New City: New Life

What a whirlwind of a week. I have never seen my husband so physically and mentally exhausted. We rented a moving van and he pretty much filled the entire thing with furniture and boxes, then was at the end of his rope with weariness when one of his friends showed up to help him finish, and not just any friend, a giant of a man filled with cheerfulness. God always provides, doesn’t He? Then four wonderful men met him at our storage unit and helped him unload, it reminded me of an Amish barn raising, how they got all of our gear compactly packed into a large room like a giant puzzle. I stepped out of the way and let them go, was too short and too weak to be of much use.

We spent a cozy “last night in our old home” sleeping on the floor. Grandma brought the kids back to us the next day and helped us bring the rest of our stuff to our in-laws where we are now staying for about a month. Then we went house shopping. It was fun, at every home our children would run to the backyard to see if there was a swingset to play on, and I may or may not have told them not to jump on other people’s beds once or twice. We can barely afford a 4 bedroom, but really want a 4 bedroom, so were looking at many split-level three bedrooms with a basement room that could possibly be turned into a 4th. We found a wonderful home with three bedrooms and a large basement full of possibilities. It’s not even a split level. It is a peaceful retreat in the middle of a busy city. The backyard is secluded by wood fencing and trees with landscaping and sitting areas to relax in, we’re going to enjoy this home. Also, no major problems; it’s not a fixer upper, which is nice. Many of the homes we looked at had mold, termites, or foundation issues. It was difficult for me to move so quickly with buying a new home but it would have disappeared if we had puddled around even a little. Real estate is insane here.

So now that all the business is done, we’ve been vacationing in the city. Lots of swimming and exploring new places. We’re not sure how to relax because there’s so many possibilities every day. We’ve been to a toy store, the library–many times, a juggling show, a city band concert, soooo many ice cream shops, an art walk, a bluegrass concert, the park, a community gym. My mother-in-law left me tools and supplies to work on a glass mosaic which I haven’t even begun yet, but I’m excited about….and we played with cousins for an entire day. I’m worn out, but happy worn out. We’ve also discovered the there’s some public program that feeds children for free here if you show up at the right places, still figuring that one out. The swimming pools and parks are packed in the afternoons with childcare groups that show up on school buses. Have seen some interesting clothing choices from the locals, saw a girl wearing a bikini with a black negligee over the top of it. Lots of pink and purple hair, but most of the people seem to dress and act like we do; moms with friendly kids looking for someone to play with.

We haven’t gone to a new church yet, last week we went back to our old church and they gave us a wonderful send-off. It felt like they were our home church sending us out to be missionaries, we will miss them so much. They framed a colorful picture of a guitar with the words to “Be Thou My Vision” and wrote messages on the back for us. We will have to go back and visit them often, leaving is hard. We couldn’t have done all of this by ourselves, I’ve been amazed at how God is providing. New blessings every day.

The Big Week

This is it, the big week, it’s finally arrived. We are moving, tomorrow the big rental truck will sit in our driveway and we will empty out all of our possessions. There’s nothing like touching and packing each one of your possessions to realize just how much stuff you own. Everyone should do this with their items at some point in their lives. I read Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up earlier this year, and she gave me the courage to let go. To let go of all the stuff I was keeping to please someone else, or because I didn’t want to be wasteful. Each item we keep in our home requires energy, energy to store, to move around, to clean, and even to look at. I have simplified quite a bit and am eager to see how our possessions will fit into our new home (that we don’t have yet). Yes, that’s right, we’re going to live with our in-laws because…I’m so tired of explaining why and this is my blog, so I’ll skip it here. We will have a new home soon and that’s all that matters.

The kids have let our hamster run free and our cats are staying with my parents till we find a home. Grandma isn’t letting them go outside though because she worries they’ll run away. I figure I’d rather have them run away in the country than run away in a city. I hate the thought of her emptying a litter box, that wasn’t part of the deal! The kids are also at my parents’ home. They love being on the farm; lots of swimming, cats, and 4-wheeler rides with Grandpa. I’m amazed at how much more I can get done with them away. I miss them.

My husband is taking a test in a few hours. I now sympathize with women whose husbands go to med school. Although what I’ve been through is practically nothing compared to med school wives. This will (hopefully, please say a quick prayer) be his final test and we will be able to move on to the next phase of our lives. Which is looking to be an exciting one. After the move, I plan on spending the summer thoroughly exploring a new city with my children. It will be like a long vacation.

My husband has promised me a date after his test tonight, I’m excited, it’s been awhile. Although I don’t think it will go very long. We’re both anxious to get moved out as quickly as possible. Cleaning the garage has become more enticing than watching a movie together.

Covenant Study

I went to my women’s bible study a few weeks ago and discovered the lady leading it thought she was going to be hit hard by a list of judgments from God when she got to heaven. It was a real fear for her, she is the list-making type, and knew her list was long. But more than that, I think there was a specific sin from her past that was haunting her, something the devil kept bringing up and telling her “you can’t possibly be saved”.

So I tried to explain covenant theology to her, but it’s been over ten years since I’ve actually studied it, so she got a bumbled version of Jonathan and David’s exchanging of robes and how that made them one, then how Christ exchanges robes with us, so we actually become one with Him, that is why it was possible for him to die for our sins. When we get to heaven, there isn’t a list of judgments because we are one with Christ. His perfection is given to us and our sins were given to Him. Our sins have already been judged, there is no judgment left for those who are “in” Christ, for those who have accepted Him and “become one” with Him.

For those who are in Christ, there is no list of judgments. We are clean. We are not condemned. I don’t even have to know what’s in her past, I know she’s forgiven and that’s all that matters. Christ’s death covers everything.

So my husband dug out his old covenant study for me, and made me two copies. I gave one to my friend and this morning was busy writing down answers and getting my refresher. It’s crazy how excited she was to do the study with me, I could see the relief wash across her face when I told her she wasn’t going to be judged. I love being a part of how God works. I love that He uses me.

Moving To The City

Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Our family is moving, it’s almost official. We’ve signed the contract, had the inspection…now we’re waiting to see how our buyer’s inspection goes because our sale depends on their sale…

So much to do, so much to get rid of. I didn’t realize how unsettling the feeling of having no home was going to be. Looking into the future and not knowing where we will live is scary. I’ve been reading “The Red Tent”, and there’s a time when Jacob (Esau’s brother from the bible) asks his four wives to travel and find a new home. They’ve never left their father’s land, they don’t know where they will end up, even Jacob doesn’t know for sure where they will live. I thought how scared they must have been, how unsure. At least, I know the place I’m going to, even if I don’t know exactly what house it will be.

The kids want to move to the country because they want horses. We’re not getting horses. I like the idea of living in the country, there is a peace I find in the country that I can’t get anywhere else. But when I look at the next ten years of our life, I see people. Lots and lots of people, and clubs, and running the kids from lessons, to church events, to ball practice and to friends’ homes. I see us homeschooling outside of the home as much as possible because it gets lonely when we’re by ourselves with only your sisters to play with and I don’t want that anymore. We get excited when we are with people, when we’re building relationships. Our baby, snuggling, no-sleeping-at-night years are over and the next ten years are going to be incredibly busy and exciting. I know God has a plan for us and I can’t wait to see what He does.

Motherhood: Stage 2

jennyandcaci

Happy Mother’s Day!

On Mother’s Day, I think it’s fun to capture exactly where I’m at on this motherhood journey. Looking back, I wished I’d done this when they were smaller. I wished I’d written about the complete exhaustive fog I was in when they were babies and how much joy I got when they smiled at me and grabbed my finger tightly with their little hands. How my babies gave me hope to go on, to keep fighting my life. But now I’m here; I’m a mother with a 9 yr old, a 7 yr old, and a 4 yr old; all daughters, beautiful daughters.

So the hard parts, because they’re beautiful too….
One of the downfalls of homeschooling is I begin to want to avoid my children, being around them 24/7, I crave breaks, I hide away in my books and computer, I get way too excited for an hour alone. I imagine mothers who spend the day working away from their children look forward to seeing them at the end of the day and catching up. They run into each other’s arms joyfully wishing they’d never parted, but I know this is not true, they probably struggle to love also.
I’m finally getting plenty of sleep at night. One of my homeschool teaching strategies was to make my children bored, so they would have to depend upon creativity to get themselves through the day. This sometimes works, but often, they end up following me around and wanting to talk all the time because they don’t know what to do with themselves. So I end up telling them to go find something to do, it makes them sad and I feel bad about it.

We are on the verge of the next phase of parenthood, the time when your kids become interested in life, and you do whatever you can to support them. Driving them to clubs, to friends’ homes, inviting friends’ over. We are almost out of the snuggly, stay home phase where you are too exhausted to go anywhere and everyone is asleep by 7 pm, so you wouldn’t go anywhere anyway. Our kids’ are aching to get involved in the world around them, and I’m not sure what the best way of doing this is. I know many people sign their kids up for all kinds of organizations, it makes me want to send them to public school, but that has some big disadvantages. We need a large social group that is willing to hang out and do productive things with my children. I’m thinking 4-H, or maybe I could start my own homeschool co-op?

My oldest daughter has almost outgrown me. She is so beautiful. She really wants to be funny and she is not a natural comedian at all, so we’ve been working on appropriate humor and I try not to get mad at her when she insults someone because she’s trying to tell a joke, I try re-direction instead. She is naturally gifted in hospitality and gave me the most special birthday party the other day. She spent hours making me a gift and setting up the moment so I would feel loved. She succeeded. She is almost bigger than me, but still wants to crawl into my lap and be held. I love that she still wants to do this, but I have to tell her no sometimes because it’s so awkward. I hope she never stops asking and we continue being awkward our entire lives.

My middle daughter is quiet and independent, she often gets forgotten. She is also incredibly selfless, she will give her stuff away without hesitation and whenever someone is sad, will do whatever is necessary to help her. I feel protective of her because she doesn’t do anything to protect herself. She lives life by giving everything each day. She plays and runs hard until she crashes, then I have to pick her up and make sure she’s eaten enough food for the day, or give her mandatory rest if she’s surrounded by people because there’s nothing left in her to give. When she is on the verge of a crash, watch out, she can have a temper. She hasn’t figured out gentle ways of finding space or boundaries….will have to work on that.

My youngest, so precious. She is still always requiring my attention, needing help to get her cereal, her clothes on, to buckle her seatbelt. I’m beginning to get tastes of what life will be like when I’m not needed constantly. It’s exciting. But I do love her chatter, she will crawl onto my lap as soon as I sit down, and tell me all her thoughts, or she will just sit. She follows #2 around everywhere and they are good playmates at this stage. They jump on the trampoline, play with dolls, play games, legos, restaurant, play with the dog…..they stay incredibly busy with pretend play.

I think a lot about filling my children. Filling their minds with good things; scripture, prayer, good stories, songs, grace, truth. I’m hoping roots will grow deep, and when I let them go on their own later, they will have a strong foundation for life.

“How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe?
How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No. A woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness.”
― G.K. Chesterton

note: both my bathroom sinks are full of mud at the moment from kids playing outside barefoot then coming in and washing their feet in the sink.