Category Archives: Life

Vulnerable Strength

Last Sunday, I sat in tears in church listening to my pastor recount a story of a competition that he did years ago. It ended by going up Heartbreak Hill. He described how spent he was and how he doesn’t do endurance things well. He talked about how his lungs were burning and he was tired and weary. As his body was shutting down and his legs wouldn’t move, one of his team members came back for him. He helped him, pulled him, and pushed him up Heartbreak Hill. (You can hear the sermon here.)

That is what Jesus does for us. When you come to Heartbreak Hill. He’s there. 

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“Just when you think you couldn’t be anymore tired and you don’t think you can take one more thing, you come to Heartbreak Hill. It’s the place where dreams die, where people stop. You kick and claw and you just can’t quite get ahead. You start to go forward and slide right back down.”

Grace is God hanging on to you when you can’t even hang on to Him.

Keep your eyes on the prize, not the pain.

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This has been an unmatchably difficult year or two and I have struggled in some very deep ways. Dealing with death and life and everything in between. Life is beautiful and yet I find myself at the bottom of Heartbreak Hill. Truly, down in the depths of my soul.

February 7th, my dear friend Joany passed away and when she died a very deep part of me awoke. It awoke with a pain that was too deep to smother and pretend that everything was ok. It was too deep.

God works in layers on our soul. Praise Him for His grace. Layer by layer, He has gently been working on me to let go and live without fear. While the pain that I experience with her dying was deep, I felt it…and that my friends is trust. That, is courage. For this world, as I am continuing to learn takes a healthy dose of both. For a woman who was such a blessing to me personally through her life, even in her death, she helped me.

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For a girl who has spent a great deal of her early life flying around about a million miles an hour to stay busy, to avoid feeling, to avoid hurt, the Lord is healing me of that over the last several years. When you live like that you may escape some deep pain, but you also sacrifice deep joy. It is no way to live. God does not want that for me or anyone else.

I am clawing, and kicking, and screaming and there is fight in me that comes straight from Him and I am grateful.

He is hanging on to me…

The desire for authenticity in this life runs deep. It is my fuel and my lifeline and the more I awake the more I crave and the more I see it everywhere.

We need each other in this lifetime. We need to tell our stories.

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…and today as we celebrated my daughter’s 10th birthday and carnivaled it up at my church all afternoon, I teared again.

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This time watching my other daughter on stage with a ministry she is involved in. They lead worship for the kids at our church and they were doing shows throughout the afternoon at the carnival. I am so grateful for this group of kids and the people who started this ministry. I am so grateful that she wants to spend her time singing and dancing and proclaiming God’s truth. I am so grateful that God has given my girl a place to make friendships and belong.

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…and they sing. Big or small, Jesus Heals it all. #amen

I cry because today is also Joany’s birthday and I can’t imagine the way her family misses her on this day particularly.

There is a time for everything. Ecclesiastes 3:1

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I know that these last months God is working in my heart in ways I have yet to understand and my head trusts. Yet, it has left me bloody and bruised, for real. You know those times in life?

I head out Monday morning to go back to my Ca people. I am flying out alone for a week. A week  jam packed full of therapy that my soul needs.

I also can’t wait until I am on the plane coming back home to my family. I am already dreaming of the moment that my three year old will run to me and scream and give me that amazing hug he gives. I can be sure of this because this is the response I get when returning from the grocery store, the post office, or on most days even the bathroom. I can’t wait to be back under the same roof with the five most important people in my life. To continue this journey that the Lord has me on.

I am ready to climb.

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A Big Giant Update

1. It’s customary that when I return from a blogging break, I make a list. Too much in my head to try and tie it all together in pretty paragraphs.

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2. I have jumped in the essential oil world with Young Living Oils. I can’t say emphatically enough that I wish I had tried them sooner. I kid you not. If you want any more information or have questions, please comment below or email me. I would be happy to share my experiences. We have seen significant improvement from things such as allergies (took my symptoms away 100% within a minute, I know hard to believe, yet true) to headaches, to drastic improvement with some issues with sensory processing with my children. I adore them. I’m all in. #wouldntyouliketobeahippietoo

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*totally loving when there are awesome friends who give your kids a fire station tour, complete with putting out the fire (or knocking over the cone), just because they’re cool like that.

My guy still talks about this, weeks later. Thanks Jeremy.

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3. I have been able to do a bit of photography. My calendar is starting to fill. It’s nice. I have missed it, yet enjoyed my time off as well. So many new places for photography. Seriously inspiring. When we first heard about the job opening in Missouri, I have to admit I had to look up exactly where it was. I just knew it was in the middle. This place is absolutely gorgeous.

leessummit Collage*head on over to Green Jeans Photography on Facebook to see more highlights from these fun sessions

4. How are we REALLY doing? My kids are adjusting. My church is seriously unbelievable and has taken my kids in and grabbed their hearts right quick, my whole family really. Don’t get me wrong, this move from Ca to Missouri has been incredibly challenging at times, but that much more rewarding as well. Every single thing is different. It isn’t just the obvious things like leaving family and friends, etc. Everything, everything here, is unfamiliar. The clouds are lower and the formations are incredible,  there are weird bugs, the sky moves (the clouds, like a lot) while the earth stays still, green is a whole new shade of green, the weather really does change every 5 seconds, it’s humid sometimes, it smells different, it feels different, and yes it looks different; mainly it’s flat, well not flat, but rolly like. I don’t see the Sierras here and there isn’t a palm tree to be found. There are no spare the air days. There are water towers everywhere, it rains in the spring and summer, I have seen more lightening here in the past five months than my entire life combined previously, times 10, people say “pop” for soda, they ask what earthquakes are like, I have had to explain smoking to my littles (it’s way more prevalent here than where we came from), lightening bugs rock my world. Even the Carl’s Jr. here is called Hardee’s. Go Figure. Cicadas are ridiculously loud as is the thunder. I have learned more about hunting, than I ever thought I would. I never get caught in traffic. Our house is the same size here as in Ca, just 3 stories instead of 1. 8 ft ceilings instead of 10-16 foot ceilings.

Different.

Nothing BIG is necessarily different. It’s just a thousand little things.

I get asked these things all the time. Yes, there are “regular” stores in Missouri…Target, Chipotle, Office Max, and Hobby Lobby. All the same things we were used to.

For a girl who lived a 40 years in Ca. I was ready for a change. So as different as it is, it’s been fun too. I guess it’s the season of dual emotions coexisting constantly.

Happy/ sad. Adventorous/ fetal. Excited/ homesick. Confident/ terrified.

No big deal. No wonder I am tired.

It has been an unbelievably stretching year for all of us. Because a million little things make up your world and when they almost all disappear, it takes some time. It just does. God never wastes an opportunity. He takes every challenge, every heartache, every new experience and works them all together for good.

It’s been 9 months that we have been here. The time that it takes to grow a baby, or the time it takes to move a family of 6- 1770 miles away and create a new life.

There is freedom here. Watching my husband be loved on and trusted and free to do and be who God has created him to be means the world. It is a gift that I watch unfold a little more each day and one that I cherish. I would follow this man anywhere…and the parting words from my dentist in Ca was, “you must love your husband if you would follow him to Missouri.” lol.  Turns out he led me to a little well kept secret in the midwest.

Don’t get too comfortable. Comfortable is no way to live. No way at all. God is the Master Creator and He molds and stretches and changes. Sometimes He reaches down and grabs you and moves you and does it quick. Sometimes He allows you to come all kinds of undone and puts you back together in the way you didn’t know you needed. It’s incredible. I trust. I am grateful. There are no words to express how grateful I am.

To. Be. Here.

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5. I am heading back to California soon for a visit. All by myself. I feel like I have lived an entire lifetime since I left. I can’t even handle the fun I have planned and the way I am going to miss my people that will be staying home. I can’t wait to hug my people in Cali…and I might be visiting a certain magical mouse. Seriously. We left so quickly I didn’t get a chance to say a proper goodbye. To the mouse, not the people…

 

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6. We have been exploring. Mansions, tea houses, antique and thrift stores, neighboring towns, parks, Truman’s house, and our lake. Kansas City has an amazing zoo. My high schoolers went to camp. I went to a retreat and had the opportunity to speak at a workshop there and be in some fun skit type things. My hubby attended and led worship at Man Camp. My daughter turned 14. My parents came to visit. My Nicole has come to visit. My Betsey has come to visit. My Ashley and her amazing family have come to visit. We have also rested. A ton. This summer has flown by and I am so ready for fall. We first came to Missouri last October and it was incredibly beautiful. I can’t wait to see it again.

 

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 *photo credit to Abundant Life Facebook page.

7.  Our church just broke ground on a new building recently. Today I was excited to see the first wall up. Frequent overflow lobby seating, which is way less than ideal, just prompted the launch of another service on Sunday @ 4:30 pm, as we wait for the completion of our new building. We now are busting the seams at a total of 8 services on Sundays and are anxiously awaiting the opening of the new 2100 seat auditorium in the fall of 2015. This church is so exciting. You know why? It’s not because of what they do, it is because of who they are. Followers of Jesus, and Jesus brings people here in number. Jesus changes lives and when you walk in the door you can see it on these faces. I’m so blessed to be here and learn, grow, serve and be a part of what God is doing here.

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*surprise phot0s on my camera rock

8. I ran my first backlight 5k. Well truth be told we walked it under giant lightening and big fat thunder. As if a backlight run isn’t enough, we did it with a thunderstorm. We were drenched to the core and very colorful. It was amazing. Like a therapy session but 1/10th of the price…and I still am finding color in places…

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9. I will leave you with this thought. Please tell me why we have a Bank of the West here in Missouri, when we are more on the east than the west…and furthermore why isn’t it called the mideast? There should be an east, mideast, midwest, and west. Don’t you think that makes more sense? Because it’s current set up is weird. I give you exhibit A….

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and that’s what’s up…

Happy Sunday…More on our first week of school coming soon!

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Easter And Stuff

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Easter has come and gone again. I love what Easter is about. However, honestly, I am not in to the eggs, and dying, and new clothes, and baskets, and all of that. I know how grinch like, but it’s true. We are pretty low key around here about this holiday. Church was spectacular this past Sunday. Every single bit pointed straight to Jesus and what this holiday is really about. It was fabulous.

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Last Thursday we picked Grandma J, Shawn’s mom, up at the airport and she left today. She braved our post cross country move chaos of a house, that courageous soul. We spent a lot of time focused on Shawn getting ready for church services, playing games, watching lightening, exploring Kansas City, cooking, and just chilling.

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We went downtown Kansas City the day after Easter and it is pretty much one of my favorite things to do these days. So much to explore.

Power Light District

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Union Station

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Crown Center

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I hope you all had a marvelous weekend celebrating and being together with family and/or friends.

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Also, thank you for such encouraging emails, messages, texts, and comments after my recent post about my own health journey. It is always so amazing to me how many struggle and understand exactly what I am saying when I write about this. When I feel like hitting publish is the world’s stupidest idea ever, I do it anyway because in my experience stupid often times brings about the best possible things. This time, yet again, it did.

Satan sure uses junk food, over eating, under eating, too much exercise, not enough exercise, eating from boredom, eating for comfort, eating for every wrong reason there is, laziness, pride, addictions to success, addiction to control, fear of failure and the lot of it to lure us straight away from the foot of the cross.

I heard or read recently somewhere to stop living according to your feelings and live according to the truth. This is my focus. Laying it down. Living arms wide open. Giving Him control. Day by day. Minute by minute…

“Lord cleanse me of anything that breaks your heart”.

AND IN OTHER NEWS…

P.S. You know what people? My pantry worked!! The shelves are still up and nothing broke. Thanks to Rocky and LeRoy at Lowes and their hour long consult extravaganza with me to double check my plans (blog post to come), and a long distance phone consult with my dad when I hit a small problem, I have a shiny new pantry. Plus, this past weekend, I wallpapered for the first time. My dining room is getting all fancy too.

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p.s.s. I stepped behind the camera for a few head shots of this stunning girl, this past weekend. She was one of the very first people I met when we landed in Mo for the first time. Only fitting she should be my first official client in Mo as well.

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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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Airpanes

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After my ridiculous fall, Shawn could not come back soon enough.

I am a firm believer in parking and going in to pick peeps up. Especially when it is our favorite one. Also when you get to hear a three year old yell AIRPANE and try to pull suitcases, and wear his “daddy tie” it makes it all that much sweeter.

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Joany’s Life Celebration

Here is a glimpse into this sweet friend that remains in my heart. My husband was honored to be able to lead worship and sing Glorious (one of Joany’s favorites).

I love technology. It was not the same as being there but I am so thankful to be able to have experienced SUCH an amazing, inspiring service. Over and over you heard the same things. How Joany loved Jesus, Family, and people. Jesus was honored in that place.

…my eyes have seen the glory of the Lord. We sing it and hers have.

Hard to wrap my head around.

 

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That One Valentines Day

So there was this massive prayer and decision and looking at plan a through z campaign going on last week. At the end of the day my husband and I just decided that it would be best for me to stay home and not attend the services for Joany in California this weekend. He would go and we would stay. All of the options broke my heart, quite frankly, and it was very mostly due to the fact that she was no longer here and we were planning to go to her memorial service. Anyway, I have to say that I am just downright bummed that I couldn’t go and trying to continue to trust that God knows best and there is a reason why I was not to be there. So with a very heavy heart I went about my week. It included an overnight work trip for my hubby and 24 hours after his return from that, I put him on a plane to California to stay with my parents and attend Joany’s services. Somehow, we managed to sneak in our annual family meal with papa murphy’s heart shaped pizza in the afternoon for his plane departed at 6 pm.

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On the way home from the airport reality jumped in my front seat and hit me hard. The reality that I was alone with the kids in Missouri. Missouri. You know because I live here now and all. I know I am not really alone because our new church family has sucked us in huge and I love that. However, at that moment, I felt very much alone. Sometimes the brain and heart need more time to get on the same page. I think my toddler knows when he can get stuff from me. He promptly asked for ice cream for dinner. Done. I had an hour long drive home. A lot of thinking time, too much. I was hit to the core of my being what it means to give everything to Jesus. Giving him your loved ones and trusting Him. I don’t understand why Joany had to die. I wish she and Ron could live out their lives together enjoying each other and their children and grandchildren. I don’t get it. She was just 60. However I was reminded of a sermon I heard many years ago. It went something like this….why would you serve a God that you understood everything He did. Doesn’t His ways HAVE to be higher than yours to be worth following? Or something like that… Terrible translation but the reality is we serve a God that is far above our understanding and that should not make us doubt and fear, but rather trust deeper. He’s got it all. He knows what He is doing. He makes all things beautiful in His time, as the song goes.

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Anyway, I arrive home on this Valentines Day alone in my house with my four kids. Ready for bedtime for the little, computer for the oldest, and Anne of Green Gables for the middles. A late night of chick flicks and a cozy fire. I was completely ready to get lost in Avonlea. I set my toddler down on the ground and he promptly slipped on some ice and smacked face first to the ground. Instinctively I ran to him to pick him up and in doing so I slip and begin to fall. While trying to catch myself I trip again on a 2 inch raised area between the driveway and the garage. It was enough to send me sprawling. After several incredibly ungraceful steps to try and regain balance I manage to lose the fight and lose big. Everything in my hands went flying up and I went down. I still have no idea how I landed. However, the next thing I knew I was on my back laying in dirt and oil in a garage in Missouri unable to breathe because the wind had been knocked out of me. You know that moment after a fall where you are all, please don’t let anything be broken. I lay there waiting and moving limbs and hoping. My left elbow, and both knees clearly were the casualties. Along with my trusty iPhone. Shattered. Obliterated.

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My 15 year old is a rock star. Calm as can be took the baby inside. The girls started to ask a million questions and in a voice strangely similar to mine he took THAT tone and said, “take the baby, NOW”. He ran and got snow to put on my elbow which was swelling rapidly. I’m not going to lie. I cried and reached out for my son’s hand to comfort me and in the middle of all of this as if my heart wasn’t in enough pieces you know what I realized? With that hand grasp, I think I entered the next stage of life. A baby step towards when you move into a two way relationship. I needed him and he came through.

And let me lay it all out for you because I have no shame. I had to go to the bathroom really bad when I arrived home from the airport. Somehow in this fall I basically peed my pants. Like I slammed so hard it made my bladder stop working properly? What the heck. So not only am I laying on the floor in oil and dirt, hurting, and lonely in Missouri being comforted by my 15 year old. I am also laying there and came to the realization that I have just peed my pants for the first time since preschool. Awesome. So now I have no dignity, so you might as well cry it out ugly style because now I am absolutely certain I am going to have to start wearing depends at 42 years of age. This must be rock bottom of complete humiliation….and if it wasn’t I have just put myself there by sharing that information.

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So upon further investigation, My elbow now had basically two elbows it was so dang swollen. My left knee is swollen, pants are ripped, and my right knee is cut. After I change my clothes and throw my pants in the garbage, I come downstairs and my kids get me various bags of frozen vegetables for ice packs and my son brings me alieve and instructs me to take it and I obey…and after googling has diagnosed me with a severed nerve and a broken elbow. Fabulous. He gets his overdramatic from me, just in case you missed that.

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Nothing was broken I assure you. I am sore today. Bleh. In reality the fall was again another straw, that poor camel. People fall. Ice is slippery.

So, yeah, that was my Valentine’s Day. Gimmie a break.

“Hey remember that Valentine’s Day that dad was in California and mom fell in the garage and peed her pants.”

There, thought I would say it first.

Hope your day was a wee bit better than mine. Tell me about it. Redeem Valentines Day  2014. For the love of cupid and all his minions tell me one thing about yours that was better than mine…

I beg you.

 

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But Today

My husband was away on a work trip overnight. I usually have no issues when he leaves, but it was kinda weird being left in Missouri with the kids alone. Just extra alone feeling, I suppose. With Joany passing away last Friday this has been a very difficult week. In addition, it just didn’t work out for me to make the 1770 mile trip home for her services, which reminded me how very far away I am from home. This will be the first of a long list of moments that I am going to not be there for. Things are different. I stopped drinking vats of diet coke cold turkey last Friday. We got quotes back on the work we wanted to have done before we moved into the house and they were all too high. So, we will be needing to do a lot of it ourselves.  I think I definitely have entered a “poor me” stage. Then to top it off we found out escrow was delayed a few days. Not really a big deal, but there was a very sentimental reason that we wanted it to close on the 14th and now it won’t and that was kinda the straw.

So, this morning I laid in bed feeling sorry for myself and then I decided to get up and knock it off. Time to get out of the house and have some fun. So I grabbed the camera and we left. With zero plan.

Cleanliness is next to godliness. So this seemed like an excellent place to start. Car washes in Missouri are weird. First, there are people inside them. I don’t understand this.

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Second, there are no full service washes that I have found. So at the end of the wash if you want the interior done you have to get out in the two degree weather and vacuum it yourself. I just can never do it as good as those car wash dudes anyway, and then if you want the dashboards and stuff wiped down, hopefully you brought your own supplies. Not really a problem, I get it, just modern conveniences, you know.

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But there is rainbow soap and this is the redeeming quality. For years when the kids where little we would turn up the music, I’d let them out of their seats and we would drive through and have a car wash dance and the highlight which always evoked screams was the rainbow soap. I can smell it now. This isn’t quite rainbow, but purple will do just fine.

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Next Stop. Fritz’s.

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The place where trains reign supreme. Waitress bring drinks and yell choo choo. There are train whistles and noises everywhere. You call on the phone at your table to order and the train literally drives to your table, stops, and lowers your food down to you.

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There are trains everywhere, and everywhere else, literally.

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It made me happy to watch my three year old. He is a hard core train dude and his little heart was about to burst.

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Next we wandered around Crown Center where the restaurant was located. We stumbled upon a Wizard of Oz exhibit. Free. Completely free.

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These people are unknowingly in my photo album forever. Do you ever wonder how many people’s photo albums you are in as an extra? Something to think about.

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We found all kinds of other treasures.

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Kalidescope, sponsored by Hallmark. A serious creative wonderland. It’s this whole world with craft supplies galore. You take a bag, you create as long as you want, and then you take everything home. I could not believe when the gal said, “come on in, it’s free.”

Don’t mind if we do…

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A dirty diaper caused a premature escape to the car because we brought nothing in. I had no idea there was a whole mall and all this stuff. We thought we were going into the restaurant and back to the car.

So one upside of snow? You keep a sled in your trunk and it is the perfect place to keep little things from rolling around and it also doubles as a comfy bed for diaper changes.

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We took a long drive around Kansas City. It has such a similar vibe to San Francisco. I feel at home down there. I kept expecting to turn the corner and see the Golden Gate but no such luck ;). I do miss the ocean here. It’s my favorite. But I pretty much love downtown. SO much to do. So fun.

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And since we were blessed with 46 degree temps. We rolled the windows down and turned the music up on our drive.

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I couldn’t help showing the kids West Bottoms. It’s going to be a place they are photographed often :)

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As the sun was setting we stopped at Target to get a couple of last minute Valentines things and then finished the day up with drive thru eat in the car dinner and a trip to the library.

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One foot in front of the other, and a day out of the house taking in everything new with these four munchkins was good for the soul. I do so love our new home. Feeling normal here will take time and on the hard days I need to remember this day.

There will be hard days. Today started out as one.

But today ended very different. Hearts full and tired.

We can not control our life, one single bit. BUT we can control how we respond.

There’s good everywhere. Somedays you just have to look a little harder for it. Surely you WILL find it.

I promise.

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Life In Missouri

Life is starting to resemble a new normal. We have fallen into a routine in this 900 something sq ft house. We have less, we need less, we are closer together, we have less to maintain. All great things. We are one block from our new church which is also fantastic. In a matter of days we switch phases again as we will have keys to our new home. Packing in the pods was somewhat ridiculous. It isn’t your traditional boxes kind of move. You shove things in every nook and cranny to keep things from getting broken as they get jostled around in the drive. So unpacking them should be fairly chaotic. I think it might be like Christmas, which would be rad because we sorta missed Christmas this year. With all the focus on moving it was hard to take it all in.

My mind has started to think decorating. There is no Ikea here, imagine the horror, BUT there is a million antique stores and I am so grateful for that. I love them. I love that this is our home, not renting. A place to put roots down. A place where I can DIY to my heart’s content. Can’t. Wait. I can’t wait to get settled and start having people over and making memories.

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I kind of am really bad at resting, but I have been resting a lot. A TON of HGTV. My new favorite is Property Brothers. Those dudes are hilarious. Snowy days, hot chocolate, school work, games, block building and too much take out. I kinda think God knew what He was doing when our first house hunting trip didn’t produce a home. I was so sad we wouldn’t be able to move straight into our place, but I think that my heart needed a transition to adjust. A time to rest.

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So what’s up in Missouri? People are asking how it is…

*I enrolled the teens in a homeschool enrichment school, two mornings a week. It is fantastic. We all love it. It technically is in Kansas as we live right on the border. This year they are taking science, study hall, and lunch. I’ll leave the dissecting cow eyeballs to the experts and the kids can hang with some other homeschool teen’s for a bit. It’s a win win. It is about 20 minutes from our home, but right by Whole Foods and Trader Joes, my happy places You know what else? Tessemae’s products are sold in the Whole Food’s store here. Can I get an Amen?

*I found a gym. It’s $15.83 a month, which is about 25% of the price I paid in CA. I like cheap gym memberships. Indoor pools with water slides, lazy rivers, and splash zones, tracks to run indoors, lots of sports, cardio, weights, ugh…thank you Lees Summit. There is not much better after a long day then to go swim laps and sit in a hot tub. Especially for $15.83 a month. I’m so in.

* I opened a bank account. I almost own a house. I have a gym. I had dry cleaning done here. I have a library card. The Chick Fil A was playing 10,000 reasons {Christian music, really?} and it has crushed ice. There is a restaurant where a train drives around a track and stops at your table and delivers your food. Thanks for the tip, Jennifer. I will be checking it out soon. Next up is doctors, dentists, Dmv. This moving thing is time consuming.

* I found heaven. West Bottoms. Which is odd because in the middle of it there actually is a big building that is a haunted house that is called, the edge of hell. Not cool, but the whole district is really completely fabulous. My new friend took me there and it is a photographer’s dream really. I will be heading back to shop there and I’m pretty sure I will report it is a shopper’s dream as well.

 *I love our church. Everything about it. Amen.

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*practicing math facts. Call out a math problem and have the student jump to the right number. Then switch it up and let the student call it for you to jump. Sneak in a little cardio too ;)

Doing school “around a kitchen table” has been stretching for me. Stretching is good. I ended up without quite a bit of our school stuff somehow, not sure what happened, but I had to improvise. I borrowed some things and I found Mardel’s conveniently located next door to Hobby Lobby and I was back on track. I bought a planner for my youngest student and it is working brilliantly. I will do a post about that in the future. There are so many ways to track school and it changes as the kid’s grow. This is a great option and we will be working this way for as long as it continue’s to work.

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*we seem to be taking our time with Charlotte’s Web. A barn full of talking animals? Really, why would you rush it. So many projects to be had. I heart Wilbur.

In heartbreaking news…

My sweet friend Joany went home to be with Jesus last Friday. I miss her. So much. She squeezed her husband’s hand 3 times {their symbol for I love You}. He told her her work on earth was done. She lifted her hand to her heart, arched her back, took her last breath….{check out her son’s sermon about this, worth a listen}. I am so glad she was able to die right next to the man that she loved most on this earth. I have to believe that brought her so much peace. I found out the news alone, sitting in a parking lot. I sobbed and sobbed that kind of sob you don’t do often in life. I knew this was coming, but was always hoping it wouldn’t. I sobbed for many reasons. Too many to even sort out. Her husband said, “the deeper you love, the deeper it hurts.” That is so true in this life.

In the conversations Joany and I often had, it seemed to come up a lot about living life to the fullest. I love that he said that. I think that is the thing that will stick with me always. Live without fear and not only without fear, but WITH trust. Free. Inspired. So beautiful.

Her death has inspired many conversations with my friends to the type of woman she was. Her legacy is clear. The most favorite statement I have read about her was “I love how you lived this life”. Maybe a modern day version of Well done good and faithful servant.

A sum of many moment’s make a life that this can be said about. No moment is too small. In fact, I am convinced that the insignificant moment’s are the most important. Many times we search for the big when in reality rockin’ the small produces the big.

Happy Tuesday.

*My favorite post I read this past week…Ann Voskamp. Don’t miss it. 

 

 

 

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