September 16, 2014

Wild and Free

Jesus makes me brave.  Jesus makes me strong.  Jesus makes me free.

One of my favorite things about following Christ is the ability to be all in.  I don't have to have plans all laid out, I just have to be willing to trust that He does.  I can jump, feel the rush of the air as it swooshes past my ears, knowing He will open the parachute just in time.

My flesh knows fear.  Through Jesus, I have confidence.  My flesh worries I'll fail.  Through Jesus,  I know that all things will work together for good.  My flesh hears the negativity from other people.  Through Jesus, I am able to choose joy.

It was for freedom that Christ set us free.  Freedom from fear, freedom from worry, freedom from whatever weight is holding us down.

I like to be happy.  I've been told I poop rainbows.  I love to look on the bright side.  It's kind of my hobby.  I know there are people who think this move is crazy.  I have been told I'll never make it.  I know there are people who seriously question our judgement because we don't have a long term plan, or because selling all our stuff and moving 1000 miles isn't something that people expect. We are learning that less is more, simple is better, and normal isn't necessarily wild or free.  We've learned to walk through a door when the Lord opens it, not to wait around until we are ready.  What is the purpose of faith if we know the outcome?  I believe the Lord is most honored when we don't have everything planned, but rather when we move forward and leave the planning up to Him.

There have been times when I've let fear keep me from trying.  Fear of the failure, fear of looking like I don't have it all together, fear of embarrassing the people I love.  But I'm learning that success is in the trying.  Success is giving it your all when you feel the urge to hold back.  There is no failure, unless maybe it's just never trying.  There's just a different route that the one that was anticipated.

Taking this step of faith has produced so much freedom.  Selling all my possessions has produced freedom from selfishness.  Waiting on the Lord has produced freedom from worry.  Moving when the Lord says move has produced freedom from the illusion of control.

Faith in Jesus can take an ordinary life and turn it into an adventure.  Being wild and free starts with saying yes.  Moving when He moves.  Anyone can be extraordinary.  Anyone can live an extraordinary life.  The risk is great.  But so is the reward.

September 8, 2014

Every New Beginning

I remember the night I graduated from high school.  The event I had been anticipating all year, maybe all four years.  We spent so much time planning that night, from the decorations to the music to our speeches.  Time spent trying to decide how to summarize the last four years into a five minute speech.  Hours shopping for the perfect dress to show that I was classy yet fun, studious yet playful.  Then I'd make the call to my friend.

"What are you wearing to graduation?"
"Is your dress long or short?"
"Are you going to wear your dress to the school or bring it with you?"
"Are you bringing something else to change into after?"
"Are wearing your hair down or up?"

Nothing in high school can be left to chance.

{Insert high school graduation photo here.  Except they're all packed, so we have to use our imaginations.}

While not a flash back to high school, these were taken in 2009 and 2010.

Friends who vacation-in-Maui-with-a-9-month-old-together, stay together. 2010

I remember after the graduation ceremony was over, taking picture after picture and giving hug after hug to my friends that I'd seen every day for the last four years.  This event I had anticipated for so long was now passing, and I didn't want it to end.  With all the excitement of graduating, I forgot.  I forgot I wouldn't see my friends first thing the next morning.  I forgot I wouldn't slide fancy-folded notes in their lockers or share lunches the next week.  We wouldn't be sharing secrets and inside jokes in the five minutes while waiting for the bell to ring.  It was over.  My life with these friends would never be exactly the same.  We'd still be friends.  But that life was over.

New Year's Eve 2010

The best part of my life was ahead of me, but I didn't know it at the time.  All I knew was a sense of loss that life as I knew it was ending, changing into something unknown.

I feel like it's high school graduation, and while I can guess the best is yet to come, I also know that life is changing, and with that comes loss of the familiar comfort we've found in each other.  These friends have been with me through thick and thin the last five years.  Births and deaths, confidence and fear, joy and sorrow, we've seen it all.  I know it's not ending, just changing.  And change can be so good.  But.  There's still a but.

Celebrating a new life 2012

My heart overflows with good memories and thankfulness that these friends were part of my daily life for a time.  We now have the chance to experience friendship of a different sort - long distance.  We now have opportunities to use our time to be intentional in loving each other in new ways.  A chance to grow and be creative in our love.


Growing larger every year 2013

I'm left remembering songs we played during our graduation (and possibly yours if you graduated around 2000).  A favorite line from an old Green Day song that goes "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."  So profound, that Green Day.  But the high school song I've chosen to commemorate this group is another cheesy throwback, from Michael W. Smith.  Anyone who grew up in youth group in the '90s will remember this classic.

Packing up the dreams God planted
In the fertile soil of you
I can't believe the hopes He's granted
Means a chapter in your life is through

But we'll keep you close as always
It won't even seem you've gone
'Cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong

And friends are friends forever
If the Lord's the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
'Cause the welcome will not end
Though it's hard to let you go
Into the Father's hands we know
That a lifetime's not too long
To live as friends

September 3, 2014

There's No Place Like Home

When we bought this house five years ago, I thought we'd live here forever.  It was perfect for us, gave us room to grow, and was close to family and friends.

This was our first home.  We searched for almost one year before finding this home, which was not our first choice but became our best choice.

We brought three babies home from the hospital to this home. 


I've decorated each room for my babies to celebrate their new lives.

We've watched three babies learn to crawl, walk, talk, and do many other firsts in this home.

Our highchair has sat in the same corner and seen three babies learn how to eat and throw food against the wall and on the floor.

I've sat in the same chair in the same corner to nurse all three of my babies.

My oldest started his first day of his first year of homeschool in this home.

First Day Of Kindergarten: he was so excited to wear his Cars backpack, filled with weapons and an ax sticking out.

We've been blessed with countless visitors, church services, home Bible studies, and long term guests.

I've sat on the huge brown corduroy couch in the family room and had memorable heart to heart talks with the people I love.

I've gone on hundreds of walks with my best friend, who lives a block away.

I've randomly stopped by her house and just walked in the door more times than I can count.

My dog has run away to her house more times than I wish to acknowledge.

We've learned to rely on God as never before in this home, as He has faithfully provided for us to stay here as we became a one income family.

Although I am so attached to this home, the truth is that it has felt like a millstone around our neck for the last few years.  The Lord has been so faithful to provide, but we've still felt the weight of this house to be overwhelming at times.  And that was because of our lack of faith and our desire to know God through abundance and not through scarcity.  But how we have looked forward to being free from the weight of it!  And now, the day is near....but it's not without sorrow.

Each time I do something I'm overwhelmed by thoughts of it being the last. This is the last time I'll walk to the lake.  The last time the kids will play at this park.  The last time they'll swim in this pool.  The last time we push them on this swing set.  The last time I'll look out this window.  The last time it will be September 3, 2014.  Life passes just too quickly, and I'm left wondering and hoping I've made enough memories, done everything I wanted to do, loved as much as I could.

This house is filled with so many memories, it's hard to let it go.  As we are waiting for it to sell, I find myself personally offended by each person who views it and decides it's not for them.  "What do you mean, they didn't place an offer?  This is the best home ever!  Anyone would be lucky to have it!" said she, with no bias whatsoever.

The story that God continually unfolds in our lives is one of reliance, not of abundance but of daily bread.  Daily, momentary graces. It's been 13 days since our house has been on the market.  I was so sure that God would swoop in, perform some miracle, and have it sold and finished by the time we moved.  I guess I forgot how He sloooowly unfolds His grace upon us, not in large overwhelming gusts, but in a slow process that results in growing and stretching.  And growing and stretching are hard.  I'd love to have the story of the miraculous sell that astounded everyone.  But God's story in the life of our family continually unfolds as one outside of time, outside of my will, outside of limits, outside of reason.  I am promised that all things work together FOR GOOD to those who are called according to His purpose.  So no matter what happens, I know that as long as I'm holding onto that light, whatever happens will be good.  Not fast, but good.

September 1, 2014

The Beginning

Well friends, it's been a long time.  Two years, two children, new church, new job, almost new state.  Yes, a new state.  This is the adventure that is currently unfolding.  Let's start at the beginning..... 

Last summer, we went on vacation to Idaho with our besties.

The purpose of our trip was to see if any of us would consider moving there.  The Mister has some family in the area, so we also visited them.  We spent our time exploring the city where we stayed and doing typical touristy activities.  While we all saw aspects of the city we liked, none of us were crazy about the big city vibe we were getting.  Our family, in particular, was looking for something more rural and farm-y.  Towards the end of the trip, we drove outside the city to see Mike's sister.  And we saw this...

We fell in love.  It felt like coming home.  We stayed there for three days, and came home with the decision we would move there.  I was pregnant with our third, and there was some potentially scary stuff happening with him, so I didn't want to start the moving process until he was born.  Here we are with him now, love of my life, almost one year old...

So after he was born as perfect as can be, Mike put in a transfer request through his company to work in the nearest town.  It was quickly denied, due to lack of available position.  Although, we quickly learned as we grew to know the people and the area, Californians are often considered......less than desirable people.  There is a "California culture" people from Idaho speak of, and not in a fond way.  So he put his transfer request in three more times over several months, all to no avail.  California gives parents six weeks of paid baby bonding leave to be used within the first year of their child's life, so we thought we had it all planned.  Mike would take his six weeks and we'd have plenty of time to move and get settled.  Although, as is often the case, God did not see this perfect plan we brought Him.  As his request was denied time and time again, we became discouraged, knowing we wanted to go but not seeing a way.

Sidenote: totally not sure what is happening with my face here.  Blame it on being eight months pregnant.

Over the last year, we have become focused on natural living, including natural medicine and healthy eating, but the outrageous pricing of healthy foods did not allow us to fully encompass the lifestyle as we wished.  So each denial was so discouraging.  We went for another visit in late spring, and both felt it totally confirmed to us that this is where we wanted to be.

The paid time off has to be used before the child turns one year, so we decided to attempt to transfer again one last time, just before the time would be up, as a last ditch effort.  And, what do you know?  God, in His usual fashion, decided now was the time.  The very last moment, last effort, and that's when He chose to allow things to happen.  And there were so many details of how it all came to be, ways that God used many people in the process of encouraging the managers of the store to allow him to transfer.

They gave him a start date of FIVE weeks away.  A year of waiting, and now we have five weeks?!?! To sell what we can, pack up everything we own, sell our house, say our goodbyes.....five weeks seemed so short.

I wanted to move.  I was fully on board.  I wanted chicken, goats, cows, a garden.  But when it became a reality?  It didn't go well.  Terrified, sorrowful, angry......those were the emotions I was feeling, not excited, happy, elated.  I was dreading telling my family and friends.  I was feeling such deep sorrow, as if I was feeling my pain plus the pain I knew I was causing others.  I didn't allow myself to experience any happiness, because I wanted to feel as bad as I thought everyone else would feel.  It was a dark few days, filled with bitterness, anger, and a deep sadness I would equate to losing a loved one in death.  I started blaming poor Mike, my mind quickly forgetting I had been so excited about this a short time before.  Luckily, it's hard to keep me down for long.  Once I got over the excruciating experience of telling my loved ones, a small sliver of excitement started to pierce through the dark, like rays of sun sneaking through thunderclouds.

This old barn is on my sister-in-law's property.

We have been so busy, moments of sadness come in waves, but the excitement is growing.  Right now?  We have no plans.  We have no money (please sell, house!).  We have no idea what comes next.  And if I meditate on those thoughts, I feel like an elephant is sitting on my chest.  So instead, I choose to meditate on The Lord.  The One who's very words will be a light unto my path.  My path is dark. Scary. Unknown. Filled with bumps and ditches?  Possibly.  But I've got my light to show me the way.  The Lord has opened this door, and it's my job to walk through it.  It's not my job to light the path.  It's my job to hold onto the Light as I walk.  Today, I don't know where I'll be living in three weeks, when or if my house will sell, and whether I will love it or hate it in my new home state.  But today, I choose to trust the same God who has proven Himself faithful to me countless times, who I have seen provide in miraculous ways, who I know has my best interest in mind.   So friends, if you stop by my house, you may find me giddy with excitement or heaving with sorrow,  but I know that this is only the beginning, good things are to come, and I serve a good God.