Monday, October 24, 2011

caterpillar


On moving day, I walked up to the old house from the car and saw a crowd of girls huddled around the big tree in the front yard looking at something.  Upon discovery I realized it was a four inch long bright green caterpillar.  We were all amazed at God's creation.  I was completely blessed.  It was as if God was telling me to be thankful for the gift of this moment but to equally move forward with anticipation knowing there will be beauty in the metamorphosis to come.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

the boy next door

We found out before closing that the one neighbor we have is a family who has four boys (ages 4-16).  The youngest son asked if Bundle Boy could come over and play when My Love introduced himself one day while the house was still being built.  We were so thankful that God had put a boy our son's age literally right next door.  

We have been praying for a couple months now for the people God would have live in our community and on our street.  I can't tell you how blessed I was to know that God was so thoughtful as to tell me before we moved in that my Bundle Boy would be okay.  I was worried the transition would be rough on him.  God knew I needed a little promise to remind me that he was in control.  

After we emerged from behind a wall of empty towering boxes on our front porch a couple days after we moved in, the neighbor came over and asked if Bundle Brother could play.  That is all it took.  They became best friends instantly.  I have never seen Brother connect like that with any other boy.  He usually plays well with girls because they like to talk as much as he does.  In no time they were playing in the back yard, wrestling on the ground, throwing balls, riding bikes in front of our houses (L can ride with no training wheels and suddenly someone wants to put some miles on his trike without help ;)).


I was so blessed with how quickly Brother bonded with our next door neighbor.  And then it turned into this bizarre fear unlike I have ever had.  Brother started bounding toward the neighbor's house ready to go inside and hang out with his new surrogate family without even a glance in my direction before I stopped him.  Um.  Suddenly we need to have a talk about boundaries.  We instantly got launched into this social arena with people I hardly know and I got scared that I wasn't prepared yet.  We started praying for all the kids in the neighborhood that I knew our children would be exposed too.  I mean, before now our kids only played with our friends' kids who we happen to like and know well.  Now there are neighborhood kids (LOTS of them) and I have no idea what my impressionable, trusting 3 1/2 year old will do with all this new exposure.


Inhale.


Exhale.


We prayed.  Each day our neighbor would come over after preschool and ask us if Bundle Boy was up from his nap yet so they could play.  Our families were out in the open (unfenced) back yards playing and talking together most afternoons.  My Love and I hit it off really well with the parents (I have already been invited to a Tastefully Simple party at her place on Thursday.  God is wasting no time getting me planted in this neighborhood.) and of the two boys I have met, they seem very sweet and polite.


Every time I saw My Love out in the yard talking to the neighbor Dad, I would ask him if he got a vibe from them about their faith.  Clue #1: Lutheran Preschool t-shirt on their youngest.  Clue #2: All the boys have biblical names.  Both could mean anything but they sparked some hope. If Brother was going to be spending a lot of time with this family, we wanted to at least know they had some similar values to us.


We prayed.  Oh Lord please let Brother's closest friend who you placed right next door in your perfect plan be from a Christian family.  


There were more front yard conversations with the new neighbors.  With four boys at home, Babydoll caught the eyes of the Mom rather quickly.


Then My Love came in tonight while I was making dinner and God put my heart at ease.


"So I was talking to J...I asked him if they had found a church since moving here and I told him we were going to be visiting a new one tomorrow..."


WHAT????????????????


Breathe.


And?


My Love BOLDLY opened the door assuming they were believers.  We have a Baptist in the building, people.


Praise God.  Praise God!


Suddenly I could breathe a little easier during dinner.  Brother is SO trusting.  So so so trusting.  We are having to teach him to remember our boundaries and instructions when out in the world and to not just do what others say is okay or whatever self tells him is fun.  Somehow I thought we were years away from worrying about this conversation.


So there you have it.  Bundle Brother's best friend lives next door.  The other day they were running toward one another from opposite corners with open arms yelling, "I'm coming Buddy!" and met each other with a big hug.  That is some God-ordained kind of friendship right there.


Once we get settled, we are excited to have them over for dinner so we can get to know them all better.  We have met a few other people on our street too.  God is working and we are eager to see what he has in store for us next.


I see a possible close friendship with the girl next door for myself too.


God is so good.

moving day

I wrote this really long and detailed post yesterday but it got deleted before I could publish it.


Sigh.


You are getting the abridged version tonight.


Let's try this again.


We started planning the logistics for moving day a few weeks out.  We weren't sure how many friends would be able to help out the day of so we opted to hire two guys who would help load and unload our rental truck just in case.  God had other plans.  We were able to cancel with the moving company in advance because He brought plenty of people and we were beyond blessed by His provision.  Throughout the day we had five guys and eight hard working girls helping us move.  When you surrender a problem to the Lord and trust he can meet the need if necessary, He will often go above and beyond what you could have possibly done by your own power.


Babydoll had been sick with a high fever the few days leading up to Saturday but woke up late healthy and ready to spend the day with Brother at our dear friend's home in our neighborhood.  The weather was gorgeous (68 degrees, sunny blue skies, slight breeze).  Everyone showed up with smiles and cheerful servant hearts.  I was humbled by how much God loves us.


Everything went amazingly well.  The whole process was so smooth and stress-free all around.  Once the truck was strategically packed, we loaded the few cars that were driving down with us (another example of God's provision...lots of help on the other end of the move) to the new house and we still couldn't fit everything in one trip.  We had hoped we could return the truck after a one way drive and save on gas but once again God knew what he was doing.  The commitment of some of our friends to stay all day and the laughs heard in the car ride back up were priceless gifts from God.  We were all deliriously exhausted and giddy about it.  Once we made it back to the old house to pick up the rest of the stuff one friend returned from the morning to help load again.  We we so blessed.  After picking up the kids and loading up the dog to drive away from one chapter into another one, our long day was finally coming to an end.  The kids were in their own beds by 8pm while My Love and I collapsed in ours shortly thereafter.  Priority number one: unpack the toy boxes.  We knew one phase of this move was finally over but the getting settled part was about to begin.  By the way, movers deserve every single penny they earn.  Every muscle in my body hated me by day's end.


Did I mention how perfect the weather was?  It was perfect.  I can't say enough how amazing moving day went.  Thank you all for your prayers.  We felt them during every step of the process.  His hand was guiding us through the whole day.  We had tons of help.  There was no stress.  The kids were healthy and in good hands.  We have some amazing friends with huge servant hearts for the Lord. 


We are overwhelmed by his grace.

church 1

Tomorrow we are going to visit a new church nearby.  I am excited to start this process again but I am anxious about leaving my kids with complete strangers.  Will you pray with us that the kids go to their new classes easily and that God shows us quickly if this church will be our next home?  Thanks.

Friday, October 21, 2011

a long update

Inhale.

What an amazing and long week!  We have been living in our new home for seven days now and I think I can finally say things are starting to come together.

I am exhausted.  My temperament doesn't do well with nonstop busyness all day every day.  Maybe that is why I am drawn to people who thrive on it.  Seriously.  Many of my dearest friends go go go.  Perhaps God knew we needed each other for balance but I have no idea how they do it.

Since moving we have been going nonstop.  And I mean nonstop.  The first four days we were pretty much constant unpacking, installing things, hanging stuff on the walls, shopping, shopping, shopping.  Errands exhaust me any way so just add all the other stuff and I was pretty much walking around with little physical strength and lots of impatience.  I am talking staying up late to unpack just to wake up early and unpack some before the kids woke up.  Then unpacking during the day between errands to Lowes and Target and back to Lowes and then finally to Target.  Both stores are strategically positioned nearby.  I was so busy I kept forgetting to eat and drink and shower and sleep...zzz.  I saw a box today labeled that it contained my hair dryer and I laughed when I realized I hadn't even bothered looking for it all week. When did I go from never leaving the house without make up to not remembering the last time I did my hair? Sigh.

Our home is coming together though.  I can't wait to share all we have done with you soon-ish.  The kids are almost ready to run away from home and find a new family (preferably the same one so they can stay together) because we have been so busy getting stuff settled around here.  My Love took the whole week off of work to help and we have been trying to get as much accomplished as we could.  But as My Love told me today, the craziness will soon be over.  Trying to juggle kids and finding a place for everything is proving much harder this time around.  I mean, I know where this one particular thing went in our old house but where should it go now...  Priority day one was unpacking the toys in the play room.  It was like Christmas morning for awhile but it didn't exactly keep the kiddos occupied all day so we could continue unpacking like I had planned.  Little people have been clinging close to our feet begging for our attention for awhile now. 

Many of you have called and left messages and texted and emailed.  Thank you so much for your sweet words of prayers and encouragement.  Our cell coverage is spotty and really I haven't even been able to answer my phone in all the busyness.  Please know I have received your words and will hopefully get back to you when the fog of moving dissipates.

I have so much to share but I don't want to post it all at once or it will just be way too long and no one will ever read it (except maybe Chelsea).  So here are some post topics to get me focused:

moving day
new neighbors
community
color
the house
home

We'll see how far I get tonight.

Exhale.   

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

quick update

Hi Readers-


I am still alive.  We have been going nonstop and I don't think I have even slept much/well in the past week.  Everything is going great at the new house.  The unpacking process is going a little slower than we remember last time (Oh, yeah.  We didn't have two young kiddos then.).  but we are also trying to add new additions to our decor at the same time.  I have lots to tell you about the move.  I hope I remember it all.


Back to unpacking.  The kids need some of our attention tomorrow.  The more we can get done in the evenings and early mornings the better for them. 


Bye for now.

Friday, October 14, 2011

bright white

We had some less than ideal circumstances come our way this evening.  You know the kind where you take your son to Target to buy the bedding for his new room and leave your sick baby home with Daddy just to get to the register and realize you left your wallet in the diaper bag because you only wanted to carry one thing in with you to the doctor's office on this rainy day.

I was overwhelmed by how gracious and understanding our big Bundle Boy was about the whole thing.  I mean the entire purpose of our outing was to buy this really exciting thing for him before going to Chick-fil-A to bring home dinner for the family which we couldn't do now either.  "It's ok," he said.  "We can get my dinosaur bed another day."  I wasn't even going overboard with an apology either.  I just explained that sometimes things don't go as we would have planned.  When I buckled him in the car disappointed with the hour we just wasted, he was singing joyfully some silly song to himself and making me smile.

On the drive home I was flooded with emotion about all that is happening in this moment when the sun came beaming down at me.  I spent some time taking pictures of the sun shining behind the white clouds before we left on our errand.  I can hardly believe that a river was flowing through our backyard only yesterday.  Today the sun was breaking through the clouds.  It was note worthy.  After leaving Target at about 5:30pm, the sun suddenly came out from behind the clouds and beamed the most brilliant white so bright that I could only see the road just before me.  The direction of the road shifted.  The sun snuck behind the tree line but you could still see its light.  Suddenly I realized we were driving parallel to the light in the shadow of the things of this world standing between us and the sun's power.  A slight turn in my direction and we were entering our neighborhood driving toward the bright white sun head on.  Tears fell while the music played.  

This is really happening.  We are moving tomorrow.







closing another door

It is kind of odd that I have become more flexible as I get older but it sure seems to be the case.  Or maybe when you learn to surrender everything to Jesus there is a peace that gets you through any circumstance or change of plans.


My Love went and picked up the truck this morning.  The kids and I drove down to the doctor to see if they could find out why Babydoll isn't shaking her lingering high fever.  My Love went on to have lunch with some coworkers (at Five Guys on Fridays) and did the final walk through at the house.  He said everything looked great.  Now he and our realtor are meeting at the title company so he can sign oodles of paperwork in order to close on our new house.  My Love was out of the country the last time we went through this process (I had to sign my name and his name with a power of attorney sentence after it on every page while our realtor/church's youth pastor entertained our then 10 month old baby boy for two hours.).  It has been a huge gift to have him taking care of all the logistics this time around.  Suddenly packing and cleaning seems like a walk in the park.  He has also taken care of changing all our utilities, etc.  The older I get the more I learn being in charge isn't all it is cracked up to be.  Doing this one thing well for God's glory is so less stressful than carrying the burden of the big picture.  Plus, God made My Love to do everything else so well.  We are still learning, people.


There was more flooding rain here yesterday but the sun seems to be breaking through the clouds as promised today and our basement didn't flood.  We are hopeful the weather will be good enough to continue our move as planned.  


The kids are taking a nap.  Babydoll is suspected to have a virus so we may have to keep her with us on moving day because sending a sick kiddo to a friend's house doesn't exactly seem like a thoughtful thing to do.  Will you pray with us that the logistics of moving day go smoothly, that we will have plenty of help to get us through the whole day, that Babydoll will feel better soon, and that God would give us physical strength (we are exhausted) and cheerful attitudes through this whole process?

One more night in this house and then it is on to the next chapter.  We can't wait to turn the page already.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

closing tomorrow

Phew!


It has been a long day.  Every muscle in my body is tired.  

Babydoll is completely out of it.  I thought it might have been teething that gave her a fever starting yesterday (she is growing #5 and #6 now at 18 months), but really it seems like something else.  She slept a whopping 15 hours last night and in fact slept in the two mornings before that.  She isn't sleeping well at night (crying out) and seems miserable off and on during the day.  It is so hard to care for sick babies because they can't tell you what is hurting.  We are praying that whatever it is passes quickly.  She has no other symptoms at this point.


While all that was going on, Brother managed to watch a startling 5 HOURS of TV today.  That's right, people.  I win the worst Mom award of the day.  I however got a lot accomplished (packing more boxes, washing most of the windows, cleaning out the kitchen cabinets, etc.).  It should make cleaning day next week go that much quicker.


My Love and I brewed a pot of coffee after the kids went down and got to work doing our own moving thing.  We actually work well as a team in times like this.  If that boy makes a list he gets things done.  I have a few open boxes that have to be filled with some last minute things but I think we are down to the end.  It still blows my mind that we will be sleeping in our house the same night we move in.  We have only ever moved extremely long distances and don't see our belongings for one to two months after watching someone else pack them.  No blow up mattresses needed in this case.  One night I'll be sleeping in my bed and then next night...I'll be sleeping in my bed.  So cool.


On another note, Bundle Boy and I found his perfect new dinosaur bedding for the new house yesterday.  He was long over due for a bedroom update.  He is almost 4 and is still sporting parts of his nursery decor.  We thought decorating his new room might make the transition that much more fun for him.  I am excited to get started on that for him.


Crazy thing happened today.  My Love commuted to work early to run at the gym and realized once he got there that the hanger with his suit on it was missing his pants.  All I could think about was the drawing in the Shell Silverstein book next to the Something is Missing poem.  You know the one?  Anyway we talked about meeting him halfway somewhere (IKEA perhaps) but he later decided to just go into work in his shorts and t-shirt and run at the gym after work (so thoughtful of him).  So because he had no pants, he left work a little earlier than normal so he could get a few miles in on the treadmil for his marathon training and made it home before 6pm to join us for dinner.  What a treat!  As I sat down to write this the news said there was a tornado that touched down (with cell phone video footage to prove it) near his work and held up traffic for some time on the commute home.  Today I am thankful for missing pants.


On an entirely different note, I was a little stressed about taking the kids to closing tomorrow since Brother pretty much spent the last two days camped out in front of the TV watching every PBS show known to man.  But it turns out only My Love has to go to closing because the loan for this house is only in his name which means I can stay home and do something fun with the kids since I worked my butt off the last two days because I thought Friday would be busy down at the new house.  Sigh.  God is good all the time.  Even in feverish babies, dirty neglected windows, TV watching marathons, missing pants, and solo closing dates.


Good night then.

the 23rd

I really enjoy reading all the writers over at the (in)courage blog but I admit I don't read every post every day.  Sometimes I get overwhelmed by how many there are.  But there are times though when a particular post title catches my eye or I head over there out of guilt for not reading in awhile.  I was halfway through a post today when I lingered down to the bottom of the page where they highlight recent posts you can link to.  Check this one out from Sunday written by God just for me to read on this day in this moment.  

Remembering to follow the voice of my Shepherd today.  He is more than enough.

two more nights

Thank you for all the texts and emails telling me that you are praying for us.  We feel your prayers.  Life is a little chaotic and yet there is a fog of peace floating over us.  Yesterday Bundle Brother had his longest TV watching stretch yet.  With the rain coming down and the fact that I have packed virtually all his toys I didn't feel like I had many options.  As others have told me, he will survive.  Babydoll pretty much did her own thing which included hovering about my feet wherever I cleaned and playing with the basket of dog toys.  Fun!

We have been counting down the nights left sleeping in his house for a few days now.  Brother is on a mattress on his bedroom floor and Babydoll is sleeping the night away in a pack 'n play.  Just when I think we are mostly done packing, I manage to fill three more boxes.  Sigh.

My biggest personal prayer requests right now are for patience and strength.

I feel like I am juggling one too many balls right now and my attitude has been on edge at times to say the least.  I got FOUR reminders from the Lord to breathe yesterday so maybe I should take His advice.

Inhale.  Exhale.

Today is the last day I can be super productive.  We close on the house tomorrow as well as pick up the moving truck.  It will be another long tiring day but by the end of the weekend we will be in our new home and moving into the next chapter with our eyes facing forward.  We might be puddles on the floor from sheer exhaustion, but it will be our new floors.

The kids will be going to a friend's house on Saturday while we move.  We have several people from church coming out to help us pack the truck.  Our hope is that some of them will be willing and able to drive down and unload with us on the other end.  After scheduling stuff to be installed on Monday, we will be back up here again on Tuesday to clean the house before doing our walk through with the landlord in the afternoon (he requested we be ready sometime during his lunch break between 1 and 2. ??? hopefully we can get a lot done tonight and tomorrow so cleaning day doesn't take as long. ps. we will have the kids with us at closing and while cleaning.  pray for us.)  We are praying we get our full deposit back.

It is 6:34am and I just heard Brother's door squeak open.  Time to go love on him.  He wasn't met with the happiest Mama yesterday morning.

Thanks again for the prayers.  Keep them coming.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

in this moment

We drove home late last night from a week long vacation with My Love's parents.  About 2 or 3 hours into my drive shift this song came up in the eclectic mix of CDs preloaded into the six disc changer before the kiddos fell asleep in the back seat after sunset.  I usually like to share lyrics on YouTube videos but in this case don't watch.  Go in your closet (or bedroom), shut the door, turn out the light, close your eyes and just listen to the lyrics.  The words on the screen are just too distracting.  May each line be the cry of your heart as you listen.  I must have played this song three times while singing along on my stretch of I-81 before My Love posed a question into the night's sky that broke the silence of the world around me.


On our last morning with family before returning home to the reality of our move, God showed me something.  We were toweling off after splashing around in the resort water park one more time, and I caught the glimpse of the back of a lady's t-shirt.  It said something like... I will pray at home.  I will pray at school.  I will pray at work.  I will pray for me.  I will pray for you....  Well I think you get the picture.  Half way into the paragraph I knew exactly where the wrinkled up scripture reference near her waist line was going to come from.  1 Thessalonians 5:17.  That is right, people.  The verse that comes right before the verse posted at the top of this blog.  A friend shared this verse (and verse 16) with me a couple of months ago after I shared at a Women's Koinonia night while talking about what God had been showing her through some trials she was experiencing.   God's repetition was perfectly timed.


As I continued to towel off, I smiled.  God is so amazing.  He brings this west coast girl to the "east coast" so she can vacation in the south to see this t-shirt on the back of this lady in this moment of her life.  Oh how he loves me.


The t-shirt verse spoke volumes to me in such a short time.  This next chapter of our lives is going to take a whole lot of praying.  Praying like we have never known.  And that is exactly what I intend on doing.  I have come to realize that if I am not in constant conversation and communion with God self quickly fights to become my first love and the outcome isn't pretty.  So I will pray.  For there is no other way to take every thought captive but to keep your eyes on the Lord in this moment.


Wouldn't it be nice if we could spend hours singing to our Lord without the interruptions of the world around us?  Oh yeah.  I think that might be called heaven.  Until we get there, I want my life to be a constant song, a prayer to the Lord.  I want to commune with my Father on the floor of my closet in.this.moment.


"Oh break my heart and make my heart into the heart of Christ...flood my heart and make it yours."



Friday, October 7, 2011

give my life



I stepped out on the third floor terrace to feel the cool, crisp morning air on my skin. Shadows from the rising sun covered the floor and wall behind me. While sipping weak coffee and reading in my One Year Bible, I lifted my eyes to take it all in. To wait on the Lord. To be still and know that He is God.

The hum of cars driving down the congested highway 66 echoes off the building. The sight of 60-somethings taking golf clubs out of their trunks and hovering around carts to begin their first round are right across the parking lot full of dew covered cars. People packing up their belongings and saying goodbye to another successful vacation stay. Blue shirted employees arriving for the day to clean up after other people's holidays.

A breeze blows in and the goose bumps cover my arms and lower legs. I see one tree below me already telling the story of autumn while many others are still holding on to summer. At the edge of the golf course I see the reason these "mountains" are called smokey. Socked in low lying clouds make their home in the landscape. The sun rises higher keeping my eyes from turning east. The glistening circular spider webs tell of many who have made their homes here on this very terrace before me. People who have come and gone and contemplated the lives they will be returning to at days end.

Grounds keepers are already edging grass and trucks are busy delivering items for another resort day. Life is happening. And yet do they know what all this bustling is for? Do they realize their very lives are not their own? And arguably worse yet, do they know and still live this life, this day for self?

"You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body." 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20.

I owe everything to Him. The One who paid it all for me. I owe this day, this moment, my attitude, my body, my life to the one who paid my ransom. When people see me, do they see Christ? Or do they have to peel away the layers like an onion of self before realizing the truth I know and believe in my heart and soul? Does my face, my countenance tell the story of his grace? Am I living THIS moment...and THIS moment...for me or Him who is the author of this day?

He is bathing me in his sunlight and kissing me with the cool fall breeze. He is singing me a lullaby of road traffic and distant conversation and lawn tools. He is hugging me with settling "smoke" in the mountains and reminding me of the story of my life he has written in dozens of spider webs.

He paid it all. Am I not willing to give my life to Him?

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