Monday, August 31, 2015

From a Momma's Heart

Wow!  By the end of this week, we will have been in SLC for one month.  In a way, it feels like it couldn't have possibly been a whole month already and in a way, I think, how could we have possibly done all we have in only a month!

We are starting to get into a routine...and that should be good, but to be honest today, I am feeling a little sad and nostalgic.  Forgive me for the emotions, but this is my journal spot so I want to put down everything and one day look back and see how God used even the not so pretty.

I don't like change.  I am a creature of habit.  I go to the same restaurants and order the same meals, I read the same kinds of books and my furniture never moves once I have placed it...which was quite obvious when we began to move that furniture out of our house!  :)  I knew that this adventure was a BIG change, but I was excited about it.  I was excited about living close to my family again and I was excited to be a part of a full time ministry.  I was actually embracing change!

But change is just really hard for while parts are good, I find myself still struggling.  I LOVE being near my family and even have loved being in the house with my parents again...that could  have been all kinds of bad but so far, it has been nothing but a blessing.  I have been blessed to get a job really easily...I didn't even interview!  My kids all got established into their schools and we couldn't be happier with their teachers.  So, I should be ecstatic.  But I am struggling.

To be honest, I haven't really even shared this with Chris much.  He is LOVING his job and loving being in ministry.  He is probably becoming a top customer at half the area coffee shops and he is in his element planning and talking and doing.  He is so excited to get clubs off the ground and really pouring himself into the people here.  I am finding myself a little...lost, maybe?

Part of it is just the change, but part of it is the busyness.  I have not worked outside the home in many years and I have had my children close to me all the time.  Things are different here.  The big kids have to leave the house by 6:45 to get to school on time and the little ones leave with my mom at 7:00.  I don't have to be to work until 10:30 so I have been trying to do a little work for my dad, do some housekeeping, run errands, etc.  I work from 10:30-3:30.  Chris picks up the big kids from school and my momma has been getting the little ones.  They get out at 2:40, but my school does not release until 3:30 so they just have to hang out in my momma's room until I can come get them.  We then go home and start homework and get supper and do laundry and before I know it, bedtime has come and I haven't had even a moment to just sit down and enjoy being with my kids...AND, I am tired and cranky so I'm often not very nice to them.  I know this is every working mom's dilemma, I am just new to the game!  Cooper cries before school every day and it is just completely breaking my heart.  I feel so bad abandoning him to traditional school and feel guilty for the short time I invested in home schooling him...yet, I know that is what we have to do right now and it is probably good for him because he is REALLY attached to me.

Chris has me signed up as a volunteer and is encouraging me to get started and to begin to invest in discipling our female volunteers and begin planning the Wyldlife meetings and maybe go with him to the Young Life meetings...but I am just tapped out.  I know this is why we are here.  I want to be in this ministry  and yet I am already finding myself so bogged down in just living that the ministry feels like a burden.

So, sorry for a depressing post, but this is where I am right now.  I know that some of this is just the growing pains that we experience when we start a new period of life but please pray for my attitude and that I will find the joy of ministry.   Please pray that I can work through the changes and find a love and passion for the people that we are here to serve.

We visited a church Sunday that the kids really seemed to like...pray that we will be drawn to the church family that God wants us to be a part of  and that I will make that decision unselfishly.

Please also continue to pray for the sale of our house.  We are still waiting on some of the improvements to be is frustrating not being there to push things along.  Our realtor is not going to officially list the house until the work is completed, so right now, we are just at a standstill.  This is so frustrating and I have to keep reminding myself that God is bigger than these tiny circumstances that seem insurmountable...he can send someone to that house whenever the time is right so I just need to calm down and trust His goodness, but that is hard.

Pray also for Brooks and Chris' parents as they are still there.  We talk to Brooks at least once a day and he is loving school but is really wishing he lived on campus and at those times when there are resident life activities that he isn't a part of, he starts feeling a little lonely.

Despite all the depressing, we are abundantly blessed.  The people here are amazing, I get to be close to my family and we are meeting some great kids!  We also get sweet, encouraging messages from TN friends so often and it is good to know that we have not, yet, been forgotten.  We love all of you who are praying and encouraging us.  Thank you!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Quick Update has been awhile since I posted but things have been CRAZY!!!   I still don't have a lot of time, so I am going with the short version (for me) of life right now.  My mom and dad came to TN to help us get packed up and moved.  The 26 foot moving van that we rented was not big enough and we had to rent a U-haul trailer to pull behind my car...and leave a lovely little stash of goodies in the garage for whoever wanted to come claim them.

On August 2nd, we said a heart-wrenching goodbye.  I knew it wouldn't be easy, but leaving Chris' family and Brooks behind was AWFUL, the children were devastated to say goodbye and LOTS of tears were shed.  We got a late start and didn't roll into Lincoln (our first night's stop) until about 1 am...I won't even go into detail about Chris' "short-cut" by-pass through Kansas City!  :)

We arrived in SLC on Tuesday, Aug. 4 and I promptly went the wrong way to my parent's house!  Thank goodness for GPS or I would be a hermit now!

We took a couple of days to FILL a storage unit and every nook and cranny in my parents' house!  My sisters are now making fun of the huge amount of clothing we have and we are learning to live minimally, sort of!

Chris then settled into figuring out this job of his and I began trying to get the kids registered for school.  Oh. My. Goodness!  Why didn't someone tell me how hard it was to get kids into school?  I had no idea how easy home schooling was until I tried to do something different!  Yikes!  We  finally have everyone a home!  Brooks started Union today (sob!).  Adam and Lilly will start tomorrow, Adam at Olympus High School and Lilly at Olympus Jr. High.  Cooper and Annet start next week at the school my mom teaches at.  Everyone, including momma is excited but have some butterflies about this new step!

I have a new school home, too.  I am working a little for my dad but I also got a job as a 4-6 grade aide in an Autistic Unit at one of the local Elementary schools.  I am a little nervous but it is a great way to get my foot in the door in the area and the hours are good.

We have had a couple of chances to meet some of "our kids".  We attended a camp reunion party and last night Chris and Adam went to play Ultimate Frisbee with some of the kids.  I hear that Adam is quite the Ultimate Frisbee player...I had no idea!

I know that as school starts and I start working, things are bound to get even crazier, so I wanted to just check in and let everyone know what is going on.  I hope to be able to find a window to do updates at least once a week.

For our TN friends, we miss you like crazy!

How can you pray for us?

  • Pray for Brooks as he begins classes at Union.  Pray he adjusts to his new schedule and school workload...and Jackson peeps, feel free to make sure he is doing homework and getting to class!
  • Pray for the kids as they start school.  I know they are a little nervous.  Pray especially that each of them would find at least one person to begin building a friendship with.
  • Pray for our house to get finished up and officially listed.  We have people coming to do work that are not being really quick about it...we NEED to get this house on the market!
  • Pray for the sale of our house.  Lilly has been allowed in her school under  provisional enrollment.  If we do not move into the boundaries, she will not be allowed to attend next year. I do not want her to have to make another BIG school change.  This is the one that is really stressing me...I know, God's timing, just being real.
  • Pray for Chris as he figures out what he is doing...things are a little overwhelming now and he is still trying to do fundraising as well.
  • Pray that God will lay on the hearts of people to give.  This ministry is not possible without the support of our financial partners.
Please let me know how we can be praying for you.  More stuff soon...maybe!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Two Weeks and Counting

Two weeks.  In two weeks, we will be loading up a moving van and heading west.  It still isn't real.  It should feel real because we live in a state of utter chaos right now.  Two rooms are full of packed boxes and every other room in the house is in a state of half packedness (I coined yet another term).  In an effort to "get ahead", I have packed everything I think we will not need in the next couple of weeks, but obviously, some of our stuff we do need.

After starting to pack up the kids' rooms, I realized, if there is any chance I will retain any amount of sanity, I actually have to allow  them to have a few of their toys, games, etc.  Although, for a couple of days the perfectly neat rooms were amazing!  I did however, have to break into some already packed boxes and give them back a few items so that I did  not end up in jail after reacting to the favorite saying of mothers everywhere, "I'm bored!"

Needless to say, things have been a bit crazy around here!  Chris is still working a full time job while trying to fundraise, which is also a full time job.  He works a full work day each day and then disappears upstairs to make calls until bedtime...and he has not complained once.  I know he is exhausted, but he has pressed on.

I confess, this fundraising has to end soon, or I will weigh 300 pounds!  As often as possible, we are taking people to coffee or dessert or doing dessert in our four or five times a week, I am eating/drinking about 5 million calories and I haven't exercised in two weeks.  So yes, if you see me...I am packing on the pounds.  AND, I have discovered that when you stress eat, you NEVER accidentally find yourself munching on a carrot!

Honestly, this has been just an amazing time of seeing God work.  Chris was released about a week and a half ago to begin fundraising...and we are at 64%!  That is just so amazing to me.  Knowing we had to raise our own funding was so intimidating to me and I just did not see how it was possible...but, I am telling you, we have the most amazing group of friends, family and church members.  We have been floored and humbled and left speechless by the generosity of people!  We still have a LONG way to go...but our faith has been bolstered by how people have stepped out, have made sacrifices and have believed in this ministry enough to support us.

We were blessed again last night with another answered prayer.  Adam (our 15 year old) was accepted into the high school he wanted to go to.  That is one area that I have continued to worry and pray about.  We had no idea what we would do if they denied our request to get him in.  When I heard the news, I cheered, did a little dance, praised God and ran in to tell Adam.  His response?  "Oh."  I asked him if he was excited and his response, "I guess...about the non required classes."  Welcome to 15 year old boy land!

So, for those who are coming here to see how they can pray:

If you ask Chris, he will be very spiritual.  He will ask you to pray for the kids we will be ministering to and for our volunteer leaders.  The kids will be going to camp next week, so pray for them as they travel and that they would listen as God speaks to them.  Pray that, as we hit the ground in SLC, we will be able to meet kids and that we would be able to establish relationships with the schools.  Pray for the committee and those already in the area that we would be able to blend ideas and visions and work together to reach the kids.

I am not so spiritual right now.  Please pray that we can get our house to an acceptable place to put on the market and that it will sell.  Chris is really stressed right now with work and fundraising and he just does not have time to work on home improvements.  He is having trouble getting people to call him back and it is just more stress he doesn't need.  I, being the more emotional one, am just scared to death of the what ifs...I love this house but know it needs work and just have trouble imagining someone who will love it enough to take it on.  I can't sell this house, but God can!

Pray for Chris' parents as they prepare to send us off and welcome our oldest son into their home.  Brooks is going to live with them and attend Union so that will be a HUGE change for both of them.  We are so grateful for all they have done for us over the years and it is going to be so hard to say goodbye...we are just hoping for some long visits eventually.

Pray for Brooks as he starts college on his own.  In a way, I am so excited for him...this is a big growing up stage, but I am so sad to know that we won't be experiencing it with him.  This is what we raise our kids for, but it is HARD!

Pray for our other kids as they move to a new place and have to start over meeting new friends, new schools, etc.

Well, I could list a million things because I am worrying in advance and have a million what ifs that run through my mind daily.  For now, just pray that I would keep focussed on the eternal.  My tendency is to get bogged down in the practical and forget the kids that we are going to minister to.

Finally, please just give thanks with us, because we serve a good God!  He has been so faithful.  One thing I so want to share with these kids is that He loves us not because of us but because He is LOVE!  I find myself striving to earn that love and I just can't.  Any success, any good you see in us, is just God working in us.  We are so amazed at what God has already done and cannot wait to see how He continues to work!

"Lord, you are my God;
    I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness
    you have done wonderful things,
    things planned long ago."

                                        Isaiah 25:1

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

I'm Freaking Out a Little Less Often!

I have not, once again, forgotten this little blog.  I really want to keep up with this for my own benefit so I can see how God works through this crazy time.  We have been out of town on a LONG vacation, so I have been MIA.

This year is our 20th anniversary, so Chris surprised me with a cruise to Alaska!  We headed out on June 10 for the three day drive to SLC, to leave the kids with my mom and dad.  After dropping off the kids, we caught a plane to Seattle and spent a day seeing the sights before boarding the boat on Sunday.  We  have never cruised before, so everything was a new experience.  I was a little worried that the stress of all that is going on in our life would affect our enjoyment of the trip...but I am telling you, I have never in my life, ever, been able to just forget everything and just enjoy myself like we did on that cruise...maybe too much because by Friday, Chris and I both admitted to one another that we had so gotten into the relaxation and getting away of the cruise, that we had not even prayed about  all that was going on...oops!

The cruise was really the trip of a lifetime and we had and amazing time...but we did have to come back.  We got to spend four days in SLC with my family before heading back and that was such a blessing.  In fact, one of my big prayers was answered during that time.  One of the things that has stressed me the most about all of these changes, is that our 15 year old was TOTALLY against it.  We had prayed about this, felt he would be okay, still felt God leading us to do this and just started praying for him.  While we were on the cruise, he got LOTS of time with his cousins, one of whom he just absolutely adores.  They have so much fun together and have really similar senses of humor.  She actually lives in Boise, about 5 1/2 hours from Salt Lake, but much closer than we are in TN.  He also has another cousin in SLC that he is the same age as and they have a great time together.  So, by the time we got back from the cruise, his spirits were already higher.  On the first day back, my husband had some things he needed to do for his new ministry, including taking pictures of the area that he will be working in.  So, while I was catching up on MOUNTAINS of laundry, he took my 15 year old and they went exploring.  As it turns out, they looked at all the high schools in the area and our son found one he was really interested in.  I called the school and we ended up going the next day to tour it.  It was AMAZING...people, I think I would go back to high school if I could go here.  It has so many cool classes and so many opportunities, my son was fired up!  He grabbed his phone and said he was about to text all his friends in TN and tell them....he was moving!  I took an opportunity later that day just to check on how he was really doing and he said that as soon as he had seen his cousin he adores so much, he knew everything would be okay and he was ready to move.  Y'all, I cannot even tell you what a blessing those words were.  So much stress lifted off my shoulders and I knew that our God that loves us passionately had worked a miracle in the life of my boy!  How precious to see Him working...and how glad I am that my friend advised me to document it so when things aren't going so smoothly, I can look back and be reminded.

I would like to say that I have been soaring on cloud 9 since, but that would be untrue.  Just as God's people have done through the ages, as time goes on (and, clearly not much time), we tend to forget the blessings and dwell on the tough.  As soon as we got home, the reality of what we were doing smacked us in the face again and the stress began piling up.  We are slowly packing up the house and trying to get things out of the way so we can start getting it ready to put on the market.  A realtor has come by to look at it and was very gracious in his recommendations of what we should fix so we are trying to get done what we can.  The biggest stress there is just our time frame.  We are planning on packing up the moving van on Aug. 1 and heading out Aug. 2...that is not a lot of time to pack up a house we have been in for 11 years with 5 kids!  OY at all the STUFF!  I am trying to be ruthless as I go through the process and purge, purge, purge...some of it is easy, but I also realize that I may be slightly over sentimental...I saved every piece of paper my firstborn touched for awhile...I have BOXES of art projects and notes and papers...I know I need to purge, but I feel so guilty throwing them out, especially now that those tiny little hands are grown up hands that we are about to leave behind (sniff).

Just before getting this opportunity, I was reading Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker (by the way, you should totally read this book...if you are willing to have your world rocked).  She was talking about making a radical life change and how scary it was.  She talked about her husband leaving his job and going 12 days without any idea of how they were going to survive.  So, as we began this process, I kept remembering that story and how, on the twelfth day, they got a call, out of the blue, from a total stranger that began answering some of the questions.  So, each day, as I was having my panic attack, I would cling to that story and remember, just 12 days...we can survive, just like the Hatmaker's did...for 12 days.  Well, it has been over a month and, while some things have become clear, we still have a lot more trusting to do than answers.  We know where two out of our 5 will be going to school (we hope, if the high school will give permission for our son to attend), but I am not sure whether I will be getting a job immediately or home schooling the littles for one more year.  We still have not been cleared to begin fundraising, so we have no support yet, we have a house we have to sell and no way of buying or renting there until we do...and the questions continue.

I lean towards panicking on a daily basis, but a few days ago, in my quiet time, I read a very familiar story.  It is from 1 Kings 17 and it is about Elijah and the Widow at Zarephath.  It is one of those favorite childhood stories that used to come around about once a year in the children's curriculum and I have heard a million times.  One of those that you start to read and then just kind of skim over because, please...I know this one already!  But this time, it really struck me, this story.  So, the CliffsNotes version is this...there hadn't been any rain for a long time and the brook that Elijah was using for water dried up so the Lord directed him to go into Zarephath and find this widow who was going to supply him with food.  So, being a good prophet, he went and sure enough, he saw this widow out gathering sticks and asked her to bring him some water and a piece of bread.  The widow replies that she has no bread and is, in fact, on her way to use her very last bit of oil and flour to make a final meal for herself and her son and then they will die...because the food is gone.  So Elijah, being the sensitive guy that he is, tells her go ahead and go home like she planned but before she makes that last meal for her son and herself, make him a little bread first because the Lord has told him that the flour will not be used up and the oil won't run dry until it rains again.

Y'all, she did it!  I mean, I like to think of myself as super christian, but I'm gonna be honest, as a momma, I think I would have looked at that man and said, "You have got to be kidding, you have some nerve asking me to give you the very last food I have for my son...You are crazy!"  But she did it.  She trusted  and believed that God would take care of her and do exactly what He said He would do.  She didn't ask for a guarantee.  She didn't ask for proof.  She put her life...and the life of her son, on the line because she trusted God's word!  She must have been so scared.  I wonder, as she was going through the process of making that bread, was she talking to herself, was she telling herself she was crazy, were tears running down her face because she was terrified that her trust was misplaced?  Did her son know that she was possibly sacrificing his last meal?  Did she balk at the last moment and wonder if she should just sneak the bread to her little boy?  She must have been so full of worry and fear, but she was obedient, and, of course, He was faithful!  I really wish there was a "where are they now" update on that story...I would love to know what happened to that widow and that you boy after the rain came.  I wonder, did she have a faith that was just unstoppable, or did she eventually forget?  I cannot imagine ever forgetting something like that, and yet I know that is my see God work in amazing ways and then when the going gets tough, to feel defeated all over again.  But for now, every time I feel that wave of discouragement, that panic trying to overwhelm me again, I remember that widow...I remember her actions, she didn't just SAY she believed, she radically acted on that belief and I want to do the same.

So, that is where we are today.  Today, there will be more packing, more purging, and probably more crying.  I will have moments of victory where I pat myself on the back because I am making so much progress and moments of utter defeat as I look at all that is left to do.  I will feel guilty for neglecting my kids and will roll my eyes when Chris gets home from work just as stressed out as me.  But through it all, I will know that every single moment of stress and fear and struggle is worth it, because He is refining me and even though I may not be able to see the end right now, He does and He is faithful and loves us with a ridiculous, unfathomable love that it is a privilege to get to share!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

And Then She Freaked Out Some More

So it has been a week since I poured out all my fears here.  On a good note, I'm not crying every hour of the day anymore.  On a bad note...not a lot of answers have appeared yet.

The reality of our situation has become we have begun to tell people and prepare for a new adventure.  I have cried with several good friends and have given official notice to the tutorial that I will not be coming back.  I have talked to a couple of parents who said that their children were going to be devastated that Mrs. Star would not be their Science teacher next year.  Admittedly, that makes me feel good...I hope they knew I loved them and I hope they loved learning about God's world.  They will also all breathe a HUGE sigh of relief when they realize that Mrs. Star not being there probably means no Science Fair project.  I will try not to get my feelings hurt when that revelation hits and the celebration begins!  :)

I have begun going through one room at a time and trying to purge "stuff" that I don't want to have to move.  I thought that would be easy and freeing but it is TOUGH.  Every room I start working in is a reminder of how unsettled we are right now.  Every decision is made more difficult because we just do not know much of anything and I do not operate well like that.

I guess the hardest part of trusting God is trusting God.  :)  I know that sounds ridiculous, but even though I know, in my head, that these things are really small issues for Him, in the reality of day to day life, they feel insurmountable.  I am glad no one is really reading this anymore because I have to confess to being a really shallow baby right now.  I HATE not knowing.  I HATE not knowing when we will move.  I HATE not knowing where my kids will go to school.  I HATE not knowing where I will be living or working or going to church.

Every day is another question and another frustration.  Should I sell my home school books?  I don't know.  What if I sell them and then we do not raise the money  in time to start in August?  What if I don't sell them and we do and then I am forced to pack and move a TON of books we won't be using. What if I pack up each room and then we don't move as planned?  Do I have to live in a chaotic half moved zone for 6 months?  What if I don't pack and we do move?

So these are some of the things going through my mind constantly and then yesterday, I just hit a wall.  You see my sister texted to tell me that there were teaching positions open in her school and I could probably get a job there and just work toward getting re-certified while I worked.  This seemed like a great option to me.  She works at a charter school where kids get in on a lottery basis and teachers in the school get priority.  If I could get on there, my kids would have a good chance getting in.  That means that no matter where we live, they can stay in that school and we would not have to worry about putting them in one district temporarily and then moving them again.  I was so excited!  I thought maybe this was a first answered prayer, a way to settle my mind that things were going to be okay.  I excitedly went to tell my husband...he wasn't thrilled at all.  He immediately responded that that school wasn't in our target area of ministry and we needed to try to keep things within the boundaries of our ministry area.  I was crushed!

I know this is very small and petty...but this is my journal right now and it is where I am.  You see, a few days ago, I had another idea about a job.  I love the idea of only buying fair trade items and supporting the marginalized in our purchases instead of the big box companies.  So, I saw an opportunity to work for a direct sales company that gives jobs to women in developing countries.  I loved that idea.  I could feel like I was making a difference, maybe make some friends and help support our family.  I mentioned the idea to Chris...and he immediately responded that I could not do that because it would take me away from the ministry too much.

Please understand, I love this ministry and I am excited.  But...they aren't giving ME a job...they are giving it to my husband.  He is so excited because he is filled with ideas and visions and anticipation. He knows what he is going to be doing.  I, on the other hand, am excited about the opportunity...but I don't have a role...I am trying to figure out where I fit in and what my place is and it feels like every time I turn around, another question arises but never an answer.  I kind of feel like I am smothering.  Each time I feel like I can grasp a little air, get a little relief, I am pushed back under again to wait and wonder.  To be really honest, I am a little resentful.  For the first time in 20 years, I will live close to my family and I feel like I won't even be able to see them unless I have a signed note from the ministry.  I am resentful because I feel like I have lost my choice in everything.  I cannot choose where I live, I cannot choose where my kids go to school, I cannot choose where I get a job...I am so disempowered...and that makes me mad...but that is where I should be, that place where I am utterly powerless so that God has all the power.  That place where, whatever happens, I will know not I but Him?

So that is where I am right now.  I look forward to coming back here, at some point and shaking my head and laughing at my lack of faith.  I look forward to writing down how God swept in and took care of all the details that I am panicking about.  I know that my failures right now will be God's victories in the future.  For now, I am just crying a lot and trying to hang on...but I am tired, so if anyone does stumble across this page...please say a little prayer for me.  Pray that I will just keep my eyes on the One who sustains, pray I would submit gracefully to the authority of my husband and that I would be willing to go through this refining process.  It isn't comfortable or fun, but I know that, if I come out of it reflecting the One who refines, it will be worth it!

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."  Matthew 11:28-30

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Just For Me

It has been 2 years since I have written a thing on this blog...and that is okay. I have missed writing and feel like I have missed documenting little stories and snippets of life around here, but life has gotten busy and inspiration has been sparse. Several times, I have told myself I would like to get back into blogging, but at midnight, when I am just finishing up chores from the day and I am choosing between blogging and sleeping...sleeping ALWAYS wins out!

 I know that there is probably no one left reading this blog anymore...and that is okay, because this one is just for me, a journal of sorts, a way to remember, at some time in the future where I was today and all that God has done since. You see, yesterday, our life changed A LOT! Yesterday, my husband accepted a job across the country.

 There are so many exciting things about this, and so many things that scare me to death! God has been working on us for several years. He began refining us and challenging us and showing us what the Christian faith is really about. We made changes, some of them documented here. We changed our priorities, we started volunteering, we gave more sacrificially, we ADOPTED!!! But, two years ago, we felt God calling us to the Northwest. We knew the need was huge there and felt God leading us to become part of His work. We pursued many outlets, we prayed, we talked to many people, we made a vision trip...but doors kept closing. We finally decided that, while we felt God's call was real, maybe the timing wasn't right. So, we continued to pray but stopped pursuing for awhile. And then, this opportunity presented itself. The timing seemed perfect and the process began. It was long and rigorous and I really do not feel the need to document it all except to say that it involved a lot of prayer and soul searching and counseling from people smarter than us! :) We knew our oldest (who just graduated high school, praise God) would not go with us to the Northwest...but our other children were on board. My family is out there and the thought of living close to that set of grandparents and cousins was pretty exciting! So, the waiting and the praying and the soul searching has been going on a long time, and last week, we got the husband was offered this ministry opportunity! He is so perfect for this job and I know he will LOVE it! I am so excited to see him step into this job and flourish and I am so excited to see how the Lord uses him.

 However, the excitement is mixed with utter and complete fear right now, and THAT is the reason for posting. A good friend called yesterday to see how we were doing...I may or may not have cried like a baby talking to her. I laid out many of my fears and she advised me to write them down so that over time, as we see how God takes care of every single one, I can look back and see how faithful He is and remember the stories to tell my children and grandchildren. Since I'm not really a good journaler (pretty sure I just coined a new term), my blog seemed like the place to do it! So, why am I freaking out right now when I should be filled with excitement?

 *This is a self-funded position. We are responsible for raising at least $60,000 dollars a year from donors who have a passion for our ministry.

 *When it first started looking like this would happen, we thought we would have about 4 months to try to raise support. Due to some delays, etc. in the hiring process, we only have 6 weeks. AAAAAAAGH!

 *We don't really know rich people, so $60,000/year...AAAAAAGH!

 *I checked the real estate sites...because I enjoy giving myself a nervous breakdown. The median home price where we live is $90,000, the median home price where we are relocating is $226,000...and my husband is taking a HUGE paycut! I'm pretty sure, we are going to have to live in tents!

 *Our house...oh, people our house. We bought our house because we loved it. We loved the style, we loved the property, we loved the wood floors. But our house has been...high maintenance. We have replaced the roof 1 1/2 times and we now need to replace the other half again along with the sunroof...estimate $5,000. We have replaced every pipe in the house inside and out, usually due to leaks meaning patches in ceilings, warped floors, etc. We have replaced the hot water heater...and do not even get me started on that nightmare and our water source heat pump and air conditioning issues would make a grown man cry! Anyway, over the years, as we have saved for home improvements, the money has always ended up going to fix the immediate crisis. As a result, not only do we need to replace the roof, we need to replace all the windows and the siding on the house. The liner on our pool has several holes in it that we have just been working around, but it really needs to be replaced. We also need to fix the upstairs bathroom that I decided to "update" 10 years ago and it became so much of a nightmare that it still sits unfinished with two different wall papers showing and chunks of missing sheetrock where I tried to remove said wallpaper. Just getting our house into sellable condition would probably cost close to $20,000 (or more)...and the market here is not good. There are 2 other houses on our street that have been for sale for months.

 *Where will our children go to school? Because of the cost of living increase and my husband's salary decrease, I will have to go to work full time. That means I will no longer be able to home school and we will need to put our children into public school. However, since our house will probably not have sold by the time we go, we will probably be living with my parents for awhile. The ministry is asking us to live in a different area. That means two different school systems. I really do not want to put our kids in one school and then have to pull them out and put them in another, this is going to be hard enough without doing that to them.

 *Speaking of school, we are moving to an area that is not very accepting of christianity. It is very heavy in one religion and it is really hard to make friends, get a job, etc. if you are not part of "that" church. I am really scared for my kids. I so want them to thrive, have friends, etc.

 *Our 15 year old was totally on board with our move...until he wasn't. He started a traditional school this year and has LOVED it! He joined the baseball team and has made dear friends. Now, we are taking that from him, making him leave the friend group he has always hungered for and are putting him into the situation of having to start over only in a more hostile situation. Mommy guilt, anyone? 

*Our oldest son is starting college this in heaven's name are we going to pay for that now. 

*We are leaving our oldest son here...2,000 miles away from us. My Mommy heart is breaking a little bit.

 *How am I going to find a job? Our start date is August 1, I would like to find a job in the school system, but August is maybe not the best time to try to find one there.

 *We accepted the job yesterday. We leave for vacation in 2 weeks and will be gone for 2 1/2 weeks. When we return, we will have less than a month to pack the house, get it ready to sell, get it on the market and get to our new is that even possible?

 *We will not be here to look after the house or keep it up for potential buyers.

 *We are leaving my husband's family here. They have been such a blessing for the 20 years of our marriage. We are so excited to start this new adventure, but it is HARD to leave them! They are sad that the grandkids are going to be so far away and we will not be here to help them as they get older. 

Every few minutes, I think of something else to freak out about, so I am sure there is more...maybe I will just continue to add to this list. I know this sounds like whining, but I really just want a place to document how I am feeling...because I serve a BIG God. He is not intimidated by these things and He is not freaking out saying..."Oh, I hadn't thought about that one!" In my mind, I know that He has a plan and I know it is good. It is probably not what I expect, but I know it will bring Him glory and I want to remember that! I want to remember where I am right now so that when God shows out...I can see it and recognize it and cling to it in those moments when I just cannot even breathe.

 For now, I am claiming Psalm 55:22, "Cast your cars on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous by shaken."

Friday, January 25, 2013

Back to Blogging???

Yep, believe it or not, we are still alive here in the Tiger Den!

There is no way to get caught up on our lives since the last time I I'll just say, life is crazier than ever and we have just added to our family through adoption.

Please welcome our little Ugandan Princess!

This was her first experience with a "wishing well" or fountain.  She had a great time playing in the water throwing in pennies.

Life over the past few months has been...full, unexplainable, wonderful, difficult...

Maybe, eventually, I will have extended time to get on here and write more, catch up a little.  Right now, homeschooling five children grades 10 through pre k and adjusting to another little one around is taking up the vast majority of my time.  Most days, I can't even remember which child I am speaking to and go through the "roll call" until I hit the right one!  Besides homeschooling, we  have church, two boys playing church ball, dance, tutorial, etc.  I had fallen out of the habit of Home Sanctuary, but after being home for a couple of weeks before Christmas, I realized I needed HELP!  I am trying like crazy to not miss a day...ANY order in our home is a God send right now.  However, I did find this week that in my quest to not miss a day of making my Sanctuary task, I became quite grumpy with all the "interruptions" so, I am trying to cut myself and my family a little slack and realize that some days, the best way to make my  home a sanctuary is by NOT completing the task and giving myself to my family instead.

Anyway, I am looking forward to visiting and reacquainting myself to my fellow Company girls this weekend and hope to get back into the habit of at least blogging once a is the only hope for my children to ever have a "book of memories" cause scrapbooks or baby books are just out of the question right now!

Blessings to all and don't forget to check out Home Sanctuary for more Coffee Talk.