Category Archives: Memories

I Don’t Know When To Turn

I sit there dumbfounded. Realizing the honking is at me. There are 53,466 traffic signal circle things, or maybe just 5, and something about yielding. I don’t know when it is my turn and just when I figure it out the next signal is different. Sometimes it’s green, sometimes yellow. Sometimes blinking sometimes not. I need a PHD to drive here. Where are the arrows? In California you get your own arrow, your own turn. Here I think I just better go straight forever. I am never quite sure when I can actually turn. I need Missouri plates STAT. I am sure people are like. Hmmph….California Driver. I smile and wave. I’ll own it.

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Speaking of signs. I have never seen these ever. Someone want to enlighten me? Please help a west coast girl out.

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Last night my baby girl had a total melt down and in turn it sparked one in me. She sobbed and begged to go back home. Having her look me in my eye and beg me to undo a decision that her father and I have made and could undo as well is super difficult. She doesn’t understand all this. As an adult, I also know that she will not remember much of this, as she just turned nine. The years of her growing up that will be in her memory are ahead of her and they will be great, but the right now…it hurts. It hurts to watch. It’s hard to be strong for them when I feel like crying and going fetal at times myself. It’s hard to realize that most of her memories of California will be ones that she sees in pictures or are told to her.

“…and I am reminded again that trudging through the difficult bears the most fruit.” ~joy prouty 

The pain of homesickness is far from over, I know this. It comes fast and furious. It comes without warning. It comes at random times in very random ways.

One year ago, I had the chance to meet two pretty incredibly people. Ron and Joany. Joany is battling cancer and also is one of the most fabulous women I have had the pleasure of knowing. In a time when the unfamiliarity of moving states and leaving family pale in comparison to my sweet friend’s fight, I think if this is her attitude??? I will rock mine as well. This is her Facebook status. Please pray for her and please trust like her.

“All of you, my family and friends, are being so kind and caring in your prayers for me. I feel comforted as a result – thank you!! So I saw my Doc yesterday and “the plan” is to have a liver biopsy, brain MRI and then radiation to my femurs and sacrum. The radiation is targeted to the painful areas and helps. He tweaked my pain Meds a bit, so that should help also. The liver biopsy is being sent to a special lab that checks it against various chemos to discern which one(s) would be more effective. I’ve learned that in metastic breast cancer, the make up of tumors can morph and therefore do better when matched with a chemo designed to kill that particular type of beast. The main things I’m experiencing right now are pain, nausea, weight loss, lack of appetite, dizziness and weakness. God’s love is greater however than my circumstance. We all have tough stuff in our journeys through this life. Who knows, maybe this is what I need to pry my fingers off love of this world and open my hands wide to grasping on to my Father and then Heaven to come some day. I’m trusting in Him within this battle. I’m loving Psalms and how so many times David thought it was curtains and then God got him through it  That’s my prayer, but I trust my Jesus and his perfect plan.”

Such beauty. I hope you, dear Joany, have some large scale sense of the amount of people you inspire to take one step closer to Jesus. You have done that for me. You have imprinted MY heart for my whole life, sweet friend and I adore you.

Joy comes in the morning.

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After a horrible last night, joy came as we joined our church family for the second week here. Last week was freezing and snowing and this week was 7 degrees warmer than California. My heart is so very full here. We have been welcomed in a way that is hard to explain. It means so very much to a family who is aching for home and familiarity and on the path to find it here.

socks

* I received a care package complete with fuzz a licious socks from a sweet lady today. Seriously fantastic and so appreciated.

I said in a recent blog post that this church speaks our heart and boy is that the case. People keep saying words like culture shock and how different things must be here in the midwest, but I tell you when you are united and family with Jesus sometimes those things just fade to the background. I have zero doubt whatsoever that this is exactly where we are supposed to be. I feel blessed to be here. Honored to be a part of this ministry and excited to get to know the people that make up this family. Has it been hard to get here? Absolutely!  and I am so blessed that it has because that just is an indication of how many fabulous people we have in our life that are in California. We are very blessed.

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We had one box of our stuff arrive at our temporary housing. Magical, I tell you. I am back in my own bed. My three year old shares my opinion, as he saw his mattress he started screaming and jumping, “my bed is back, my bed is back….”

mattress

* my favorite new game. It’s entitled, “trap dad in the bathroom with a mattress”. It’s easy. When the dad in the house goes to the bathroom slide a mattress in front of the door and position a cute child in front of it to hold it up. hours of fun. 

We are in a three bedroom house right now. We are in close quarters with each other and I think it is absolutely perfect. The girls share a room, the teen boy has a room, my toddler sleeps in “Greyson’s room” which is actually a large walk in closet. It is just perfect size for this period of time. Emotions have been high and intense and have inspired some knock down drag out discussions and forced growth in all of us. Growth that is good and needed. Growth that has made us stronger as a family and as individuals. It’s do or die time. …and we choose do.

We. Choose. Do.

p.s. this week school will resume, menu plans will return, chore charts will reappear, a gym membership will be purchased, and I will find a car wash. I will also blow the dust of my “real” camera. Real life. The day to day. Bring it on. I might even do something so totally fantastic like go to Costco and buy toilet paper. The sky’s the limit and I’m on it.

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We’re From California

It’s a strange thing this moving cross country. I am kinda chatty and through small talk with various people, such as those who sell jackets…it has come up that “we just moved here from California”. I can’t tell you the amount of times that has brought a tilted head and a “huh?”. My kids are beginning to question the sanity of their parents while listening to all of this. I am beginning to wonder if there is something we are missing, lol. Yet, ironically, in California, I can’t tell you how many people said in those final days…”you are so lucky, you are getting out.” This baffles me as well because I didn’t realize I was in jail. Really in the end…it’s where God wants ya. Grass seems to always be greener somewhere other than you are sometimes, I suppose.

welcome

I am sure we stick out here in Missouri. We are the freezing people with the wild child three year old and brand new jackets. Last night we came up from the indoor pool in the hotel for some dinner and while we were eating, it started to snow. We bundled new jackets over bathing suits and headed down through the lobby and went outside. People can hate on snow all they want, but I tell you it’s magical. We loved it. This is the third night at our current hotel and I am quite certain after this wet bathing suit, puffy jacket extravaganza…the night desk clerk, thinks we are officially insane. So, I helped his exploding head by informing him we are from California and just moved here. First time for snow for us and we are kinda excited. “Why did you move here?” He says. Yes, with his head tilted.…..oy vey.

emma

Snow may be annoying, but there is something annoying everywhere. You know what is kinda California annoying? Tank tops on Christmas day. Fires on tv, because it is too hot to burn one. Hoping already for a white 2014 Christmas.

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The trip out here is history. A memory for sure. Didn’t quite go as I imagined. We traveled a bit Clark Griswald style with sick kids and a dog. The weather for the most part was brilliant. The car was not packed like we were going on a road trip, but rather it was packed like “hey, you forgot to pack the espresso machine? put it here by my right arm and let it balance on the big wheel.” I really wish I was kidding.

road trip

We are on our third night of the same hotel now and it has been incredible to unwind a bit. A front row seat in the hot tub viewing the snow, a bedtime buffet, jungle gym’s in the hall. Hotel life has it all and a maid.

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dinner

We are looking forward to finding our permanent home. It has been a challenge for me to chill with everything all over the place. Stretching me for sure.

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 Today was the first day at our new church. In theory it should seem really strange that I attended church in MISSOURI, but it didn’t at all. We were welcomed so emphatically. I am smitten already.

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It felt normal, snow and all. It was cold. Like …well really nothing like it I can think of. Even now typing this it is 3 degrees outside with a “feels like” -13. You have got to be kidding me. Tomorrow Shawn goes back to work after having him home for six weeks. I have a viewing of a property, have to pick up the dog from the doggie boarders, and move all of our stuff into another location for the next two nights. Alone. Big girl panties on…let’s do this. On the upside by the time I have to be out and about, it should have warmed up to zero degrees.

Wish me luck…

 

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House Hunting

There are 5,675,439 decisions that need to be made when one moves a family of six across the country. The reason I know this is because we have discussed them all. Every. Single. One. Our new home is a big piece of this and so we decided to drive one of the cars out, leave it in Missouri and then fly home. Hopefully, finding a place to live in between. We had two days booked with our realtor and a number of properties to view that we had picked out online.

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Whenever we go visit my husband’s family in the northwest, we stop at Taco Time as many times as possible because it is the most ridiculously good, bad for you food, ever. Guess what we found just a few hours into our trip, in the middle of nowhere? Yeah, baby. All decked out in roadside cuteness. The food was delicious, we gained 8.2 pounds in one #4 combo meal, and I reconfirmed my desire to someday be a restaurant decorator…because THAT would be fun.

restaurant

We had a car concert following lunch. It was quite eclectic. Somewhere, in the nothingness of Nevada, Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam came on to which I promptly blurted out…”that’s my jam” because really? I loved the song. It was indeed my jam and because I have always wanted to use that phrase in a sentence and see if I could do it without laughing. WHO ACTUALLY TALKS  LIKE  THAT??? 

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Before leaving home we discussed planning out our road trip. You know figuring out our hotels, etc. I went as far as to bookmark hotels to make reservations, but I just couldn’t do it. Not too often do you get to get in the car and drive for 1800 miles and the rigidness of the “r” word and a confirmation number made me squirm.

We had a “plan” or a desire really, to get to Rock Springs, Wymong on day one because according to the cursor that you can drag across Mapquest, that appeared to be the middle. No reason to make reservations anyway because honestly who in the world would be in Rock Springs, Wyoming on a Monday night at midnight?

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Oh, I will tell you who. EVERYONE. As I jumped out onto the icy streets in my flip flops to multiple hotels, I was repeatedly told they were full. F U L L. Upon further questioning and a very nice clerk at a Hampton Inn, I found out that Rock Springs, Wyoming is apparently usually sold out m-th due to oil workers from Texas. Huh? We were fortunate to find a room we were told after the clerk called around for us. The only room we could find, a suite at the Hilton for $130. I secretly was thrilled that we “had” to suffer through the agony of that exquisitely adorned room and all of its luxuries. I slept like a baby, ate fruit loops for breakfast, and enjoyed my 8 hours of bliss. Lesson learned, maybe.

We pulled into Lees Summit the next day at about 1:30 am. We had a place to stay for a couple nights that the church let us borrow. It was darling. We slept fabulous again and I awoke to the sound of distant thunder. I must of dozed back off and then I re awoke to quite an intense noise, that I didn’t immediately recognize. Once I realized what was going on, I jumped up to watch hail, lightening, and thunder welcome me to that first morning in Missouri. I honestly am looking forward to four seasons. I think it’ll be kinda cool. I like dramatic things.

House Hunting. Day 1.

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Look at this downtown. I get to live here with all of its adorableness.

I just may have stepped into the fifties.

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town

We met up with our realtor and were off. At our top choice and our third house of the day to look at, I was done. I fell in love, immediately, with this home. It was as wonderfully eccentric in real life as on the internet. My heart fluttered. One of the bathrooms had an exposed brick wall. That’s all I need. When you add in the claw foot tub I am down right giddy. Looking out the kitchen window you overlook the neighbors big white barn and I vowed to cook a cherry pie immediately after moving in, if we should get this home.

house

We continued on with our realtor, looking at other options, and finding back up homes, all the while discussing the antics of my crazy Greyson. I was trying to explain how the lack of fences in Missouri would just not work out for him, how laundry shoots would become tunnels to climb up, and catwalks in any home is just an opportunity for balance beam practice. If you have been around this blog long or know this boy in real life you will know what I mean. I, in fact, gave birth to my own little Houdini. My realtor even told me after we had been home to say hi to Greyson because he felt like he knew him already.

Day two began with no hail and more charming downtown cuteness as we met up with our new pastor. We chatted some, and prayed some, and he said some of my favorite words ever, “you gotta follow your heart”. And after another day of looking at properties, we went back to the house we loved and did just that. We made an offer.

whistlestop

Our last night in Missouri was spent at a hotel close to the airport. After the Rock Springs incident, I went ahead and made a reservation at this hotel while we were still way back somewhere along i80 in Nebraska. It was a great pick. Inexpensive, clean, and super adorable. We went hot tubbing, swimming, watched Friend’s reruns, signed electronic documents on the house, and so enjoyed the last night of our trip.

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We were taken to the airport in a shuttle van early the next morning, with praise music blasting. I am still in shock over that one. However, the real bummer of this trip came when I looked out gate 63 and saw this.

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I promptly informed my husband that I had no intention of getting on this plane, as if I had some sort of control over this. I wished for a brief moment I was someone of fame so that I could snap a finger and get a plane that had engines and held more people. They seem better to me.

It was a horrific flight. No joke. Just awful. I made friends with the two stewardess who took turns patting my shoulder and bringing me kleenexes for my tears. Constantly explaining to me the constant turbulence was normal due to the small size of the plane and the fact that I was in the last row and blah, blah, blah. All I knew was this was the second time in a month I was on a plane in the skies of Missouri crying from a mix of hating to fly and overwhelming emotion.

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We land in Denver and get out of the plane and are told to stand on the Tarmac in the thirty degree weather waiting for our carry ons. It was then confirmed in my head the stupidity of the situation and I made a mental note to always check which aircraft would be taking you, before booking. This propeller deal is so NOT O. K.

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I happily entered a regular sized plane for the second flight of the day. Calm and content with in air tv and quickly brought back to mild terror when the pilot announced that our flight would be “moderately bumpy”. Words you don’t want to hear. It’s like when a doctor tells you something is going to painful. You just know you are in for it. Indeed, about an hour in, service was discontinued, and as the stewardesses took their seats, I tightened my seat belt as tight as I could for an hour of “moderate turbulence”. Moderate? my. foot. We bounced for an hour. I made good friends with the gal next to me and literally arm and in arm with her and clenching Shawn’s hand we jostled our way into Sacramento airport. I was green and ill and praying to not use the air sick bag and thinking how high maintenance I was. Bleh. No. Fun.

But the trip? I will always remember. I am so grateful for this new beginning. For the ability to purchase a home. For a third get away with my husband in the last couple of months. For all of God’s blessings.

And for the little house in the country that someday soon just might be home.

…what a journey.

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The List.

I have been trying to blog for a few days now but my head is too full. You know, the “oh look a squirrel” thing…So, I resort to a list. A fancy name for a bunch of random thoughts, in no particular order.

1. This, written by my husband to our church family.

For eight years my family and I have had the honor of serving Impact and being part of this community. I have had the joy of being your Worship Pastor. I have always desired to be right in the center of God’s will for my life. Over the past year the Lord has been working in me, challenging me and, we believe, calling us to trust Him with our future. In light of this, we have come to the decision it is time to step out and  trust God for what is next. We are excited and anxious, but we are confident.  God is leading us this way and we ask for your prayers as we begin this journey. Thank you for allowing me the joy of leading you in worship of our God. It has been one of the most meaningful times of my life.

2. Where we are heading next.

I don’t know. It’s a scary place to be with four little ones. An end date to a salary without a firm date for your new one. Humanly, my brain doesn’t like this. But you know what? I have the raddest friends on the planet. Ever. They’ve offered me shoulders to cry on and their faith to borrow when mine isn’t strong enough. He is leading us on this path and our God is greater. He will take care of us. If we end up in a van down by the river, I shall get a disco ball for the interior.

3. Speaking of my friends.

Oh my word. I tell you my heart was on overload today. Four of my favorite-est girls all came to church this morning to sit by my side as my husband announced to our congregation our upcoming departure. It’s been years since I sat along side these girls all together at the same time and it made me happy me in a way I can’t explain. We group hugged like teenagers because that’s awesome. They are the best. Just. the. best. and I love them like sisters.

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4. My God.

He has orchestrated this week in a way that only He can. There are no words to really explain how He does it. He fills the gaps and raises me up and sends me friendly Trader Joe’s workers to tell me I have gorgeous eyes, right after I sat in the parking lot and cried them all out. He places the sales clerk at the curriculum store who tells me, “character training is the most important. Your kids are watching how you handle life. History and geography? That’s the easy stuff. The gravy.”

5. He stretches me.

I have wrestled with deep questions for the last couple of weeks like you do in a time of crisis. It is easy when you have been raised in the church to sing the songs, raise your hands, and nod an amen. But do I mean them?

Where You go, I’ll go. When You move, I’ll move.

Sure I meant that. Because before that meant…my gorgeous house, my comfortable life. I’ll do that. I’ll move when He moves {as long as it’s comfortable}.

Now, it means a lot more. A move out of state? Away from my family and friends? A new surrounding? What if no one likes me? What if my kids don’t connect? What if there are tornados? or no Hobby Lobbys? I mean seriously. A whole bunch of unknowns.

6. God’s got this.

I hear that A LOT these days and while I know that with my head, it is just a reality that- that doesn’t mean I will immediately like what His plan is. Surrender. Faith. Prayer. His will, be my desires. I pray they are one in the same. I pray that no matter what lies ahead in the next year that my faith stays unwavering. That He uses the junk and the fabulous for His glory. That His name be lifted higher.

7. Surrender.

The theme of my life lately. This period I am entering is certainly no different. I just moved to the most gorgeous home ever that felt like home the second I walked through the door. My landlords/friends live next door and my kids reference them as their other grandparents and we love them a lot. Seriously, we just settled.

“God, you couldn’t mean this was just a temporary thing, right”.

sunset

*straight off my phone. can you even imagine the beauty of heaven.

8. Sadness.

The thought of leaving my people here in California makes me crazy sad. Like rip your heart out sad.

8. Excitement.

The thought of putting my family in a u haul and heading East {because West would require a boat} makes me giddy. A great big adventure awaiting. A whole big world out there.

9. Confusing.

How do you feel such intense overwhelming and conflicting emotions at the same time? It is so hard. Our house has suddenly turned into an emotional roller coaster. Five of us are on a different track and the baby is just mostly cute. While there is intense sadness in all of our hearts, there is a seed of excitement that I see in my children that only comes from God.

10. Peace.

Remember that song from a jillion years ago. I’ve got peace like a river, I’ve got peace like a river, I’ve got peace like a river in my soul. {if you were a church goer in the eighties please remember that you would put your high top up in the air on that last line as to represent the word soul. See what we did there? Soul, sole? The eighties were cool.}

11. The practical.

I haven’t even finished my school room. Should I? School is being reevaluated. Is the higher priced, hands on curriculum, I just started really the right choice for right now? Should I switch? How do I get up and do school when I want to lay in bed and hug my pillow?

12. Integrity

I’ve been reminded just how very much my husband has.

13. The real.

I fed my kid ice cream and pancakes from McDonalds for breakfast. In. rain. boots. And if that wasn’t enough to impress you with my mothering skills, I picked dried cornflakes out of his hair this morning and put him in the car seat for church AND then dropped him off for three services without a diaper bag. And you know what I have learned after four children? Some days…that is enough.

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14. It’s fall.

Somehow this all just seems easier with a pumpkin spice candle burning and my fuzzy leopard slippers on my feet.

15. It’s on.

Mostly I am just inspired right now. Living in that profound state where you just realize how much everything matters. In the depth of my soul I am overwhelmingly grateful for the people we have had the pleasure to meet in this chapter of our life. In the last eight years I have been pushed to my limits on every emotion one possesses. It’s been a time of incredible joys, trials, and growth.

Life is like that.

And we press forward.

Reveal Your heart Lord Jesus, even now.

 

 

 

 

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God Reads My Blog

I know. It is the most ridiculous title ever, but I couldn’t help myself. When I look over the events of the last week I think back to THIS. I think God musta been like, “uh huh, sweet child of mine, I have different plans.” And boy did He.

“this mama needs to be prepared. I need to start the year with a bouquet of sharpened pencils, new systems, a fresh coat of paint on the craigslist school table and binders…there must be new binders. Cute ones. I need to have a BIG understanding of a BIG picture of the year. I need my lesson planner filled in, my worksheets filed and ready, and my Pinterest boards overflowing with possibilities. It’s how I roll.”

I read that now and think- ha ha. I wrote that. Like last week.

Somewhere around the third day before school was going to start, I came to terms with the fact that I wouldn’t have my list complete. I would have week one complete. September was going to be a month of working hard and prepping for the year. Something that didn’t get done during summer as hoped. It’s o.k. I made my peace with it. It was all going to work. That was plan B. No worries.

We busted out Monday morning. Then came Tuesday.

My hubby woke up with a stomach ache and went off to work. He showed up back at home around lunch and I started to get crabby. NOT much sympathy happening. You see, I get jealous every time my husband gets sick because of the whole, “why don’t mama’s get sick days situation.” I’m not going to lie. It’s a huge weakness of mine. I handle it horribly. I am not completely wretched, but I am no Florence Nightengale either. So Wednesday morning came and that man didn’t leave his bed. We started day three of school out of sorts and my hubby feeling awful. Late afternoon he mentions the pain is on the right side more than anywhere. After a couple days of pain, vomiting, and feeling awful, my inner Florence emerged and as I began the Wednesday night ritual of youth group, soccer, and 4H, I called the dr. on his behalf. Appendicitis being my fear.

The bottom line of the conversation was it did not sound like appendicitis and I should treat him for nausea. The end. SO, I breathed a sigh of relief and continued on. No appt. needed. I woke up Wednesday morning to my husband white as a ghost, doubled over in pain and I just knew that the advice nurse was wrong.

A very high white blood count, heart rate that was two times normal, a fever of almost 104, and an elevated billie rueben count had my heart rate almost double normal as well. My husband NEVER gets sick. EVER. No stitches, no broken bones, no bee stings. As boring as they come. Yet, here we were in the ER, signing consent forms to a surgery where they told us they were unsure of what they would find. Not fun.

The surgeon was the first to inform us that he believed the appendix had burst.

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As I stood in the hall, with my husband lying on the bed next to me, the tears started. This was NOT what was on the agenda for this Thursday. I tried every trick I knew to hold them at bay and I just couldn’t. Praise Jesus there were huggers on his surgical team because I needed one. He always provides.

When we were saying our goodbyes right before they wheeled him back, I felt eyes on me. I looked up and peered into the eyes of his surgeon. They were the only thing showing on his face and I wondered if that man comprehends how incredibly life changing his job actually is. In moments like this when he looks and sees intimate moments between a husband and wife, I wonder what goes through his head. I wonder. Because an appendectomy that may indeed be quite routine in the world of the hospital is no where near routine in my world. I leaned down to kiss my husband good bye. I tell him I’m crying because I love him and then he was gone.

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After 3.5 hours in the waiting room the surgeon emerges and after his report I unclench my teeth and breathe. 5-7 days in the hospital. How much worse it could have been. I am so grateful. Indeed it was a burst appendix. Indeed that advice nurse was wrong. Very wrong.

PEOPLE ARE THEIR BEST IN CRISIS.

I have zero words that would adequately describe how highly I think of those people who say, “what can I do?” or the ones that say, “yes”. We were flooded with both. Those that arrived practically at the crack of dawn with breakfast for me to the ones that arrived late at night with vegetable soup for my husband. To those that cancelled their own plans to help us. It makes me all warm and fuzzy just thinking about it.

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*snack time for sad little girls missing their parents. I tell you my parents rock the crisis times like nobody’s buisness. 

My parents took over my house. My kids, my chickens, my dog, my plants, my errands, my dirty bathroom, my laundry, my empty fridge, and my dirty air filters. My husband’s mom is taking round 2 now helping us as we get settled back in at home. We are anticipating a month long recovery. We’ve had food dropped on our door, our gas tanks filled up, our errands done without question, our lawns mowed, our trash taken out, our kids taken on sleepovers, and meals arriving for the next two weeks. We are so blessed.

IT WAS LIKE A VACATION. #butnot

datenight

I have been longing for a vacation. It just hasn’t financially been possible. I have been in prayer about it and perhaps should have been more specific. I stayed with my husband round the clock in room 11545. A room with a view. Sleeping arrangements were a bit poor, but while the world sped on around that hospital tower, we had time, just the two of us. We strolled. Granted there was no beach to look out at but dang it we strolled. My man rocked the hospital gown and grey socks and while we discussed his gangrenous appendix, bodily functions, and how hospital food might actually kill you, I pretended it was a b&b. I will take it. That’s the longest we have been away from the kids ever. We had middle of the night laughs as I relayed those moments of him waking up from surgery and what he did and said. That, my friend, is a good time. There is always a silver lining and I downright mean that.

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BIG MOMENTS SPIN MY BRAIN INTO OVERDRIVE

I wrote that last week too and boy do they. This one is no exception. Every detail etched in and stored away for safe keeping. I don’t wanna miss something. The big or the small. The frantic mother running into the er with a giant gash across her little daughters face. Oh, that sweet baby girl’s look. It haunts me. The frail woman always walking the halls hooked up to so many things and always alone. What’s her story. The 1st year resident with the worst bedside manner ever. Struggling to find her line between a grown up job and her inner high school valley girl in the cafeteria days, she was stuck in the middle. I wonder how she will do. The miraculous nurses who do this day in and day out. Such caring people. The fact that there is no 9th floor in this hospital. Is that even possible? The bathroom near nurse station one is strangely warm and cozy, yet the bathroom near nurses station three is an ice box. Why is that? And as I sit in the cafeteria eating the most delicious frozen yogurt I’ve ever tasted {weird, right?} I remember back just last year to when I frequented this hospital for a very different reason. Sweet Livy.

ISN’T THIS A BIT OVERDRAMATIC

Probably. I get lots of people have had this done. I understand. However, perhaps we all need to be a bit more dramatic sometimes. Maybe we need to feel deeper and love longer and pray harder and cry freer and hug strangers tighter. I sat moments after they wheeled my husband away on the bathroom floor and I sobbed. I figure the floors of a bathroom have to be extra clean because that is where you are supposed to have breakdowns. I sobbed because I love that man and I hate to see him in pain. I sobbed because of the reality of how many people endure this reality day in and day out, many with different outcomes than mine. I sobbed for the simple truth that I don’t wanna deal with appendicitis. It’s inconvenient and not in our plan and it kinda sucks. I sobbed because I don’t have room on my plate for this. I sobbed because of the what if’s. I sobbed because of how fast life can change. It scares me, sometimes.

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BACK TO SCHOOL

All the things that were so important to finish before the first day of school pale in comparison now. We start school with devotions. Today’s devotion, I kid you not, read like this…

 In their hearts humans plan their course,
    but the Lord establishes their steps. Psalm 16:9

So, I was sitting there with the lamest hair do ever, sweats for the 5th day in a row, tired, like I have a newborn tired, and I read that humans try and get peace by controlling their life. However, we. can. not. We can’t determine if we will be sick or well enough to get out of bed. We put our faith in HIM and HE gives us peace. #jesuscallingforkids

I laugh aloud.

I say to the kids, geez ya think? They giggle too.

I get it. In my humanness, I will forget it again and likely in the very near future. BUT I get it right now.

Oh, my Jesus, you are in control. I can let go and rest in that.

 

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Goodbye.

It was two years ago, almost to the day that we arrived in Oregon, in this same room, to honor and celebrate the life of Marvin Ward Albaugh, great grandpa, grandpa, husband, father, friend, and lover of Jesus. Several years before that, we arrived in Oregon to honor and celebrate the life of his bride, Betty Grace Albaugh. This night, we gathered in the same room, to celebrate the ministry of their daughter, my husband’s mother for the past 18 years, as she retires from her ministry position of children’s pastor.

Big moments make my brain spin into overdrive. It broke my heart all in a swift moment to see her singing up there and her mom and dad were no longer here to share it. I thought of my own babies and the realization that the latter part of their life will likely not have me on this earth to be a part of it. A mama can hardly wrap her heart around that fact when her babies are the age that mine are. Yet, I glance over and see my 14 year old next to my 2 year old and realize that the little boy my 14 year old was is already gone and as time speeds on daily, I am without choice saying goodbye to the 2 year old with rosy cheeks that is struggling to break from my grasp and run somewhere. He is ever growing, ever changing.

It is a reminder to live, to celebrate, and to build deep bonds with those we love and live out our days with. Goodbye is just around the corner, followed by the hellos, a never ending parade. Time marches on. Always.

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* Grandma J was called on stage to do some final worship with some of the kids from her ministry. 

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Day seven of a road trip also had my two year old spun into overdrive and he and I had a very long date in the hallway. {I think somewhere in the master plan of church architecture, the powers at be create churches with long hallways for wiggly little boys who do not see the need to sit still}. I did manage to sneak a quick picture as I sped by the doorway, one of the 1,456 times I passed by it.

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*My husband and daughter sang while my son played. Look out Von Trapps.

Sometimes, I think if we fully understood what the next hello will bring, I am not sure the goodbye would seem so difficult. Yet, in our limited understanding goodbyes can be so tough. The older I get, the more moments I collect and there are days that hold moments that are so perfect, I stop and think~ THIS moment is one that will be missed. When this chapter comes to a close, as they all do, this is the time that will bring tears. It is the time that will cause heartache. It is also in these moments that I wish I could just make time stand still.

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*brother in law, sister in law, mother in law, and my hubby.

We had a great second half of our trip. We were able to see a lot of family and sights of Oregon. We are back home now and I am struggling to speed up the aftermath period of a road trip such as what we just did. I have lots that I want to accomplish before school begins on September 9th. Finishing our school room, lesson planning, shopping for supplies, deep cleaning the house, freezer meals, back to school photos, organizing drawers, etc. etc. You know the list that I made to set myself up for failure because it can’t all be accomplished….a girl can dream though, right????

Being behind makes me cranky. Working on that is on my list too…..

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

-Carol Sobieski and Thomas Meehan, Annie.

 

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*The Valley below Mt. St. Helens. Crazy eerie and way to monumental to even wrap my head around what happened here. It was a cloudy day so we never were able to see the crater. 

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 …and that’s a wrap.

————–

p.s. my landlord left us a message in our school room today, while he was doing some quick work in there. All kinds of awesome right??? Which reminds me… I hope to have it all completed by Septemeber 9th! Can’t wait to share with you the transformation. People who take the time to be silly are my kind of people, by the way. Go make someone smile today.

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Pink

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Who Knew? Pink repeats in my ears over and over. Something about that song kinda has me smitten. I turn around to view all four of my children perfectly content and yet all in their own worlds while we travel up to visit relatives in Oregon. My husband is at the wheel and it occurs to me that everything I need is in this car with me. I breathe. Deep. Lay my head back, close my eyes, and stop thinking. First stop, Salem.

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It’s less than ideal to drive 12 hours in a car with 4 kids, but you stop at a gas station and eat triscuits and peanut butter on a curb while your son serenades you with a ukelele and then you think, “what on earth do I have to complain about?”. #onethousandgifts. I am grateful for a husband who is chill. Who will stop multiple times for a bathroom whenever someone utters the words, “I need to go”. A husband who will drive 4 miles off the freeway for a DQ peanut buster parfait because eating those on road trips rocks. One who will snatch up his two year old and run out of that same DQ because a choo choo is speeding through the parking lot nearby and my boy will straight up pee in his diaper to be that up close and personal with his beloved choo choos.

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I used to spend New Years thinking about goals and such. What I want to change in my life and what I need to focus on with the kids. Since homeschooling became our gig, I spend the summer thinking those things through. Actually that is not even true, I think about them constantly, but when it comes to what our school year will look like, these thoughts stay at the forefront.

As Pink blares in my ear, I wonder why I even have this song on repeat. Why do I even love it so much? Then I realize it is her passion that has me captivated and I start to wonder what passion really looks like.  Furthermore, who in my life shows true passion for life and how do I instill that in my kids? I want them to dance like nobody is watching, sing in the rain, live like there’s no tomorrow, and all of those things. Every single plaque, canvas, and hand crafted item of those sayings. Lord, let them explode and become one big super nova of inspiration in the hearts of my children.

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This school year I have cut out some of the extras to allow more time for some character studies. I am so grateful for the time homeschool allows my husband and I to work on these values with our kids. It’s hands down the best part of this education choice and I recognize it and I am grateful for it. We prayerfully intend to make the most of it.

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Who knew, begins for the 546,856 time, and I make a decision. When we get home. NOTHING new is being added to the calendar for the time being. Nothing. Nothing and I want to write a song and have Pink sing it for me with all the passion that she has. I pull an ear plug out and tell my husband that when we get back home, if the queen herself asks to come over for tea, I am telling her no. He half smiles and shakes his head ok, as if it is an actual possibility and a perfectly normal sentence.

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You know what? If there is one thing I have learned from homeschool, it is this. Eclectic, Charlotte Mason, workbox lovin’, kitchen table user…it doesn’t matter. For the love of an A beka worksheet, when you find what you need to pull off this amazing job we have been blessed to do, you better just embrace it and move forward. AND this mama needs to be prepared. I need to start the year with a bouquet of sharpened pencils, new systems, a fresh coat of paint on the craigslist school table and binders…there must be new binders. Cute ones. I need to have a BIG understanding of a BIG picture of the year. I need my lesson planner filled in, my worksheets filed and ready, and my Pinterest boards overflowing with possibilities. It’s how I roll.

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* Waterfalls are my favorite and look what I got to see?

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*Standing under a waterfall may just be my favorite new place to be. See my littles over on the bridge.

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I sulk for a bit and become frustrated again over the lack of control I have been able to achieve with our schedule this summer and wish I were further ahead. It seems there is so much work and not enough play and certainly not enough help. Then I remember my sweet friend, who said, “HOW CAN I HELP?”.  She added my four children added to her three, so that I could go home and be alone and get some stuff done. I had 6 hours alone in my house. I can’t remember the last time that has happened. A beautiful reminder that it is o.k. God provides. People who put other’s needs before their own. How awesome. How priceless. How fabulous. Then I ask God’s forgiveness yet again for my crappy attitude and give a rock concert to a sell out crowd as Pink’s back up girl…and drift off to sleep.

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Down time. Chill time with far away family. Popcorn dipped in peanut butter and caramel sauce at 11:00pm while watching this. Holla.

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Lord, take my life and let it be….ever only, all for Thee.

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Next Stop. Portland.

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The Donut Shop

There’s something about the box. In order to the get the “box” you have to buy 12, so we rarely do. We have really changed our diet quiet dramatically and definitely don’t do this often, but sometimes the pink box calls and sometimes it is best to listen.

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A few weeks ago, I sat with my littles at the donut shop. I put the purchased donuts in the center of the table and we each take a fourth of the different kinds. It equals a whole, but you get four different kinds. Perfect. Why eat one whole donut when you can eat one whole donut made up of four different kinds?

As we sit on the run down vinyl chairs, a woman walks in with four children of her own, and she begins talking to the police offer, perfectly placed in my favorite donut shop. {The use of the word favorite implies that I have tried multiple donut shops and have chosen this as the top choice. Guilty. Donuts tend to be my favorite junk food.} They make some small talk and he asks where the children go to school. She says, “I homeschool”. I literally want to jump and scream and go “me too” “me too”. It is like I realize we are part of some secret society and I need for her to know I am a member. I sit silent and in utter astonishment, as I hear the police offer begin to give heartfelt praise her for her education choice. He tells her what a wonderful option homeschooling is and how awesome it is that she is giving that gift to her kids. I sat watching wishing it was appropriate for me to get up and hug them both, but then I remember my children (2 of which are teens). I realize it would probably cause permanent scaring to them. There is no way that they could wrap their hormone supercharged brains around why their mom is hugging total strangers…in the donut shop, over homeschooling. I refrain.

My desire to hug ran deep because I remember the not too long ago days where I would just get mortified at the sideways glances people give over our education choice. My kids have been made fun of for being home schooled. I have been the recipient of strong opinions against our homeschool choice. Homeschooling is tough and all of the disagreement and objections can make it SO much harder. Hearing these two kindred spirits made me happy. I agree with them. I agree wholeheartedly. It is a wonderful option.

As I enter my fifth year of homeschooling, I am so at peace. There are definitely challenges. Challenges for me, challenges for my kids, and challenges in our home. BUT challenges, or the lack there of DOES NOT DEFINE or confirm God’s will in our life. They never should. He does that.

After an over busy summer, I find my self burned out, struggling to keep my head above water with all of the responsibilities I have in the next month. Yet, I realize that my God, who created the universe,  made 24 hours in the day and that is enough. I no longer pray for more time, but pray to discern how to use the time I have been given. As I shift focus these last 27 days before the new school year begins {on Sep. 9th} from daily playing, to deep cleaning and organizing the house, preparing curriculum, decorating and organizing the classroom, and trying to discern what needs to be completed and what should be set aside, I can say it is well with my soul. {one of my favorite songs of all time.} Last Friday, I unexpectedly found myself strolling through an antique shop and my heart stopped as I saw this little guy hanging there for just $5.00. {Ever since seeing, this I have been wanting to display those words in my home}.

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Fast forward to yesterday. Back to the donut shop and I am paying. There is a gentleman who has been talking to the clerk. He is an older man, likely in his 70’s, he says “why are women only nice before they are married?” His eyes are twinkling with fun. I chime in,”hey, I have been married for 18 years and I am still nice”.

“You look nice” the gentleman says.”What’s your name, young lady”?

“Darcy”.

“That’s a cute name. A real cute name. Where’d you meet your husband?”

“Church… and today he is a worship pastor.”

“He says no wonder you are happy. Have a GREAT day, today, Darcy”

“I will” and as we say our good byes and I walk away, pink box in hand, I hear him say, “thats a real cute name, Darcy. I like that.”

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That man had a twinkle in his eye like no other. It made me happy.  Sometimes donuts hit the spot like no other. Many times I feel like there isn’t enough hours in the day. Yesterday I woke up crying because of the sheer exhaustion life can bring. Then we got up, ate donuts, and did a little swing dancing in our back yard, and it was good.

Today, my to do list is longer than Santa’s, naughty or nice list.

But It is well with my soul.

 

 

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Making Memories

I was 16 or 17. We had a G R E A T youth group and a fantastic youth pastor. He was all about making memories. He was all about telling us, he was all about making memories.

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Every summer we went on a trip called Endless Summer. 1.5 weeks of non stop fun. Camping, amusement parks, beaches, and everything in between. It was A W E S O M E. Well, this one year, we took one of those accordian style busses. It was our transportation for the whole trip. Maybe 70 or 80 of us left for our Endless Summer Trip.

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For weeks prior to this particular year, our youth pastor had been telling us he had a special surprise that we would not want to miss. To say we were all excited would be a severe understatement. There was SUCH a buzz about our surprise. We could not figure it out.

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Heading southbound on Highway 5 toward Los Angeles, a famous stench exists. It is the familiar smell to all Californians and travelers of highway 5 known as Harris Ranch. I think it is home to about 5 gazillion cows, give or take.

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Remember that Endless Summer surprise? Yes, a tour. On the bus. Driving the roads in between said cows. In the middle of July. Hot. Flys. Groaning teenagers. AND a gleefully happy youth pastor walking the aisles of the bus yelling “you will never forget this”. He was right. I haven’t.

…and I love it.

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A few months ago I get a phone call from my husband in the middle of the day, asking if we could take May 16th off school. Of course. He informs me that there is a frog jumping gig at the Calaveras County fair. He wants to surprise the kids. I immediately thought of the cows. I was in.

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Anticipation built with my munchkins.

It was a total crack up and a total surprise until we arrived at our destination.

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You see, they didn’t even know that frog jumping existed. Neither did I.

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*this picture is titled, WHY WE USE A STROLLER.

It was an unusally wet rainy morning in CA, that we set out. It was cold, damp, and entirely entertaining.

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We had a great day.

Here’s to hoping the kids never forget it.

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Somehow, I don’t think they will. I can hear it now…”remember when dad took us to that frog jumping fair.”

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One of the highlights of the day was when we were walking through all the animals. One of the 4H kids started chatting with us. “Where y’all from?” he says. “Sacramento area”, my husband replies. Them the kid went there….

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“YOU CAME ALL THE WAY DOWN HERE, JUST FOR THIS?”

“Y U P”, my husband says proudly.

Making Memories.

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because frogs are cool.

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Moving Day

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*Goodbye old house

This post is like a month past due! It took about 4 times as long to unpack as I suspected. Which is funny, because that is the exact number of helpers I had that slowed this whole thing down. 🙂 My husband’s favorite thing to say these days is, “It’ll all get done. Don’t worry.” I have had a couple of near minor meltdowns, but mostly just enjoying our beautiful new home so much, I can hardly stand it.

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* I am not sure I totally agree with moving and easier ever in the same sentence

The combination of my spring allergies and a nasty cold that spread though the troops added a whole new level to the unpacking process. The colds are gone and I am anxiously awaiting the departure of the allergies as well.

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*Auntie Nicole playing with Greyson before bed in his new room

Life is beginning to feel more normal. It has been four weeks today since moving day, but I do still sort of feel like I am on some weird unpacking vacation in a resort house.

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We are figuring out new routines, where everything is in our ginormous kitchen, and enjoying the peace and quiet of the country.

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*Every country home with a wrap around porch comes with a swing, right?

Actual moving day was such a gift. We had so many people come to help. Three hours and five minutes to bring the entire contents of our old house to our new house. We had done a little bit of moving prior, but the bulk of it was done by the fabulous peeps that helped us.

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It was the very first party of many in this new house. Moving, sweating, eating cheap pizza, and prayer for our new place. Good times.

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*The most important part

Couldn’t have done it without you guys! Meant the world to us! Thanks!

xo

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