing an undergrad in Arizona.  My family was in Pennsylvania while I was living as a Catholic missionary in Central America.  The odds of us even meeting much less starting a relationship were highly unlikely.  The fact that we would begin not knowing when or if I would return to the States bordered on insanity.  But as my brother Adam who plotted to bring us together told me, “This guy is perfect for you.  You would be crazy not to at least give him a chance.”

In less than a week, Johnny had already booked a flight to visit me over spring break and I started to dare hoping that we might actually work out.  When he not only wanted to see the sights in that tropical paradise but jumped right into service (spending time with my students, initiating impromptu games of soccer on the beach, co-leading retreats, accompanying me on house calls and hospital visits to my beloved Belizeans), I was done for.  Seeing him with them made me fall in love with him and well, as they say, the rest is history.

So as it turns out, brother knows best and I think I owe him for life. Johnny is indeed “perfect for me” in more ways than I could have ever hoped for.   Impossible though it seemed, every obstacle that very easily could have ended us before we began was cast aside and it all seemed so effortless.  If there is anything I have learned from our story it is that if God is behind something, it will indeed work out regardless of the circumstances or what common sense may dictate.  That lesson proved at our very start has served us well.  I have a feeling it will continue to be a foundational truth in trusting what He has ordained for our future.


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It Was the Best of Times: Graduation Day

Blue skies smiling at me, nothing but blue skies do I see…

Yup, that’s pretty much the song that was in my heart driving to Johnny’s graduation from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine Sunday morning.

Forget the fact that it was overcast, cold and rainy outside. The road leading to this place had been such a long one, Johnny had worked so hard and we had all made so many sacrifices along the way that nothing was going to get me down.  It honestly seemed so surreal that the light at the end of the tunnel (the one that seemed like it would never arrive) had finally come that the morning almost felt dreamlike.

Looking out the window on the way to the ceremony, it was as if heaven itself was smiling down on us and mirroring the joy in my heart at that moment. (this was my best effort at capturing that instant, snapping a picture while stopped at a red light)

I love when you can see rays of light streaming down from the clouds like that … the picture of grace.  If I had listened closely enough, I bet I could have heard the angel’s hallelujah chorus.

At the Chandler Center for the Arts, the seats were beginning to fill with some of Johnny’s biggest fans…

After not being quite as prepared as I should have been for Lauryn’s ASU graduation on Friday night, I came stocked and ready for Johnny’s Sunday morning.  I had my bag filled with snacks and designated aunts and uncles for baby duty.  Even better, Oma and Grandpa decided to share their phones for a little added entertainment.  The kids were occupied and did so great through the whole thing, which made for one happy momma…

Not only was I able to soak in every bit of the pomp and circumstance surrounding the graduation proceedings but Jack and Gabriel were also able to witness a monumental day in the life of their father ~ which is all as it should be.

A highlight of the day was definitely Johnny’s commencement address

My heart was so full hearing him offer such inspirational parting words of hope and encouragement to his class that I think I was fighting back tears of pride and joy the whole time.  That’s the man I love.

Then it was time to receive his hood and diploma, take the naturopathic medical oath,

and to officially be announced as … wait for it … wait for it … DOCTOR John Oertle!

Jack was so excited to see his daddy up there that the little guy just couldn’t contain himself…

When he saw him walk across the stage with that diploma, Jack was shaking his little maraca noise maker trying to get his daddy’s attention and when that didn’t work he yelled out at the top of his lungs,

“We’re over here Daddy!!!”

It was quite possibly the most touching moment of the day and melted his daddy’s heart right on the spot.  He pointed to Jack out in the crowd and pumped that diploma up high in the air for him which was met with squeals of delight from his first born son and laughter all around.

But then, the newly graduated class began to process out and that was it… there was no holding Jack back at that point and who would have wanted to? He was out of his seat and sprinting into his daddy’s open arms.

Even people who didn’t know our family were moved to tears witnessing it.

I know the picture quality is poor but I love these photos…

They just capture who Johnny is and what a day of celebration it truly was for our family.  Not only was he one of only three in his class to graduate with honors but he did it while always keeping us as the first priority in his life.

He missed finals when his babies were being born, knew only the very interrupted sleep of parenthood, was met every day at the door with pleas to wrestle often before he had even put down his computer bag, and left his books longer than he probably “should” have to play, pray and tuck little ones in at night.  That is not to mention all of the added weight he pulled around the house and with the boys so that I could work to help get us through school.  It has been a four year relay marathon of passing the baton at the door with a kiss, one coming in to take over at the house while the other was off to work or school.  It was off one duty and on to the other – back and forth often several times a day just making it work.  What’s more, he did it with joy and a smile.  He took it all gracefully in stride, still serving others, volunteering, tutoring and being a leader to his peers.  The man amazes me.

Ahhhh, medical school…It was the best of times.  It was the worst of times.  It is over!


While there is still much hard work that lies ahead: boards to be passed and a practice to get up and running,

This was a victory to be celebrated.  And we did just that…

The entire Oertle clan came out to show their love and support for Johnny on his big day… 

It is not an easy task to get everyone in the same place at the same time these days.

Pictures were in order.

With Lauryn, Norah & Jack, and Carolyn…

..his proud grandparents (Sharon & Howard) and parents (Rhonda and John)

…Candyce (+baby), Stella, & Josh

…with Matthew, Aunt Mary & Uncle Kent.
Congratulations Dr. John.  We love you.
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Thanksgiving 4 the Years

Four years ago, this Thanksgiving, I married the man that I love.

looking back still gives me butterflies…

I will love you and honor you all the days of my life…

This is Jesus…this is love.

You may kiss the bride.  (I LOVE the smile on his face in that second picture).

I now announce for the first time as husband and wife Mr. & Mrs. John Oertle…

May I have this dance…













When I stop to count my blessings this Thanksgiving,

the gift of our vocation to journey through this life together is without a doubt the one I hold most dear.

Johnny, I love you with all of me.  Happy Anniversary.


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Serious Moves

This weekend was the first wedding and reception that we have taken either of the boys to since they were small enough to be worn in a sling.

They both had a blast!  (can you tell?)

We all did…(this picture was taken from Jack’s perspective)

Although we didn’t manage to get any pictures of the happy couple (Johnny’s cousin David and his lovely bride Lindsay), we did get some of other extended family…

Here we are with the parents of the groom, Johnny’s Aunt Beth and Uncle Jerry.

and Jack with Johnny’s cousins, Jenna and Chelsea…

and lots of the boys thoroughly enjoying themselves…

There’s that tongue again!

Jack loved getting dressed up like daddy in his little pinstriped dress pants, vest and tie. Both boys went crazy for the appetizer bar and stuffed themselves on crackers, cheese and fruit to their hearts’ content.  They were enthralled with the wedding party’s grand entrance and clapped for everyone as they arrived…

Gabriel is in Aunt Mary’s arms where he spend most of the evening.  She walked with him, showed him the lights and rubbed his feet.  Anytime she would stop, he would put her hands back on his toes again.  Smart kid.

And then there was cake to be tasted…two thumbs up!

Jack was smooth as ever going up to the bride and telling her how pretty she looked in her beautiful dress, toasting with sparkling cider and of course busting a move on the dance floor…

When I told Jack that he had some cool moves, he told me that he did cool moves all the time but when the camera man came over to him then he did some “serious” moves!

Alright then, I don’t think there is any denying that!

Thankfully, they will have lots of opportunities to enjoy all that they loved about being a part of wedding festivities again soon.  We have two big weddings to look forward to this summer.  Aunt Mandy will be getting married to Matt in June and Uncle Danny and Katie will be getting married in July.

It is going to be a great summer full of serious moves.

David and Lindsay, we wish you both a long life of happiness together.  Thank you for including us in your big day.


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