That One Valentines Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There, thought I would say it first.

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

I beg you.

 

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But Today

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

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

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

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

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

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Next Stop. Fritz’s.

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

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There are trains everywhere, and everywhere else, literally.

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

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

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

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We found all kinds of other treasures.

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

Don’t mind if we do…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But today ended very different. Hearts full and tired.

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

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

I promise.

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Life In Missouri

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In heartbreaking news…

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

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

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

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

Happy Tuesday.

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

 

 

 

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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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The Hose

It has been just a little over a month since we left the sunshine state. Let’s chat about the weather. Yeah, it’s cold and that’s cool with me. It’s been fun experiencing something new. Coming out to the car and finding your diet coke from yesterday frozen. Ruining packages of baby wipes because they froze. Putting on lipstick that is straight from a -30 degree car, oh and face powder. Waiting for snow to fall. Forgetting your jacket. Wondering if you should leave that jacket in the car and run in the store so you don’t have to carry the jacket once you are inside. Figuring out boots are not just cute, they are practical too. Using lotion multiple times a day. Realizing that if I left a bag of groceries in the car overnight, it isn’t a big deal. Weather is quite the topic these days, but it is not the differences of winter or summer or fall that will be challenging for me. Spring will be the hardest change. I do not love lightening, thunder, hail, or tornadoes. Call me crazy.

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My family is not usually sick, but this year we are on round two just this month. With six in our family if each one gets sick one at a time, that is a lot of days of sick in a row. Now, double that. We have had someone one not feeling great since Christmas afternoon when we lit the candles to sing to Jesus and Greyson threw up down my back. Merry Christmas.

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We have had ups and downs since moving, as expected. The other night in a particular down, all of a sudden one child begins throwing up. This child is fabulous, but not a champion thrower upper. Let’s just say she remained in her bed the whole incident. Shawn and I have a strict agreement with sickness that I take top end and he takes the bottom. So, I’m up. I stripped the sheets and put them in a ball in the tub while I tend to my patient. I ask Shawn if he has seen a hose outside of the house we are staying in. He says yes and so I throw the pile of blankets outside. Intending to rinse them with a hose before putting them in the washing machine.

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So you know the straw right? The one that did back injuries to that one camel???? I go outside to hose off the blankets and I see no hose connected to water. I question the man God gave me about it and He said, “well I saw a hose? I didn’t know you wanted it working”. Because clearly at midnight I want a non working hose. Maybe to gaze upon its beauty in the freezing temps? Look at it lovingly while sipping hot cocoa? Of course I wanted it working. So by the time we finish our ridiculous argument over the situation, I head outside to retrieve the blankets and now they are frozen. Let me remind you the reason they were out there in the first place. That is frozen too.

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I will spare you the rest of the story…but let’s just say that standing there at that sink in the middle of the night cleaning the blankets by hand I had a low point. The point where you question all that is well and not well in the world and cry and just want to go home. Where you question how you ended up in Missouri cleaning frozen barf in the middle of the night.

“Behold His glory- and your raging heart will be held” -Ann Voskamp

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There was time recently where life was really hard. I posted on Facebook “one foot in front of the other, that’s about all I’ve got right now.” A response came in…”a lot of great things were accomplished that way”. What a life changing time those days were. They taught me that no matter what was up in the day to day, you just have to do your best. That is when fantastic is born. Right there at midnight with chunks of frozen barf.

We have been welcomed here like no other, no joke. It is so awesome. We have been treated to meals, taken on city tours, checked on, loved on, given gifts, gift cards, and even had our juice poured in sugar rimmed chilled glasses {which I highly recommend}….and as I sat in church one Sunday morning, I cried. Tears of joy because we are home. It takes time to acclimate, but that will happen. I know in my heart that Jesus has us here and as difficult as some of this transition has been, it’s ok.

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…and as most arguments are, in fact, a waste of time. It was recently brought to my attention that even if there had been a “working hose” the temps were below zero. It wouldn’t have provided me running water anyway.

Go figure.

 

 

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Back To School, Again.

Tomorrow begins our first days of school in Missouri. Well, actually today was, but it was a holiday, so we had the day off. I am the best teacher…ever.

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3rd grade.

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Anyway. Four months after school has started I took their yearly school photos. I just didn’t get to it. I always have wanted to do pics in front of busses, which makes less than zero sense since my kids are home schooled. Not too many busses around in California. However, I found some in Missouri. We took these pictures in about 60 seconds, for real, because I felt like I was doing something wrong and might go to some sort of Missouri jail. So we were fast. Baby stayed strapped in car. It was really quite impressive, actually. I think the kids might have been slightly scared because they were extra cooperative, lol.

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8th grade.

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I need a picture for their school box each year…and by school box I mean you simply must click over and see the best idea I have seen on Pinterest, ever, that I did and am totally head over heels in love with. It is for any child in school. Not just home schooler types.

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9th grade

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Anyway. I said I would never homeschool. I am. I said I could never homeschool around a dining room table. I am starting tomorrow…and while we are on the topic of stupid things I say, I also said I would never live anywhere where there are tornados.

When will I learn?

 

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I Miss My Chickens

My morning

I sit here in McDonalds in Missouri. The picture of this would be more fabulous if I was in a cozy Starbucks or Panera, but I’m just not that cool, really I’m not. Confession: I love McDonalds breakfast. It’s so gross, yet true. I have been on a steady decline for a while with my nutrition and exercise. Beginning sometime around when my husband’s insides blew up this past year, but honestly it can hardly be an excuse, yet it is. Fell off the wagon? Yeah and the wagon kept going and is but a speck in the distance. Currently I am in the ever so fun stage of getting up and dusting myself off and taking the first step toward the wagon. I hate this spot. I’ve been here before. AND right after I finish these pancakes I am headed over to check out a gym. I promise. I am SO all or nothing. I have got. to. fix. that. I have reread these posts for inspiration.  Back to real food . So much better.

I was recently checking out top life stresses online and ran across a quiz that rated how likely your recent experiences were to make you physically ill. I took it. I also took a quiz that told you what city you should live in. I found out I was in danger of becoming physically ill and I should move to Barcelona. Big day for me.

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The weather

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*he kept yelling at the wind. “stop it guys, stop it.”

I actually am finding this change fun. I have lived in California my whole life and I am looking forward to the unpredictable crazy weather that everyone is telling me about. I like change and I like extremes. While my friends are jogging the streets in shorts and tanks today no doubt in California, I woke up to 19 degrees and a “feels like zero” on my weather app. Hmmmm. It is cold. Crazy cold. When I tried to get gas on that below zero day a couple weeks back I swear I would have cried if I wasn’t scared that the teardrops would freeze my face off. So, while some dream of sun, dare I say I dream of snow? A white Christmas. I am glad I get to experience it. The grocery clerk asked me the other day where I had moved from and I said California. I got the typical head tilt and, “oh wow, and how come you moved to missouri thing”. So, I said “alright..what am I missing, EVERYBODY responds like that”…he says, “MA’AM it’s probably because of the weather”.

My week

By Monday at about 10 am it was clear that my goals were not going to happen. Chore charts, meal plans, school in session, etc. I had to dumb them down quite a bit. I spent the week, sick in bed, crying my guts out {not fun, but totally necessary in this process}, and finding things in this city. I have spent time exploring areas, trying to figure things out, and finding where my places are. You know the bank, the dry cleaners, blah blah blah…because one thing for sure everywhere you live things are different and I decided this time to try and figure some of this stuff out now, so I can make adjustments. Car washes like we have in California don’t seem to exist here and grocery stores are crazy different. The little things. The little things in the life of a mom. Just changes the way you do things.

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One thing I have discovered is there is SO MUCH TO DO around here. Honestly, I am so excited about that. I could go on and on and I am sure you will see in my posts in months to come. I never really spent time thinking about what the midwest was like, but I guess I would have said fields and a red barn with a windmill. But nope, there are just tons of cool areas I can’t wait to check out. Lots of museums, shopping, dining, artsy things, and on and on. I have an ever growing list of places I want to take the kids.

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My days

We are super comfortable in the temporary housing we are in but I can not tell you how excited I am to get into our own home and unpack. I feel all out of sorts. Which is probably good for me. We all need to be disrupted at times and I am trying to make the most of it. For I recognize without a home to maintain I do have more time to play, rest, and BE with my kids. All good things. All good things are happening with our new home as well. We are on track to close escrow somewhere around Valentines Day…

dance

*performing for the local mall. kinda rad to be in a town where you know like 7 people. The likelihood of running into them at somewhat embarrassing moments is very slim.

My chickens

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I miss them. Kinda weird, but I do. In our new house we aren’t allowed to have them. It seems like most places to live around here are subdivisions with rules. No chickens seems to be the normal. So I will go back to buying eggs.

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I will miss their chubby cluckiness in my yard. A lot. We sold the hens to friends of ours from church. He is a chef. He swore he wouldn’t eat them. I only half believe him, although he promised.

We were about to get a goat in California before we left. Ironic we left our wanna be farm in California to move to the midwest and we can’t have one here. We are going to live right near a lake. Maybe I can have a duck or something? ya think?

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You know what is fabulous?

My husband has worked a six day work week for the past 5 years and now he works a five day work week. There are no words for the level of joy this brings me for our family. One day off just is not enough to unwind. We are enjoying this change a LOT, because we kinda like him.

thrift

*also fabulous, the local thrift shop. Vest for the wee one and a Isaac Mizrahi mug for me. $3.00 bill for the win.

 

 

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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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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.

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* 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….”

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* 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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