Category Archives: Memories

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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God Told Me To


This last week felt like it might swallow me whole. I found myself asking God, no really begging God, just trying to convince God from my human place, that I really needed one of those “God with skin on moments”… a big touchy, feely moment that I could wrap my heart and soul around.

We have this routine in the morning. My little man comes running in {because walking apparently is lame. He never does it. ever.} Anyway, he comes running in and I awake to hearing a flurry of tiny steps at warp speed. OR a giant bear hug. OR a little, “I love you mommy”. Blessed doesn’t even cover it. We snuggle for a long while because that is what summers are for, but this one particular morning, three days ago…

I awoke to this. Before I opened my eyes I lie there and listened to this. Read these words, every one. This song is my soundtrack for twenty fifteen and here it was waking me up…

 

Grand earth has quaked before
Moved by the sound of His voice
Seas that are shaken and stirred
Can be calmed and broken for my regard

And through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
And through it all, through it all
It is well

And through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
And it is well with me

Far be it from me to not believe
Even when my eyes can’t see

And this mountain that’s in front of me
Will be thrown into the midst of the sea

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all
It is well

So let go my soul and trust in Him
The waves and wind still know His name

It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul

It is well it is well with my soul

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You Lord
Through it all, through it all
It is well with me.

Then I opened my eyes to find my wireless speaker right by my head and my little boy sitting up criss crossed snuggled in right next to me playing on my iPad. He saw me awake and said “I put your favorite song on for you, mommy”.  He was perched right there taking care of me. Tucking the blankets up, adjusting the speaker, just acting like a true gentlemen while wearing his puppy dog on a surfboard jammies and playing his abc’s. I can’t even…

My heart literally melted to mush and I said, “Thank you baby. You are so nice”.

He said. “ga welcome”. {because I can’t seem to correct the last few words he says in baby.}

I close my eyes and listen some more. This was a nice way to wake up, I think. I should do this more often. Then I must have stopped breathing for a second and thought, wait. How did this song come on? Greyson doesn’t use the speaker or the music on my iPad and while little homeboy can navigate Minecraft like no other, I’ve never seen him turn on and find this song. He doesn’t read. He’s 4. I opened my eyes again and said, “Greyson, what made you think to turn this song on for me?”

He looked those fierce baby blues at me and said as sweetly and matter of factly as could be…

“God told me to”.

Touchy Feely God with skin on moment accomplished. My soul is ever grateful. I mean over the top, grateful.

It is well, with me.

#beanoticer

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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.

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Four Years Old.

 

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…and just like that he is four. Absolutely one of the brightest spots of my life.

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This fall has been crazy. Emma turning 10, Greyson turning 4, my oldest turning 16, our 20th anniversary next month, along with all the regular holidays at this time of year. Not to mention we are grieving and adventuring our way through our year of “firsts” here in Missouri. So, on a Sunday I was like, “aaaah I want to have a party for Greyson”. We were so happy that with six days notice we had a houseful of friends young and old to help celebrate our little man. We had a little breakfast party using some 90% superhero decorations that I ridiculously moved from California to Missouri, hoping I would use them one day.

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*that empty plate soon held a yummy stack of quiche :)

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On Greyson’s actual birthday, Grandma J was in town and Shawn was able to take the day off. We went to “high town”, which is Greyson’s name for downtown Kansas City. We played at the park, visited Union Station and his beloved trains, and ate Chipotle.

Just a couple weeks after his birthday, we snuck in this quick Pinterest inspired little photo shoot.

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It was 22 degrees and downright unacceptable weather for a photo session outdoors, lol. BUT we made it happen.

Happy Birthday Little Man.

Your mommy absolutely adores you.

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Greyson’s First Birthday Monster Party

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The Wordless Post

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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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First Snow

We fell in love with the steady snowfall all day long. So beautiful.

Praising God for new experiences.

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The Post That Changed me

I’m driving along one morning and my kids and I begin talking about having chickens and goats and how fun that would be. My kids were pretty excited about the thought. So I post, “my kids are begging me to live on a farm”. That was the beginning of a big giant hug from God straight from heaven for my soul…and while I can often be a fan of the choice to exaggerate. I assure you this is not one of those times.

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I almost immediately get an instant message from a woman that I didn’t know except through an inquiry for a photo session with me. The timing had not worked out and we had exchanged a couple of emails regarding it, but that was about it. She let me know that she had a home, that her and her husband were looking for tenants. We could have chickens and goats there. We arranged to look at it in about three hours. I did what any normal person would do. I google earthed that sucker and then I did a drive by. I was giddy. G I D D Y.

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On the way over to see the home, I was praying that I would love this home. We have lived in a LOT of homes and I am grateful for them all, but let’s be honest, some I just want to pet the walls every time I go inside and some not so much. For the last 7 years we had been in a rental that was pretty void of any character. The neighborhood was rapidly declining. After my kids had to be brought inside because of a hostage situation two blocks over, we had witnessed the staging for a swat team raid through our bedroom window, they had shut down our neighborhood because there were several burglars on the loose (on a Tuesday morning), and my son had been offered drugs in front of my home, I was really ready to leave. {Might I add this was all within a couple of month period}. I know longer felt safe there. As I was praying about this new home, I think I ended my prayer with something so profound like and Lord let there be slate.

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* our home for seven years. great memories but we were happy to move on.

You know sometimes how you know you know and you know? I just knew this was going to be fabulous. Indeed when I pulled up I fell in love before walking in and every step of the way through the house got better and better. It is a gorgeous home… Then came the bathrooms. Two of them. Head to toe all dressed up in slate. Give. Me. A. Break.

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I asked if I could bring my husband back right after work and we let them know of course we would love to move in. Not a police helicopter or drug dealer in sight either. Imagine. An established neighborhood with long time homeowners….and our landlords live on the property, next door. AND they own an alarm company. Go ahead burglars, break into the home with all the alarm trucks in the driveway. Safety everywhere. Just what my heart needed.

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…and not just physically. To meet Ron and Joany is to love them…and fast and furiously we did. We had every comfort our hearts could want while living in this home. They provided repairs and upgrades for our comfort without a moment’s hesitation. They didn’t just rent a home to us. They invited us into their lives and their home and property. They shared with us and cared for us and it wasn’t long until my nine year old happily exclaimed that she had another grandma and papa. My heart smiled. Big. 

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*this house came with my own private photo studio in my backyard. Abandon railroad tracks and gorgeous fields.

Not too long after we moved in, a lot of things in our lives started turning upside-down and it became quickly apparent that God had provided a safe place in the midst of a storm. A beautiful home of peace, safety, refuge…and chickens. And the reassuring words of my now dear friend…”God has brought us into each other’s lives for such a time as this.”

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For these precious people were fighting their own battles as well as Joany is fighting stage 4 breast cancer. The level of dignity and grace this woman and her husband possesses is nothing short of heavenly. Her son recently posted this on Facebook, I hope he doesn’t mind that I steal it, but it couldn’t describe Joany better….

Reading Proverbs 31 today. Love what my sister in law said about my mom “You are a flesh and blood Proverbs 31 Woman”. 
“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come… Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”

We moved out shortly after Christmas as God called us to Missouri. It was ridiculously heartbreaking to leave that refuge. I shed so many tears over it, but I continually prayed that I would not hold too tightly and thank God so deeply for the gift He gave us in our time there.

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Today Joany’s care has turned from treatment to comfort and her spirit is not broken and if her’s is not, darn it mine will not be either. I have been so touched reading all the outpouring from her friends and family on her Facebook page. For while I feel like I have known this family for years, the reality is last year at this time I didn’t know who they were. It has been beautiful to hear how many people adore them and see just how deeply. How precious are the ways of God, truly. How God can intertwine paths and hearts.

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We only lived on our farm for a short 9 months. What I thought was a long term move was in deed something all together different. In my heart I wish that we had had many years there. I truly wanted to raise my kids in that home. With Ron and Joany, healthy, next door. That’s what I wanted. But the Lord gave us those nine months to heal and be safe and be loved in the best way possible because when it comes straight from Him it is just perfect and I doubt that Ron or Joany can fully understand how God used them, their love for us, and that home in our lives. It changed me.

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I pray God can use me like that in someone’s life, for if so, it will be a life time very well spent. Here is a woman who didn’t know me from Adam and brought her best friends over to walk through and pray over the home before we moved in. I could go on and on…But I will tell you one of my very favorite things about Joany, she listens. She listens with a heart of gold and when you are talking she makes you feel like you are the most important person in the world. What a gift. The other favorite thing is her love for Jesus. It’s all over her.

I trust in God’s perfect timing and as it appears that Joany will be meeting our Savior before I will I think of my heartache, the heartache of her friends, family, and her husband and how great it will be. I am so very much comforted and happy in the thought that she will be in paradise. Truly. Free from any more pain and suffering and while she will no longer be a text away, she will be in my heart. For she has imprinted it for a lifetime.

I just needed to document this last year. It’s painful for all that it held. And the tears pour as I type, but they also pour because it is so stinkin’ beautiful how God works. To truly see the hands and feet of Jesus. I needed them, I needed that farm…I am so grateful.

Bless you dear friends.

and Joany…may you rest in perfect peace today, tomorrow, and always. I know you love words, and I search for the right ones, but you and your life have exceeded them in my book, my friend. You are so precious to me.

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The Other Side

This isn’t death, it’s glory. It isn’t dark, it’s light.

It isn’t stumbling, groping, Or even faith, it’s sight!

This isn’t grief, it’s having My last tear wiped away.

It’s sunrise, it’s the morning Of my eternal day!

This isn’t even praying, It’s speaking face to face.

It’s listening, and it’s glimpsing The wonders of His Grace.

This is the end of pleading  For strength to bear my pain

Not even pain’s dark memory Will ever live again.

How did I bear the earth life Before I came up higher,

Before my soul was granted It’s every deep desire.

Before I knew this rapture Of meeting face to face

That One who sought and saed me, And kept me by His Grace

Martha Snell Nicholson

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Home

Our house hunting began in November.

House Hunters, ironically one of my favorite shows. Three homes, a perfect 4.2 minute conversation in a restaurant {with no disagreements}, and bam you are a homeowner. Love reality tv. Not so much our experience. We put an offer on a 3 acre country home that was just insanely charming, but needed more work than our budget allowed and so we left that one. Next, fell in love with a colonial fixer upper that had an insanely cute address, Wellington Court. It had been on the market for 9 months, yet sold before we could write up the offer.

Next up, a real live dollhouse. On a lake, no less.

Third time is a charm. We offered on a home Saturday about 6 pm and by 9 pm we had an answer. A simple yes. No counters. No weirdness. Just Yes.

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It’s just a few miles from where we are staying right now, so I go buy it at least once a day just to see what’s up in the hood, ya know? and today I drove up and saw the sale pending sign. My heart dropped out of my body….are you kidding me???? What NOW???? I think I even said it aloud. Then I realized….

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WE ARE THE SALE PENDING…

sometimes I can be a bit slow.

Home inspections tomorrow, appraisals to follow, and hopefully a move in mid Feb.

Cute, right? I have always wanted to live in a dollhouse…

I am almost jumping out of my tree excited, reserving that for move in day. I have bought and sold only a couple of times, but enough to know that it’s not over, just quite yet.  BUT…so far, so fabulous, so grateful.

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