Category Archives: Cross Country Move

The Jelly Belly Factory

“Mom, do they actually make stuff in factories?” my 11 year old asked me.

“Yes, they do. Remember the Jelly Belly Factory?”

“No, I don’t.”

How can she not remember the Jelly Belly Factory, I think. A place we went many times in California. Then I realize she was just too little the last time we were there.

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And it hits. That wave of grief. Grief may seem to strong of a word, but I’m going with it. The memories came flooding back. I suddenly felt that Ca air. Warm heat that isn’t using humidity to try and choke you to death. My kids are little again, I am not battling loosing post traumatic move across the country weight, and things are immensely comfortable, familiar, and safe.

But that’s not reality and somehow it just hits so hard that, that likely never will be again. I text my friend to tell her how weird it is that my whole entire life there is just gone and she replies, “No, it is still part of you.” and she’s right.

It is.

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I ponder again where this level of pain comes from. Out. of. the. blue. And again I conclude that it doesn’t matter. It just is. But then again, I had a great and terrific morning and I have never been more keenly aware that when I take a step forward Satan is kinda mad about that. So, coincidence? I think not.

I received a text last week to see if I would be interested in heading up decor for a gala for a crisis pregnancy center that is in town. Gala? My thoughts turn to Rachel’s regatta gala and I smile. Then I find out it’s at a building built in the twenties, an old theater. Downtown. Please pinch me. And the cause? raising money to save babies lives. Done.

So my first team meeting was onsite at the venue this morning. I’m an event planner without events to plan, as of late, and they start saying words like stanchion and evening wear and I promise I want to just curl up on the floor and die. Or more realistically, close my eyes under the 15 foot chandelier while they talk all around me. I’m home. Dramatic? Yes, I know. I can’t help it. I’m so honored to be a part of this and it just makes me happy to know buildings like this exist. I could live here. Have I mentioned that? …and event planning of any kind is my favorite.

 

Then today.

“Mom, you know what I can’t wait for?” my 11 year old asks me.

No, what?

“Summer. The pool to open, swimming after dinner, warm, cozy air, and Cicadas making those noises.”

Then it hits again. I went into her little imagination and I felt it too. The memories of summer came flooding back and I can’t wait either…for Missouri summer. My little Cali girl has made new memories and so have I. We’ve had two full years here. Two sets of everyone’s birthdays, two Thanksgivings, two Christmas Eves of throwing oatmeal spiked with glitter on the roof for the reindeers. It’s a good beginning.

 

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I know the hours of the library by heart, I have made friends with half the checkers at Trader Joes, and I rarely use maps anymore. I drove to the grocery store in the snow this morning without any increase in heart rate. I’ve survived a couple of tornadoes and I’ve found the best thrift store in town.

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The last three years of my life have been ones that I could never have imagined in so very many ways. Surprises and sharp turns daily, many times hourly. What God has done….it would take me a book to write it. Leaning into to Him is the very best choice that I make in my life and I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today if I had chosen something else.

My word this year….build.

My Jesus, ever faithful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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All The Things.

 

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*”mommy, I will pose for you”…AND. I. QUOTE.

Raw.

It is the word that comes to mind about how we live these days and months. We are still in a difficult period in our lives and I am still in a place of deep peace. It is well with my soul. Truly.

I praise God for His transforming, healing power. I am living it. I praise God for all of the blessings He has given my family. I praise God for loving us. I can’t wait until I look back and think, good grief those couple years were ridiculous and they changed us for the better. Maybe change isn’t dramatic enough. Maybe, “He makes all things NEW”. Not just better, not just changed, but N E W. Beautifully NEW.

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Something about a fresh start in a cross country move has provided a safe place to unravel after a very tough season. Or in reality, to fall apart. Praise God, no, for real. Praise God, for that. He doesn’t waste a moment. When you’ve overstayed your welcome in the world of holding it together, this part inevitably comes.

It’s a funny thing, moving. It doesn’t sound that dramatic. But as one of my children expressed to me, “It’s like everything I knew, everything that made me comfortable, everything I was…it’s all gone. Gone… and I didn’t have a say in the matter.” Literally words spoken to me by my child that were breathed before that on my heart. It’s how moving FEELS. That alone is not easy. Some say “kids are resilient”. I say kids are freaking amazing, articulate, little people that feel everything we adults feel and sometimes do it even better than us. Our move was voluntary, but yet 100% necessary to provide a healthy place for our family. As I’ve come to find out, moving, when it wasn’t what you wanted, even though you understand it and embrace it, makes things just a tad more difficult, especially to inquisitive children.

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*a university over 100 years old that looks like a castle. can I be 18 again?

But I wanna feel everything. I want to lean into life head on. To heal and move on from things, no matter how long it takes. To bleed and forgive and make it through. The timing is in God’s hand. Feeling is the hard stuff. Feeling when you are raw is almost unbearable. I could give you an example to drive that point home, but as self appointed president of queasy stomachs of America, I will refrain. Feeling is not the easy route, definitely the road less traveled. There are a million things thrown at us every second to lesson and dull life’s bumps and bruises. So, I will prayerfully and humbly learn to run towards the roar. Sometimes the healing is in the aching. (Just a little thing I read on Pinterest).

Which brings me to this book. Through The Eyes Of A Lion. Levi Lusko. Please get it. Read it. There is a pastor and his wife who live in Montana. They have four little girls. One of them was called home to heaven with no warning shortly before Christmas. These guys have been through what seems to me, about one of the worst things you can walk through. This man has every single justification to write a book about their pain, and he did, BUT not because He wanted to talk about His pain and how hard it was. Rather He wanted to tell His story of how JESUS is healing his heart and the heart of his family without their precious Lenya on this earth. Deep pain and great perspective go hand in hand. There is such good stuff in this book, I can’t dare explain it to you, lest I mess it up. You’ve got to read it.

My mantra these days, “Chase God.” It has become my heart beat. Always has been in my head, but it’s being burned in my heart and soul like no other time in my life. If I was to ever tattoo, this would be it.

Break my heart for what breaks yours. I’ve sung it a million times. He’s answering.

Disturb me, Oh Lord. I’ve prayed it a million times. He’s answering.

Where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars. It’s happening. Holla.

The thing about raw living. It is just that. Raw. Red and painful as the dictionary defines it. Such simplicity for such complexity. Raw is not an easy place when you are in an environment where every single thing is new. Raw is messy. Raw is not always received well. Raw is sometimes misunderstood and sometimes it means you don’t get invited back. Raw. That place doesn’t bring with it warm and fuzzy, it brings pain. Pain that is waiting for healing. I am thankful for my people that hold me up.

All of it is o.k.

Because He leads. He writes our story.

He makes all things new.

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*apparently Lewis and Clark were here. at this spot. 

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We are leaving in 18 days for a marathon road trip back to California. It will be the first time my kids have been back since the move. I am everything about it. It’s going to be difficult and amazing. I have 25 photography clients to see. We will do Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Lake Tahoe and everything we can fit in, in between. It’s all planned, which I don’t like to plan certain things, but we gotta make sure we get to see everyone and do everything. So plan, we must…

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*do not mess with parks in Missouri

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This summer has dragged on and on for me. It’s been awesome, but long. I am craving routine (who just said that?). I am looking forward to returning from Ca and beginning our 7th year of homeschooling. And by the way, do you ever hear yourself say something and think, “wow, there’s a sentence I never thought I would say?”. #yeahthat

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*the ferris wheel between the trees

I have spent a ton of time this summer to continue my education with health and wellness. I have listened to webinars, read books, and attended the Young Living convention down in Texas with 20,000 others. I love that my family is on a path to improved physical and emotional health. I am so grateful for all that I’ve learned and the people I have met. God created our bodies and they are ridiculous {in a good way}. It’s just unreal and I am so grateful for my hippie oils and the community I have become a part of. Life changing. Not at all the weirdos I thought they were.

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Yesterday was a good day. Following the advice of my search of things to do in Kansas City, we went exploring up to Parkville, Mo and the Missouri River. It was downright adorable. Like a hometown boy doing a juggling show on a main stage, while a saloon girl from a show depicting life long ago searched the internet on her cell phone, while the smells of funnel cake filled the air. There was actual little cans of air freshner spray in the outhouse, giant flags on the sides of buildings, and adorable dishes in antique shops. It was all so very Hope Floats.

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*juggle young man, this is your moment.

We played, laughed, fought, made up, and unexpectedly saw the blue angels fly.

There have been many times this past year or two that I have stayed quiet. Fear silences me. Fear of whining again. Fear of people thinking I am a failure because I can’t seem to get my crap together. Fear of admitting that I am drowning. Fear of  feeling.  But God writes our story, it’s not our job. We are to live…with vigor. Do you want to hear a beautiful truth I recently learned? We have a mic in our hands and it is always on.

If a man who had to close the eyes of his five year old little girl and would never again see them open on this earth can live out loud, then dang it, I can too.

Our life is speaking something wether we like it or not. Jesus controls the volume, but our mic is always on.

Crank it up Lord Jesus.

I am with you.

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My Thoughts On Tornadoes.

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*photo cred from April Yost. Facebook. Taken in my hood.

October of 2013 and we are looking for where God would lead us next. I prayed that it would be a place with no tornadoes and a place where I could get back home to visit in a day in the car. I hate to fly almost as much as I hate tornadoes. So, these were my straightforward requests. Naturally, we packed up and left Ca to come to Missouri. 1800 miles away and on the edge of tornado alley. I asked and asked about the tornadoes and everyone was like, “oh, we barely deal with that here”. Well last Wednesday, I apparently experienced the barely.

*Warning to anyone reading this of midwestern descent: I’ve tried to minimize the drama here. Keep your laughing to a minimum. Remember I’m newish and arrived with an intense fear of tornadoes. Thank you and please continue…

Two days ago, I was sitting in Panera, having dinner with a friend. I had a photo shoot at 8pm, so I had been watching the weather. I checked before I left the house at 5 pm and there was a small chance of thunderstorms, that was it. I met my friend for dinner and about 6:40 or so, I get an alert on my phone for a tornado watch. I looked at the window and all looked clear. I guess I am getting acclimated to life in the midwest, because the alert didn’t really concern me. A couple of  loud thunders later and I started to pay attention. Moments later multiple phones start beeping that intense alert sound all across the restaurant. I look down and my phone was flashing to seek shelter immediately. It was a different alert than I had ever seen. Being from California and new to all this business, I look around and study people to see if I should be concerned. Some were concerned, some were eating soup, and some were up looking out the window. My friend called her husband to see what we should do and he suggested we get to the church because it was close by and there was a basement. We walked outside and I heard it, my first tornado siren. Chilling as I imagined it would be. Did you know tornado sirens were NOT designed to be heard indoors? Only outdoors? Little bit of trivia.

So I’m standing there thinking what is worse? Try to get to a basement somewhere or go back in Panera where there was really no really good place to go for safety. We chose to go back in. Because as I told my friend, I’ve seen too many you tube videos of tornadoes where I am all, “why are those people driving during a tornado warning?”. I didn’t want to be one of them. It was a bit chaotic inside. Nobody really knew what to do, including the workers. We were asking them where we should go, what their plan was? Finally, about 6:55 we are instructed to get in the freezer. We shut the door and then the power goes out. It was surreal. I just kept thinking this can not be happening. The power flickered a few times, and came back on. That is when a lady entered that had been driving by and pulled in to take cover. She told us that there was a tornado on the ground about 2 miles away. Then she took selfies with her friends. (The tornado indeed touched down at 6:54, two miles away). Of course there is. I never panicked, but I did start wondering if this metal box that we were standing in would withstand anything. I realized my babies were at home with my husband, and my teens were at church. I knew they were all in basements and as safe as possible. I looked around at the 10 year old crying and hugging her mama next to me, the two little kids clinging to their parents from cold and playing the iPhone seemingly unaware of the impending danger, and I look at the shelves that were stalked with a freakish amount of mayonnaise. I start on a rabbit trail in my own head wondering just how much mayonaise does a restaurant really need. Maybe it was on sale wherever they purchase it from. There was all kinds of other food, but none in the quantity that the mayonnaise was. It was then I realized that my friend was tending to everyone around her. Meeting people, talking, smiling, at peace. I was numb and wondering if I was going to be in a tornado with my last thought contemplating Panera’s mayonnaise quantity. Lord, how did I get here?

We were released from the freezer and some people left the restaurant. After looking at the weather, we decided to stay put. It was nasty. Then after a couple of minutes we were told to go back in the freezer as there was another warning just issued. After another 15 minutes or so, a fireman came in and said that there was going to be a small break in the storm and we were clear to get home.  Panera informed us that they were closing for the night and we needed to leave. We asked to stay through 8 pm and the end of that tornado warning. They obliged and told us to help ourselves to a cookie on the way out. I was shocked at the lack of any kind of plan they had in an emergency situation, but let me tell you, their freezer? Spotless. So there’s that and I don’t really feel like a cookie, but thank you.

I have never seen it rain so hard in all my life. A short few feet to the car and I was drenched. I thank my friend for dinner as I run to my car. She yells “I love you”. “I love you, too,” I yell back and I was on my own. My next goal was to get to church about ten minutes away. I call my husband and ask him to call the teens and have them come to the door so they could jump in the car and we could all get home before the next storm arrived. Church was right on the way and it seemed smart so we wouldn’t have to go back out later and get them. As I pull in to church, multiple people were leaving, so I felt a bit better about my decision to keep going home. As my daughter jumps in the car she says, “mom, the sirens are going off again we have to go back in side.” I leave the car and we further added to our drowned rat appearance as we make our way in the building. There I find my son immediately. People are still leaving, so I tell the kids…let’s go. We dash back to the car, tornado sirens blaring, lightening flashing, thunder crashing, and rain like I’ve never seen. We have about 7 or 8 minutes until home. In hindsight maybe not the smartest idea? But for whatever reason, it’s what I did. The whole night was kinda like that. There really is not a thing that everybody was doing, so you have to figure it out.

As we are driving, it is obvious how bad the flooding is starting to get. Too late to turn back now. Not many people are on the roads and we pass several police with lights on. I wonder where they are going. I look to the right and the nastiest clouds I have ever seen are staring back. I wonder if that holds the end of the “break” in the storms that we were supposedly in. I hold my daughter’s hand and tell her we are almost home. We just need to get home. That drive sucked, tbh. Bad.

It has never felt so fabulous to pull in my driveway. My husband met us and we headed to our basement. We did the normal things, I guess. Watched the news, texted, changed into dry clothes, lit candles, and said a billion times I can’t believe we live somewhere where this stuff happens. Occasionally, we went upstairs to see what was going on. At one point it was green. I couldn’t see the sidewalk. It looked like we were in a dust storm. Wind, rain, lightening, thunder, and then a tree branch blew by our window and we decided to go back downstairs and stay put.

I heard reports of 4-6 inches of rain, 8,000 lightening strikes per 5 minutes, 80mph winds. Not sure how accurate all that is. I don’t need the stats. It was bad.

About ten thirty or so it was all over. Shawn went to the corner for crushed ice, cheap frozen pizzas, and sour cream and onion chips. It was everyone’s requests. His report after returning home was lots of flooding, lots of trees down, and a trampoline in our neighbors tree. I live here.

After consuming the most unhealthy dinner in all the world at 11 pm, we all try and get some sleep. Morning couldn’t come soon enough. Daylight please.

It was a reminder of the absolute reality of how out of control we are in our lives. At any given moment during a normal day I don’t live like, hey that car could hit us on the freeway. What if I get cancer? What if an elephant runs me over at the zoo and kills me dead? I mean how absurd. Yet, when I was standing in that freezer with no options of where to go I imagined how tiny we were and what the skies looked like that were swirling above my head. I have never felt so small and helpless. It just reminds me how easy it is to have faith when faith isn’t really required to get through your life. Having faith in the all too close for comfort moments? That is when it counts.

As soon as I woke up, we all got in the car to drive around and look at damage. We went and saw where the tornado touched down and drove around our neighborhood as well.  I could not believe the amount of trees down in my neighborhood. Huge trees snapped in half. all. over. Knocked out of the ground roots and all. There were two trampolines crumpled up and sitting haphazardly in odd places. I exit our subdivision and drive the street that runs along the side of it, about a mile from my house. A roof was gone, a little barn was destroyed and scattered everywhere, and again more trees down. I read online that a tornado had been confirmed touched down here as well. Awesome. Two tornadoes, two hours apart, both within two miles of me. TOO MUCH.

So grateful it was not worse. Because it could have been SO much worse. F1. No injuries were reported from any of the damage. Hard to fathom the whole thing honestly. It was barely posted on Facebook. No one really has talked about it. I can only imagine that this is like when there is a 4.8 earthquake in Cali. It’s a non issue really. Yeah it could have been worse, but it wasn’t. It is the price you pay for living on the San Andreas Fault. Your heart beats a bit faster and you ask everyone around you, “Did you feel that?”. Because of course they did but somehow you have to make sure. So I am still shaking days later, but I suppose I’ll get used to it. Next time maybe I’ll join the others and stand in the parking lot and take video.

Years ago, I had the pleasure of being miles from the epicenter of the Loma Prieta quake in ’89. I’ve been asked by friends back home, “what’s better? earthquakes or tornadoes??”

The answer? They are both scary.

I recommend neither.

 

Check out some pictures and video here.

This was shot by somebody from the parking lot right outside where I was. Unbelievable video.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Beginning

It was a cool California night in November 2005, ten short years ago. My husband comes home from his new position at a new church and tells me about auditions for the worship team: describing the people etc. etc. He told me about a gal that he wasn’t going to have continue on the worship team. Great, I tease, makin’ friends right off the bat. Because this gal and family were very plugged into our new church and I wasn’t sure how they’d react. Because I worry like that. Following what you believe God asks of you often doesn’t make sense and we go about our night.

Shortly after that, I get a call from this lady. She wants to take me to coffee. I’m all great, GREAT. Clearly, she wants to beat me up. She has too. I agreed to meet her and prepared my in defense of my husband speech and made sure my mouth guard was waiting in my purse. On the way to coffee, I called my best friend for back up. She was now living two hours away from me and I told her I was getting ready to get pummeled and I would call her when I was done, or released from the hospital.

I pulled up to meet my attacker who turned out to be the darling lady, who was wearing the darling beret, and carried a darling handbag, sitting in the corner. I thought it an odd choice to beat me up in, but I took a deep breath and entered the coffee shop…

and that began a beautiful friendship. No jabs. No cruel words. No mouth guard needed. She just wanted to meet me. Class act, that one.

Years of ministry work through thriving times in our church and times of not, we worked side by side and developed a deep relationship. It was clear God had so many other places he wanted to use this one and use her He does. Fast forward to fall of 2014 and we are hugging goodbye in my kitchen, as I am preparing for yet another move. I have been crying for about 4weeks straight by this point and Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam is my in head play list. All Cried Out, indeed. Then she says it. She whispers in my ear. Some one is going to take you to coffee. Go.

Words that seem simple but have such deep meaning to them. History. Authentic history.

She sends me care packages. It’s almost like I’m away at college. Books to feed my soul and a plaque that hangs in my closet “Put on your big girl panties” to remind me. She knows I need it. We’ve gone through some deep crap together along with our other girls from those years and good grief can I tell you how ridiculously blessed I am with my people back home. Still. They didn’t bail on me just because I’m 1800 miles away. We just adjusted.

God is so good.

Despite the fact that blog world can necessitate a certain sense of crypticness, I have left no secret in saying that I left California 16 months ago broken in pieces.

I have poured out portions of our story. I have doubted and questioned, but never ran. He has answered and encouraged through experiences that literally leave me speechless.

Because God binds up wounds. He heals. He takes circumstances where people mean to harm you and the devil is seeking to destroy you and He literally works them together for good. For. my. benefit. and I say Holla to that.

I am so grateful that He works in ways that continually surprise.

Don’t give up.

Don’t waiver.

Joy comes in the morning.

Just like He said it would.

But let us fix our eyes on God, the author and perfecter of our faith. Heb 12:2

 

have you heard this song? go get lost in it.

touch the sky

 

 

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Hello, My Lovelies.

I have sat down to write too many times to count and the words won’t come.  So, I start messy and with a blog that won’t currently let me post pictures.

 

Let’s discuss the weather first. I’m telling you, I don’t know how I lived without seasons thus far. I find them to be amazing. From a girl who rearranges furniture and paints walls as often as I change my socks, I am totally on board with the let’s change things up every three months plan. The only thing I miss desperately is that 109 degree DRY heat of summer in Cali. That does not happen here. Although it hasn’t yet, maybe it will. One thing I am learning about Missouri, is anything weather related is possible. There is snow on the ground, birds are chirping, my fire is roaring, and our less than efficient temperature readings say it “feels like” 13 even though the temperature is 19. #lifecurrently

A couple of weekends ago, I was in Joplin, Mo and ate at a Chick Fil A that was leveled by the F5 tornado several years ago. The friends we were with drove us through the hardest hit areas. You still see remnants of the path. It’s unreal. I came home and geeked out watching documentaries about it and it is hard to wrap my mind around the fact that I live 2 hours from where that happened. Spring is coming fast and those thunderstorms are coming back. I could live without the tornado possibility, but they are unbelievable fascinating. If only I could see one in real life from a place where I was 100% safe. Ya know? #talesofanearthquakegirl

 

 

A couple of weeks ago, I went on a road trip with one of my daughters. We had never done that before…so fun. We drove 8 hours down to Texas to stay with some of my people and attended the Great Homeschool Convention in Fort Worth. I went to SO many great workshops and was able to spend hours looking through curriculum. So many of the writer’s of the curriculum were at this convention. It was awesome to be able to speak to them in person and learn from them.

One curriculum I really wanted to check out was FIVE IN A ROW. I really wanted to spend some time reading through it to see if it would be a good fit to do with MY BABY WHO WILL BE STARTING PRE K NEXT YEAR. (ugh). I get to their booth only to find it EMPTY. After several attempts over the first two days, I finally track down the creator of the curriculum who was there solo, WITHOUT his books!

Long story, he says.

So, I jokingly replied, well then I won’t tell you I came all the way from Missouri to see your curriculum!

I came down from Missouri.

Wow! I am from Kansas City area.

Really? I am from Lees Summit.

Um, me too.

and we continue this weird little geography back and forth until it turns out he lives exactly 1.1 miles from me. So, I am going over next week for coffee and to look at the curriculum in their home! #bam

WHAT ARE THE ODDS?????? It might be fate. 

Other convention highlights?

My daughter met Math U See Steve. #hesreallytall

I found two new curriculum treasures. ONE THAT I WILL BE REVIEWING SOON…stay tuned. It’s adorableness can not be explained properly.

I was eating lunch alone and Math U See Steve came and sat with me and had lunch with me. (My daughter might think I am famous now)

If you don’t do conventions and you homeschool, make it a priority to get to one. I am reminded every year when I go how NOT alone we are in this journey. We are not weird, well we are, but ya know. Go to the workshops, touch the books, pet them, wheel around a plastic cart or carry a canvas tote if you need to. You won’t be sorry. Do what you need to do to stay inspired. It’s a necessary part of what we do.

This was the best one I have ever been too. SO glad we went.

…and getting to see some of my bestest people was icing on the cake. So was eating at In ‘N Out… Dear Lord, if you see fit, could you please build an In ‘n Out in Missouri. Amen.

 

 

I am not sure if I technically live in the Bible belt or not, but let me tell you many things here are a far cry from anything I would see in California. Gas stations with full racks of shirts praising Jesus, Chick Fil A plays Christian music. I mean….

This was the same thought that I was having as I was in the Target bathroom and all of a sudden a song blatantly praising Jesus came on. I didn’t even realize Target played music. WOW. Totally not in Cali anymore. I closed my eyes for a minute and thanked God from the bottom of my heart for this little known gem I live in, in the middle of America. Fourteen months into this cross country move thang and I still mostly feel like an alien, but hearing this music…somehow just feels like I belong. So great.

Then I realize it was coming from my purse. From my phone. My make up case had decided to turn on my music.

*flushes toilet*

I can’t even…

 

 

Y’all things have been difficult around here. I want to fill endless posts of stories of beauty and there is beauty, but the truth of it is telling it has simply been too much some days and that is ok for now. My pride struggles a bit as well because I am tired of saying things are hard, but they are what they are and I have to be ok with that too. #toeverythingthereisaseason

I honestly can say that I have never been through a season in life where I feel quite so certain that Satan is so after my family, my home, our hearts, and our minds. 2013 was a brutal year and at the end of that year God in His sovereign mercy chose to swoop in and protect my family in ways only He can. So, I mapped out in my head what the next steps were going to be. I need to knock that off.

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I would like to say that 2014 has driven me to my knees. You know a pretty picture of rays of sunlight streaming in and there I am kneeling by my bedside, eyes softly closed and lips forming words to a prayer pleading with God for wisdom and help.

But no. It has been one where there is no energy for kneeling, so you lay bloody on the floor face down. Eyes swollen from tears that are just about to do you in and lips that are still because your soul is doing all the talking, the screaming really. Silently, yet louder than any noise heaven has heard before.

“I always thought that desperation was to be avoided at any cost. Now I am learning that being desperate isn’t always a reflection of a disaster but an attitude to cultivate. Desperation for God is a good thing. If you became desperate for God, do you understand what that could mean for the rest of your life?” 

“The kingdom of heaven means being near to the presence of God. The kingdom, the presence of God, is a blessing that comes to the poor in spirit. Poverty of spirit comes to us after we have tried to do life on our own and realize we cannot be enough. We have looked inside our souls and seen that nothing good is there. We have owned up to our sin and fessed up to our motives. We have yelled and cursed and screamed. We’ve finally let the truth of our insides out; into the light comes the reality of poverty. We come to see our emptiness for what it truly is: the absence of God. “

~Angela Thomas

 

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3

And so the ah ha moment produces a different course of action. One that is not furiously scribbling out plans and to do lists of how to turn this mutha out. You know all the Pinterest inspired ways to be a better wife, a better mom, more clever, more organized, and more holy. All intended to get my junk together. Nope. It’s one I call the #bestill plan. One that is completely enveloped in one thing and one thing alone. Crawling up into the arms of my Savior and staying there in the shadow of His wings.  A longing that is felt in a way unmatched, other than when it is produced from complete and total desperation.

There is so much praise in pain.

Faith adds its “Amen” to God’s “Yea,” and then takes its hands off, and leaves God to finish His work. ~Streams in the Dessert

There is so much glory in pain.

 “Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”

He’s doing just that and I have a front row seat.

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and with that…I swim.

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Memory Lane

In March of 2013, my family settled in to what I hoped to be our forever home. Fast forward to May of 2014 and I sit in the city of Less Summit, Missouri. I had never heard of Lees Summit, Missouri. Everything changed in a very big whirlwind. I didn’t know Missouri was called the Show Me Sate and I had never heard of Abundant Life Church or Pastor Phil Hopper. I sit here tonight, grateful that during a very unsettling year of my life, I was able to blurt out some words to remember. Mostly, so I can remember what God did, how He cared for us, how He comforts, and how He teaches.

Here is the journey of our days during our last school year. I found myself reading it tonight . I pulled out some past posts that tell the story, part of the story. As always, with blogging I crave authenticity. At the same time, wisdom puts forth just part of the story. A blog post could never tell it all and some things just shouldn’t be said. So, here is the part that hopefully shares our feelings, our longing to be where God wants us, but most of all highlights His faithfulness.

The unknown is frightening.

Hebrews 12:2 But let us fix our eyes on God, the author and perfecter of our faith.

June 2013- May 2014 looked a little something like this…

Room 822. An overnight get away. How we did not understand at that time, but we very much we needed to be on the same page for what was coming up…God knew.

Trust. Oceans became on permanent repeat in my head and my heart. NOT a coincidence.

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Setting Up Home. Little did I know, we would be leaving this gorgeous home just six months later.

Our Classroom! Hard work to turn our garage into our classroom.

Pink. Struggling with not having everything done and leaving on a trip to visit family.

First Day of School.  I wasn’t prepared as I wanted to be, but it happened! I had high hopes for the year.

God Reads My Blog. My husband’s appendix burst into a million little bits.

The List. My husband chooses to resign His position and we step out on faith that God will provide a new ministry.

More Listy Type Things. Reality begins to sink in. We have really stepped out on faith. The days of our income are ticking.

Wednesdays. Sometimes God seems slow and sometimes He exceeds your expectations in ways you can’t fathom. God showed us our new ministry in Missouri.

House Hunting. Back to Missouri to look for a place to call home.

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My Prayer. Thoughts just 19 days away from moving.

Six More Days. The last week in Cali.

I’m Kinda A Mess, But Not.  On the road to Missouri.

We’re From California. Figuring out this new life.

What’s Up, Straws. Working through the homesickness.

I Don’t know When To Turn. Life in Missouri.

Home. Offer accepted!

I Miss My Chickens. Settling in.

Back To School, Again. Trying to regain some sort of normal.

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The Hose. This story involves frozen barf and my lack of knowledge of how to deal with the cold.

The Post That Changed Me. Looking back on our time in our little paradise country home.

First Snow. And we do some major crushin’ on our first snow storm.

Life In Missouri. Joany goes home to be with Jesus.

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But today. Putting my big girl panties on and finding some FUN.

That One Valentines Day. Shawn goes back to California for Joany’s celebration services and I fall and pee my pants, no really.

Just Some Stuff. We have keys!

Musings From Missouri.  Getting settled, again.

Be Known. Visitors from Cali and aching for normal.

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Our story is far from over. However, it has been 4.5 months since we arrived in Missouri and I would say we are settling in. We have no regrets. We are so grateful that God moved and brought us here. Moving 1800 miles away from your entire life is hard and will continue to be at times. That’s reality. However, it is also reality that we love our new life here. God cares about the itty bitty details and loves us so much. It’s sometimes hard to take in.

Now that the big move part is really over, I am looking forward to see what this next year holds. Life in all it’s daily glory. Trials and joys, hand in hand. I have learned to hold my plans a little more loosely than I did in days past.

Proverbs 16:9 In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.

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Be Known

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I have thought so many times about what has been hard about moving across the country. It may seem obvious, but it still makes me ponder. Sure, you leave every shred of comfort that you know and love, even the things you hated you find yourself missing. All the familiar is gone, the second you drive away. It was and still is overwhelming sometimes. BUT…one of my children said it best the other day…

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“I just want to wake up and feel normal.”

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And so I got to thinking about how to help make them “FEEL NORMAL”.

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Cue a visit from a bestie and her family. Perfect timing. There is such comfort in souls that are intertwined from years of history. Ones who know you. One who gets you.

It’s irreplaceable.

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It takes time to build that and we will. God provides all our needs again and again.

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It makes me ever so grateful that God knows me intimately, in both California and Missouri.

May I always remember to treasure those hearts that are around me, and to remember in whom I belong in the first place.

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Life is absolutely not meant to live alone.

I am so grateful for my people. Both my dearest of friends in California and the new ones I am making here in Missouri.

…and for my parents who will be here to visit in just 11 days.

Happy Tuesday!

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Musings From Missouri

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1. I think I over use the word musings. It is a fancy word. I like fancy.

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2. We are starting to feel settled in our house. There was so much work to do and big ticket items to purchase, but we have the basics almost done. We have successfully obliterated most of the oak throughout the house. The kitchen cabinets are my project for the summer! Over the next year, as budget allows, the frills will come. You know the throw pillows, curtains, candles, rugs, and things like that. I will tackle it room by room. BUT- let me tell you I am in love with this house. I love the feel of it. The back yard view sold me from day one. It seems kinda like you are living in the country, but the other way, one street over is a giant lake and tons of houses. The only big bummer is they will not allow chickens here. That is sad, but I once again buy eggs at Trader Joes. Which, off topic, rumor has it, we might get one here. If you are bored, please go to the Trader Joe’s website and request a location in Lees Summit, Mo. The check out gal told me to do it. She said they listen. Couldn’t hurt, right?

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3. West Bottoms. Oh. Wow. It’s like my dreams came to life. #noreally. Amazing things. In old brick buildings. Blocks and blocks of it, for Dirt cheap. Best. Shopping. Ever. The. End.

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4. I went to a homeschool convention recently and it was so stinkin’ fabulous to be around grown ups. I went to workshops and walked the exhibit hall. It was nice to use my brain. The conferences re energize me every year. I am finalizing my choices for next year. Our SIXTH year of homeschooling???? WHAT?????? 🙂 Never say never, remember that. You’ve been warned!

5. I have always heard that people in the midwest are so kind. I think it’s crazy to generalize a whole geographical region that way. I mean who started that? However, people here are very nice. Very. Not just the people from my church, but it sure does seem people in general are less in a hurry and more willing to engage in a conversation. BUT THEN, the drivers here? Another story. Four separate times I have been cussed at, flipped off, and yelled at in a manner that is shameful. My kids have seen it all and we’ve decided maybe it’s my California plates? Need to change those and see if things improve, lol. It’s not my driving skills. I did nothing. Don’t go there. Really, I’m an excellent driver ;).

6. I went to Kobe Steakhouse/Casting Crowns with a bunch of peeps from church. Had. A. Blast. This Friday we are going to a dinner and the symphony. We are being spoiled rotten and enjoying every second. So many things to do, see, and explore. It’s ridiculously fun.

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7. The weather. Hmmmmm. We had a couple thunder/lightening situations which I heard were “nothing”. Nothing my foot, I say. We just never had weather like that in California. Period. BUT overall, I am loving the change in seasons. It’s amazing and I am SO glad we get to experience it. You know all those activities about the change of seasons you do in elementary school? They make sense now.

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8. Have you ever been to Costco and purchased a tv, 2 rotisserie chickens, and a bag of chips? These items snuggled in with my treasures from West Bottoms and we made it home, chuckling all the way. Not sure why that is funny, but somehow it is.

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9. I love that God knows your dreams and what will fill your soul and prepares you for things in your life, long before you ever even dream them. Our church and new city are like that for us. We didn’t look on the map and find a “cool” place, and the best school districts, and the perfect weather, and a certain size church. We prayed, God lead us and when we get there, show us the beauty. In fact, to be honest, all I knew about Missouri was that it was somewhere in the middle-ish. But in reality it is this hidden gem that I didn’t know existed and I just love it here. Let me just tell you what God does. He works all things together for my good. This move has stretched us, caused more discussions, arguments, forgiveness, and new levels of honesty in our family then I could have prepared for. It has been stupidly hard and infinitely worth it. The best things in life do not come for free. When you look for the beauty, you WILL find it, wherever you are. For beauty is God breathed and He is everywhere. He hand picked Lees Summit, Mo for such a time is this and I am beyond grateful. This past weekend, I had one of the nicest things said to me I have ever heard. I was thanked because this person said it was apparent that our family moved here with our hearts. There are no words for that to me. For my tired and overworked heart, it clicked into place immediately. This is why the sleepless nights and shed tears have been so many. We did just that. We just want to follow Him with our whole hearts. Whatever that looks like.

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10. I created a wall of our people. I am working on getting the frames all filled, but it makes me so incredibly happy.

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11. I have an empty pantry, not even shelves. It is this weekend’s project. Wish me luck and pray that the unsuspecting Lowe’s dude will make all the cuts I need on the lumber, because I have plans and no saw. Maybe I should buy one.

12. How big does the rock need to be? I mean, really?

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Happy Friday, my friends. I will be back next week, hopefully with a glorious new and well organized pantry!

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Just Some Stuff

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We have keys!!

It was another delay from Friday to Monday. We signed papers Friday night at 9:30 pm. We were just waiting to hear on Monday from the money peeps that the final details were done and we could get keys. So image our torture, all weekend. Waiting. The house was sitting there empty, but we couldn’t get in. On Monday, we finally got word that we were homeowners in the afternoon and this is the response from my realtor. LOL. He is crazy, that one, and thankfully was kidding and met us within the hour. He’s been fantastic.

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Our home is currently getting some work done and we are still hanging out in the rental home. I am a huge fan of DIY but there is just only so many hours in the day and the wish list of projects on this 21 year old home was lengthy. So, we have hired some professionals to tackle a big chunk of some things upfront while the house is empty.

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No doubt, after we move in I will keep myself entertained by doing smaller projects here and there, but I am so thankful that we are able to have this done upfront. After the stress of the last year and the move it was going to be beyond fantastic to have these things all done for us and done right! I tend to cut corners 🙂

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We have had some time to hang out in the home and I have spent a lot of time flipping through pinterest, wallpaper books, and paint decks. In addition, decorating via text with my mama and a couple of my girls back in CA. I love technology. Shawn and a bunch of fabulous guys from church scraped all of the popcorn texture off of the ceiling and then the pros came in. They have a lot to do and we are 4 days into a 8-10 day job. It is nice to live so close, they call us over often to approve things and they have been fantastic.

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I seriously can’t wait to see the transformation of this house. Can’t wait to be home.

Meanwhile, we have been settling in. I get asked a lot if we are “doing school”. The answer is yes. However, it looks about a million percent different than normal. Thi is one of the 10,000 reasons I love homeschooling. There have been a lot of ups and downs of emotions with this move and I feel like we have been able to work through them with the kids while maintaing their studies. Some days school is at night, some in the morning, and sometimes at Chick Fil A. We have been able to take breaks when we need and go to the mall and ride a train. Go see a matinee and just relax. It has been needed.

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The older two kids have started part time, to take science and study hall and lunch:), for the remainder of the year at an awesome Christian homeschool enrichment school. It is set up like a college, in that you select the courses you want at the time you want and pay for those. Plus they have a whole bunch of student life activities and it has been great for the teens to be there and it has been fun to have some time with just the little ones.

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I have been asked a bunch about our new church. Things are going great and we love it, a lot. It is a perfect fit in so many ways. So many exciting things going on here and Shawn and I both feel incredibly blessed to be a part of it.

I have so many things to be grateful for. I still can not believe I live in Missouri. With the keys in hand and an official address it just seems super real now. A new wave of homesickness has set in and I believe will be here for awhile. As exciting as a new home is, quite honestly we just don’t feel completely at home here yet in Missouri, that just takes time. So, it’s just weird. As we unpack our things and put them away and create our new home over the next week or two, it becomes all the more real…and I am confident it will heal hearts.

Our prayer is to simply be used by Him. That’s what this move has been all about.

Faith. Blind faith.

Following Jesus and trusting Him.

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Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God. ~Phil 4:6

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So Close

You know how there is real reality and then emotional reality?

Reality is escrow was delayed for the third time. Emotionally it sorta feels like we may never move in. This real estate journey has been long.

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I’m feeling just as I was feeling one night when I was sitting outside my home on Guanache Ct in Sacramento. I was 36.5 weeks pregnant with my fourth child. I was 1.5 weeks into a 3 week bed rest. I had a firm end date because this baby inside of me was a giant and they would be evicting him at 38 weeks. Yet, still I sat outside drinking hot cocoa, wrapped in a blanket and crying because I felt like he was never coming out. I also knew after three previous children, that there would come a day that I would so desperately miss having that little guy in my belly. Sure enough he came out, all 10.6 lbs of him. Sure enough I miss having him in my belly…desperately.

I have no pregnancy hormones to blame. Just feeling unsettled and so ready for our own place. So, I am bummed.

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We had a big weekend planned. Lots of people planning and ready to help us do some work on our new home. Moving stuff out of our Uhaul Pods and into the garage. Time in my home with my paint deck and pencil and notepad to pick paint colors.

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All that has been changed. Change is hard right now because we have all had a lot, but the reality is we will close on the house soon. We will look back on the days in this house and miss them. I know we will.

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I am SO grateful to be purchasing this home and I am so excited to move in. Like Christmas morning times a million excited.

And so we wait….

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