Find the Joy — Week 1

So about a week ago I shared my goal for this year. In 2014 I want to Find the Joy.
I have prayed each morning for God to help me Find the Joy in each day. And I’ve had a week…with some great days and some not so great days. It’s been a tough week.
It started with me getting sick. I mean sick….with influenza. Fever, cough, achy feeling yucky. And of course it was right after my dearest husband had to go back to work after break. So last Thursday I drug myself out of bed…barely and tried to make some semblance of the day. I felt like I’d been hit by a truck, backed over and then hit again. As I’m laying in the recliner with half an eye on the baby and the big boys watching TV (I totally admit to TV time when mom is sick)…I remember my goal…Find the Joy. Seriously? What joy is there in being sick? In feeling so exhausted and rotten that you’re not sure how you’re going to make it? This was going to be way harder than I thought.
But then lunch happened.
We’d joined my brother’s family for supper the night before and my sister in law sent home leftovers! They might have been hotdogs and brats, but they were easy to heat up…throw a piece of fruit and some carrots and we’ve got a meal with minimal effort. That was my joy. Easy lunch…blessed by leftovers. For me that day, it was something simple, something I would have overlooked before. My joy for day 1 was hotdogs.
Friday brought a broken fever and a bit more energy (which means I totally over did it that morning). Thankfully my in-laws were willing to pick up the big boys and watch them in the afternoon for me so I could get some rest. And my afternoon was filled with things like this…

And so it goes. I’ve been purposefully finding my joy each day. Little things and big things (like having a warm home on very very cold nights).

And then my morning started this morning at 5am…with my son next to my bed…”Mommy, I don’t feel good” New sheets, a drink and emergency barf bowl just in case, along with a 3 year old brother who woke up in the process and said sickie 5 year old all cuddled in bed together. As I snuggled with them…exhausted before the day even started…I sighed heavy…Find the Joy.

And I did. Fitful sleep for another hour or so. While he dozed on the other side of the bed his hand reached….searched under the blankets for mine. I lay there with his palm resting in mine and I found Joy knowing mine was the hand he was looking for. Even in his early morning fever stupor he searched me out. And I thanked God for the blessings cuddled around me and sleeping in the next room. The blessing of children and family.

And I rested.

Moving 101 — We're here…now what?

It’s so exciting to pull in to the drive of your new home! Call me crazy, but one of the things I love about moving to a new place is planning where my things will go. And this last time, unfortunately a lot of them went to storage as we downsized our living space considerably.
So imagine with me…there you are with your family, your big truck full of stuff and a few friends/family/folks on the other end ready to help you unpack that big truck. And let’s face it…you’re really kind of exhausted. At least I always am. I’ve been busy packing up our home, cleaning the old one, coordinating loading the moving truck, driving to the new place (which isn’t exactly a short trip) and entertaining small children along the way. We pull in, the kids jump out and usually run through the new house to be the first to stake claim and explore new territory. And you have to unload the truck and make sense of all those pretty boxes you labeled before you left. Now what?
If we have help unloading the truck, I try to walk through and “label” each room, at least verbally. So that when I say “office” everyone knows which room I’m talking about. Then comes the unpacking of the truck. Boxes are carried out and remember that master list you had? The one you created at the very beginning? That looks a little like this?
Yep. That’s it. I’ve been pregnant for several of our moves and my husband isn’t fond of me carrying heavy boxes while carrying a baby (or ever really). So I direct. As the bins and boxes come off the truck I can say “purple circle…goes to the kitchen” or “red triangle…garage”. Oh my goodness, it makes the unloading so much easier. Everyone knows where the boxes go, I don’t end up with kitchen stuff in the bedrooms and I don’t have a huge mess to sort out later when all my help is gone. I’m not terribly picky about where in the room the boxes go, so I still have a pile of bins in the room, but I know all of those bins belong there and will be unpacked mostly in that room. So.much.easier.
There are some bins that will end up getting moved around, but in the initial stages all bins of the same color come to the same spot. For example, I know that not all of my homeschooling bins will be unpacked or put on my homeschooling shelf in my kitchen (at least that’s where it is now). But initially all of my orange circle boxes get put in my kitchen where my current homeschooling stuff will be used. Because I have my itemized index card, I can easily tell which orange circle boxes I need to open and unpack and which ones I can send to the basement for storage until next year.
And oh! What if we can’t find something? I can go to my itemized index cards, go to the category and find which number will have my item. A few weeks ago I was looking for our heating pad. I knew that I had packed it in the bathroom boxes. When we moved in we had only unpacked the essentials (because that’s all we have room for). I went to my handy dandy itemized cards. Found my heating pad listed in yellow circle #5. My husband located the box and the heating pad. We erased the heating pad off the list and put the bin back in the garage.
As I’ve said, we’ve moved to a much smaller house this time and a lot of our things are in storage in the basement or in bins yet in the garage so this system has proved more than useful again. I’ve been able to locate the Christmas lights or fabric paints without having to tear apart boxes looking for one item. So much easier!
I should also note two things.

  • Besides finding toilet paper the first room I usually unpack is the kitchen. I feel like I can think when my kitchen is unpacked. I usually pack our clothes and supplies for about 4 days in suitcases before we move so I don’t have to rush to unpack clothes that first night.
  • I try to hang one or two things on the wall the first day in our new home. I have a couple of pictures and a shelf that are my first things on the wall. They’re the last things I take down when leaving and the first things I put up when we get there. It just helps a big empty house full of boxes feel more “homey”.

So that’s it. That’s how I’ve organized our family (now of 7, including a baby) to move 12 times. Do you have any tips or tricks you’ve used when you’ve moved?

Moving 101– Getting started

Our family has moved. A lot. I mean, a lot. We have moved 12 times in the 12 years we’ve been married. 3 of those were because I was working as a traveling nurse, but still…that’s a bunch.
It takes a lot to organize, pack, move and then unpack a family. I’ve learned some tips and tricks to make the process go smoother for our family with the least amount of frustration for all involved. I want to share a few things with you to make the process easier if you’re facing a move in the near future.
The first thing I do before we move is go through every room of the house. I have three bags or boxes. One for donating, one for throwing and one for selling. I only have one rule…once it goes in a bag/box it doesn’t come out. If I decide to give it away, it stays in that box. No taking it out just because “I think I might need it someday”.
Once the donate box is full, it goes to the car. I don’t want it to accidentally get packed and I don’t want to move it just because we never made it to drop off. Some larger cities will actually come pick up your items for you. It’s important to make sure you call far enough in advance to schedule the pick up well before your moving date. I like to keep the box in the car so that when we are out and about we already have it in the car to drop off and there’s no “Oh nuts! We should have grabbed that box for Goodwill”.
I try to sell the other items as quickly as possible. I will usually list them in a local Facebook group or sometimes Craiglist. I don’t want to have to mess with shipping stuff out while I’m trying to pack them away.
The trash box/bag goes…well…in the trash. Sometimes it’s helpful to schedule an extra dumpster if needed, but I’m usually sorting items far enough out that I spread our trash out over a couple of weeks and we don’t need one. I make a shred pile for papers that might have important information on them. Shredding is a great job for the boys to do while I get a few things packed.
I know some families who sort, throw, sell and pack all in one fell swoop. I’ve tried it and pretty soon I just get overwhelmed. If I sort first, I know that when I walk in to that room to pack, everything that’s in there goes in boxes to go with us. I try to pack up a room soon after I’ve sorted so that junk doesn’t find it’s way back in there. Another benefit to sorting first is that if you’re lucky enough to have packing help you can send them in there with a stack of boxes, a tape gun, labels and they can have at it. They won’t be holding up a broken picture frame or toy saying “do you want to take this?”.
So that’s how I get started. It always feel good to get a room done and know that it’s ready to be put in a box or bin. I’ll be back tomorrow to talk about how I stay organized when I’m packing.

Song for a 5th child

As I sit here staring out of my dirty windows across the dusty sills I rock my long awaited 5th son. I could lay him down and get something done while the older boys are out helping dad. I could dust frantically ahead of the coming wind, that will undo it all. I could bake bread or fold laundry, but instead I sit rocking. Holding my son and sneaking kisses on his head velvet soft. After all, babies don’t keep.
Song for a Fifth Child
by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton
Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.
Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.


Us vs Them vs In-between

I’ve been working on this post for a while now in my brain. I want to talk about the mommy wars that are happening around us. Why is there this constant battle between stay at home moms, work out of the home moms and anyone who falls in between those two roles? It drives me batty.
I have worked outside of the home and I have recently become a stay at home mom. There are things I liked about both. I can tell you that I am happier now being at home than I ever thought I would be but….there are days when I still miss working in the hospital as a nurse in L&D. But I have learned, for everything there is a season and now is not the season of my life where I need to be outside the home.
When my oldest son was born, I was a full time nursing student. I had him right before Thanksgiving break and went back to school the following Monday, I was fortunate enough that my mom could watch him and would bring him to the school in between classes so that I could feed him. When I graduated he was 6 months old and I went to work full time night shift right after I passed my boards. It wasn’t easy, but I enjoyed my job. It was perhaps made a bit easier for a time because he was watched by family members (I realize not everyone has this luxury), but when I had to put him in childcare…I felt torn. I hated leaving him crying in a room full of children. I hated tearing myself away, seeing pictures of him taken with a sadness in his eyes and worrying about what he was hearing from his providers. I walked in one day shortly after I dropped him off because I was called off due to low census. They weren’t expecting me…and I heard his teacher yelling at another little boy in the hallway. She was yelling at him because he couldn’t pull his overalls down fast enough and had an accident. I walked passed him with tears streaming down his face, wishing I could hold him in my arms and tell him it wasn’t his fault. I picked up my son and never took him back.

My oldest son and I shortly after I graduated nursing school.

I have worked full time outside of the home for the last 10 years in one form or another until we moved this past summer. I never felt defensive about my decision, I never felt like I had to make others moms feel bad because they chose to stay home or work or whatever. The truth is, I envied moms who had the opportunity to stay home. I didn’t like leaving a feverish child in the arms of someone else (even if it was Daddy or Grandma).
When we lived in Pueblo and I was teaching nursing full time I started to feel convicted about working out of the home and being away from my children so much. Kerry was miserable, although he was (and is) a great dad, he got depressed about being home full time. He wanted to provide for his family. And I wanted to be home with my children. I remember driving to clinical rotations at 5:00 am crying and praying to God to find a way for him to work and me to be home. We weren’t financially in a place for that to happen and we felt hopeless. But God (my favorite two word ever), slowly showed us we could do it and I began to cut back at work and Kerry began to work outside out home. We worked hard to pay off a lot of debt in that time as well. God has always provided for our family. And in spring of this last year I quit my full time teaching job. It was freeing! Kerry didn’t have a job and didn’t have any prospects. But I was going to stay home. God has provided employment for him that provides for our family and I still teach part time online. It was an adjustment to be sure. It has been hard for me to make new connections in a new town without working outside the home. The first few weeks we were here I cried because I felt so lonely. There are days I still do. But the truth is, I am delighted to be here. I feel “right” for the first time in years. I keep my nursing license current because one day, I might decide to go back to the hospital…I do miss witnessing mothers bring their babies into the world. For now though, this…right here…right now is where I’m supposed to be and I’m thrilled.
This picture was taken in spring of 2012. The week I wrote my resignation letter.

Here’s my beef though…
What is with all the fighting? I read several blogs and participate in several online forums and there seems to be this constant war between Stay at home moms (SAHM) and work out of the home moms (WOHM). Someone on a blog will post something about her conviction to stay at home and she gets blasted for “wasting her talent” or being “old fashioned” or “judging” others. A WOHM will post a question asking about how to choose a childcare provider or about an issue with childcare and she gets blasted for not “being obedient” to God or ignoring the mandate to “love her children and her husband”. And it gets nasty. Words are not being spoken in love or kindness, instead they belittle and hurt and wound.
Both sides feel like they have Biblical support for their beliefs. SAHM point to Titus 2: 3-5 as the Biblical mandate to stay at home.

Titus 2: 3-5

3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

WOHM point to Proverbs 31 to make their case.

Proverbs 31:16

She considers a field and buys it;
From her earnings she plants a vineyard.

Proverbs 31: 24

She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies belts to the tradesmen.

Proverbs 31:27

She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.

Back and forth the arrows fly between camps. The truth is this…we all want the best for our children. We all love them. We all do what we can and what we know to give them what we think they need. And…we’re not all at the same place in our walk, God is working differently in all of us. Sometimes we can’t see a way out of our current financial, work or life situation. Sometimes our choices (past and present) make it necessary to work. Sometimes we think we’re better people because we work or because we stay home. Sometimes we’re right and sometimes we’re wrong.

What I hope, is that every parent will seriously consider what is best for their family and put thought into why they’re choosing what they are for their children and the results of what those choices are. I wouldn’t want either “side” to just do something because it’s what someone else tells them to do. It has to be a decision made, ideally because of a God given conviction and leading from the Holy Spirit for what is best for their family, not mine, not yours but their family.

One thing I’ve learned is that making others feel lousy for their choices doesn’t change their mind. It makes them dig in their heels and fight for their position…right or wrong. I can tell you it took me years to get to the point where I could quit my job. I praise God for women in my life who showed me that I could be just as valuable at home as I could in the workplace. I’m a huge positive reinforcement person, I love to hear “job well done” I worked hard to please those around me and to be the best at what I did. I can tell you that when you stay at home…”job well done” isn’t uttered often by the little children gathered at your feet. My husband had to learn why it was important to hear it from him and I had to learn that my rewards will come later.

The women who God used to guide me and show me where He wanted me didn’t tell me I was wrong, they didn’t hit me over the head with scripture or even come out and say it most times. They lived it. They lead by example, they shared advice with me and encouraged me when I was upset.

I drives me bonkers that there are even lines drawn in the sand. That moms feel like they have to attack each other. It’s hard enough worrying about your children and their well being. It’s hard enough questioning your own decisions about what food you’re feeding them, books their reading and friends they’re with, without having others question you too.

Here’s the deal…Do I think the best place for me to be is at home? Absolutely. Do I think children are better served when moms are there to take care of them, teach them and guide them? Yep. But am I going to berate a mother who works outside the home and sends her children to childcare? No. When she posts a question asking about childcare or balancing work and family, I will respond with what I would do or encourage her…because I’ve been there. My job is not to be the Holy Spirit and convict, my job is to speak words with love, show with my actions and let God do the convicting and convincing. I can be a resource, a sounding board, provide suggestions and tell other moms how we did it (it did take some sacrifices) but I will not, I refuse, to participate in the mommy war.

Proverbs 31: 26

She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

Some days aren't perfect, but the blessing of being home is worth it.

Did you know? 2.0

Did you know that…
boys make a bathroom really dirty in a very short amount of time?
Legos can be used effectively as booby traps for robbers (and parents) when spread strategically in the doorway and the hallway? So can Hotwheels, army men and K’nex.
Never in a million years would I have imagined that I would be where I am right now.
When I was growing up I thought I would have 4 children…3 girls and 1 boy? (I still thought I could order them back in the day). I am DELIGHTED with the 4 (#5 pending) boys I have!
When Kerry and I got married (at 19) we wanted 6-8 children. I still remember Pastor Mark sitting across from us looking a bit shocked when we told him that during pre-marital counseling. We would take more than that now and pray God blesses us as He sees fit.
I would much rather stay up late at night and sleep later in the mornings?
I would much rather freeze at a football game than watch an entire basketball game indoors?
I never ever tire at the miracle of birth. I love seeing babies being born, helping mommies give birth and that new baby smell. It is way amazing, every.single.time. I’ll never forget the first baby I saw born, I knew that moment that I had found my “place” in nursing. I miss it terribly, but know that I’m not in that season of life right now. Someday I will go back to helping mamas have babies and witnessing the miracle every day. For now, I’m going to have my babies and marvel at the amazing body God gave me and revel in the blessing of being home with them.
I miss singing in a choir. I miss 4 part harmony.
I worry sometimes that I’m not doing a good enough job building character in my children. That someday they’ll grow up and people will ask “where were their parents?!?”
My children teach me something new everyday. That their personalities are very different from mine (thank goodness!) and they push me to think about things from a different perspective.
I admire people who can quilt, can vegetables, play piano, garden and in general do all the things I wish I could do well.
Kerry painted my parent’s barn to earn enough money to buy my engagement ring.
When I type my blog I’m always secretly afraid someone is going to read it and edit it for grammar and proper punctuation. Seriously, I am. I halfway expect someone to send me a copy of my blog with red marks on it.
I don’t tell those I love, that I love them enough, I don’t say “thank you” enough to those who have made a difference in my life.
Teaching nursing students reminds me of drama performances in highschool. It’s like standing up in front of a bunch of judges and they tell you (on their anonymous evals each semester) exactly what they thought of your performance. I loved drama, the judging not so much.
I am happier than I ever thought I would be staying home with my children. There are things I miss about not working in the hospital, but I know that those things will wait. My children will not.
Sometimes I have a hard time thinking about something non-controversial to write about on my blog so I come up with “did you know…” lists.

Life with boys

After finding out a few weeks ago we were expecting boy #5, we’ve heard lots of “really?!? Another boy?” or “Oh man, do you wish it was a girl?”. The truth is nope I don’t. I would love to have a girl someday, but after two losses in the last 12 months, I am delighted with a healthy baby and Lord willing I will be able to hold him in my arms in spring. I couldn’t be happier with another boy.
Life with boys…It’s an adventure. This past week especially. Here are some things I’ve learned about being the only girl in a house full of boys.

1. Teach them to clean bathrooms early. Once they start potty training, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you will need to clean the bathroom on a fairly frequent basis. At the very least the toilet will need a good wipe down and most likely the floor around it too. So…since I don’t use the facilities standing up I’ve taught the boys how to clean the bathroom. I haven’t cleaned a toilet in the boy’s bathroom for a couple of years. In fact, as part of our life skills day each week, our boys clean their bathroom and at least one other bathroom in our house…and most of the time they do a stand up job (Hehehe). Oh yeah…don’t put the good bathroom rugs in the boy’s bathroom either.
2. Get used to body humor. I don’t think it really matters how much you try to avoid this, but at some point with boys farts, burps and arm toots become really funny. I would, however, recommend limiting it to places other than the dinner table, public gatherings and church.
3. Save money for co-pays. We have learned to just budget for a co-pay each month. With 4 boys, we’ve spent our share of time in urgent care, the orthopedic office and the pediatricians office. By the way…did you know that they don’t put casts on in the peds office any more? They send you to the ortho office…it’s all just a scam if you ask me, but I can’t do anything about it. In the 10 years we’ve had our boys…we’ve had 4 broken arms (two broken arms on two different boys) and a broken nose. I’m pretty sure that the count will only go up from there.
4. It pays to have some dermabond (think super glue for skin) around. If we ran to Urgent care for every thing that needed to be pulled together we’d be very poor. Otto seems to be our “laceration/open wound” kid. We have had to take him for staples a time or two, but for most things the dermabond works just fine. I even used it on myself this last week when I had a run in with the camera. Actually, I was taking the picture and my son had a run in with the camera giving me a gem of a cut and a black eye.
5. I might also suggest being a nurse or at least taking a couple first aid classes. Again…cost savings here is totally worth it. Parenting in general isn’t for sissies and parenting boys makes it doubly true. Being a nurse helps me decide if it’s really something that needs to be seen or just a “rub dirt in it and walk it off” kind of thing.
6. Buy livestock. Seriously. We have purchased a whole cow the last 3 years. We have had just a little left at the end of each year. I can’t imagine what it will be like when these guys get to be teenagers. We already have 2 deep freezers and keep them fairly full. I’m thinking that a future in cattle farming may not be a bad investment…except we’d eat all the profits. Oh yeah…consider purchasing chickens (we go through 5 dozen eggs a month easily), goats (for milk…I hear they’re much easier to milk) and possibly 10 acres for a garden. I so wish our new community allowed you to at least have hens in town…and maybe a dairy cow.
7. Don’t buy expensive jeans or shoes. They wear them out so fast that it doesn’t matter if you spend $50 or $10 on jeans. Crawling around on hands and knees causes the same wear and tear. I promise.
8. Boys are physical. They play and fight and work physically. Everything they do is physical. The throw punches at the same time they’re hugging each other. They jump while they’re counting, folding laundry or eating dinner.
9. They are loving and tender-hearted. Our boys care about each other and other people. They write each other notes, make gifts and generally watch out for one another. Their feelings get hurt, they need reassurance that they’re growing up to be men and they need to know that you’re proud of them. Even though they’re busy…they need hugs and kisses regularly.
10. You will do lot of laundry. I mean lots. It will be muddy, dusty and sometimes slimy. I would suggest making sure you check pockets before you put them in the washer, otherwise you’ll end up with a basin full of rocks, sticks, coins, markers and possibly a small creature that didn’t survive the spin cycle.
11. I wouldn’t trade having boys for anything. We get a lot of comments about having all boys and people are always so astounded when I tell them I would take 10 more even if they’re all boys. I delight in our boys. I delight in their activity, in their energy and in their “boyness”. My boys bring me so much joy. They may be busy and active, but they don’t have me running crazy and they’re not a “disaster” or “trouble” like so many fear. My boys rock.
If I’m ever blessed with a girl…I’d delight in her as well, but it’s not like I’m disappointed that I don’t have a girl yet. If God gives me boys for the rest of my life…I’d be thrilled. I figure if I have all boys that I will get my “daughters” when they get married.
Every child is a gift from God, boy or girl. They each have their own unique personality and I really believe that it’s all in your perspective.



We’ve been in our new home for 2 and a half weeks.

We are learning to live in a smaller town again. And to live in town. Even though we lived in Pueblo West, where our home was located we felt very much like we were close to the country. I enjoyed being able to look out and see the mountains. Here I see a wonderful backyard (with grass!) but also other buildings close by. I miss open space a bit.
Some of the things our we’ve adjusted in just the short time we’ve been here…
I have to plan my grocery lists a little differently. There is a small local grocery store, but it’s a bit more expensive than some larger stores in bigger cities. We now have an “every day” grocery list and a “city” grocery list for when we make the hour trek to a larger city.
Speaking of grocery stores, Zeke has to learn it’s okay for a guy to follow us out with a cart of groceries. A young man was helping us to the car with our groceries this last week. Zeke saw him following us and said “Mom!” and pointed emphatically towards the man behind us as if to say “that guy is following us!” He wasn’t sure that it was okay. I told him, that’s the difference between a small town and a big one. They help you out with groceries. 🙂
We have to mow grass. For the last 5 years we didn’t have grass at all. Our lawn care consisted of pulling weeds and spraying if they got too big. Here we need to mow once a week. It didn’t occur to me until we got here that Zeke and Titus have never seen a push mower up close. They’re not thrilled. Zeke sits on the porch and plugs his ears the whole time.
Literally everyone we have met in the last two weeks is “new” to us. We trying to remember names and stories. It’s been interesting to connect dots and try to learn new people. It’s been a while since we’ve moved so maybe we’re a little rusty. It’s kind of like college at K-State all over again. Being willing to turn to the person next to you and shake hands and introduce yourself. I’ve been pleased to watch the boys open up and become more outgoing, and seem even more comfortable with it than I am.
Unpacking isn’t fun no matter where you are.

We are still unpacking boxes of clothes and bathroom stuff. The kitchen (above) is done as is the play room and other major rooms of the house. We’re still trying to figure out where everything goes and what is going to work best for our family. It’s been a challenge to find the best “system” and I’m sure I’ll be tweaking it for months yet. For my type A personality, it’s hard to be patient, especially after having a system that worked well for our family before.
We are adjusting to life here and liking it. We keep reminding ourselves it will take time, but we have been called here by God and know that this is where we’re supposed to be. We know that He is faithful and He will give us what we need to be here.


As we get closer and closer to the move I find myself more and more anxious about it. And I’m disappointed in myself.
I used to embrace change and the next adventure. I used to be up for just about anything. If you put it out there as a challenge I’d do it, heck sometimes if you told me not to…I’d do it anyway just for the experience.
But for some reason, there are times when I catch myself mourning the move more than I thought I would. And I can’t pin point why. We’re moving for a pastorate position that will suit Kerry and our family well. We are moving closer to family but not so far away from here that we can’t come visit. It’s a brand new town, with new people and new things to explore and to a church that cares for us even though we haven’t been there more than twice.
When we decided to travel in 2006, we jumped in with both feet. I embraced it, I was stoked. I loved being able to say to my recruiters…these are my top 5 states, find me a job and we’ll go. It was exhilarating to pull in to a new city, to meet the locals and check out the new place.
So why now, does it feel so scary? I could name a number of things that play in to it all, but I don’t know how to “fix” them and I’m a fixer by nature.
I will be transitioning to a full time stay at home mom (I’ll still be teaching online) after working full time for the last 10 years of our marriage (and since I was 16). Where will I make connections? How will I make friends when I’m not working outside the home? This is a brand new role for me, one I’ve wanted for so long, but I’m afraid I will be lonely.
We are moving to a new church. Our church here in Pueblo has been such a blessing to us I can’t even put it into words. We have grown so much and been fed meat every Sunday. Our church has become our family, they have embraced us, loved us, cried and laughed with us. I can’t even begin to describe how important our church has been to us in the 5 years we’ve lived here. It feels like we’re leaving very close family. Like a part of us will always be here with them.
We have had such a difficult year that sometimes it feels like nothing will go right. It is hard for me not to live holding my breath, waiting for the other shoe to fall. In fact, last week while I was packing I had a moment of panic when I thought “what if they call and say they don’t want us?” I seriously thought about stopping. We have a moving day in 2 weeks, with no reason to think that the church will change it’s mind, but still…the panic hit.
There are so many unknowns in our life right now. I am a planner. God is not seeing it fit to let me in on any part of His plan other than what is in front of me today…and that is scary. He has surprised and redirected us, in more ways than one in the last week, which makes the ground seem even shakier. There are times when it’s hard not to be discouraged about what seems hopeless, worrisome or just plain fear invoking. I have shaken my head more than once recently when I reflect on where we find ourselves today.
There are loose ends. It’s hard to describe, but I’m not sure that we are ever going to feel “gone” from here.
And to be totally honest, moving is tedious and messy. It’s hard, it’s time consuming and it feels like it will never be done. I’m a check list person too, there is no check list for this. Some afternoons I walk around trying to decide what to do next because I don’t have a neat list. Phone calls have to be made to switch utilities, doctors, contacts etc. I have to try to figure out what we’re going to need in the next 2 weeks and what we can pack up. I know that we’re not going to need the pictures and decorations on the wall, but it doesn’t feel like home without them. I’m hesitant to take them down. I’m not ready for our home to feel that empty yet.
I am choosing though to embrace the change ahead, even though it feels prickly and uncomfortable. I have no doubt this is where God is leading us. So instead of fighting I will embrace it. I will pack my boxes and take one step at a time in the direction He is leading, even if I can’t see what lies ahead.

In between

I rarely like being in between (unless I’m in between my children).
We are moving in less than a month. I started packing about a month ago. I walk around and ask myself if we can live without *this* for the next 4 weeks. If I decide yes, then I throw it in a box. (Actually it’s much more detailed than that…future blog post). But in reality it feels like I spend some of my time wandering around contemplating what lies ahead for our family.
Daydreaming of how I’m going to decorate our new home, what it will be like to be a stay at home mom, and all of the unknowns. As I drift from room to room packing, I also reflect on what each room in our home has meant to us. I stand in our living room downstairs and remember the cursive letters that used to be the border on our walls as Gabe and Otto learned to write here, sitting at a card table. I remember the guests who have stayed under our roof and our first Christmas hosting all of Kerry’s family and we got the stomach flu…we were so thankful for the 3 bathrooms. And the bathroom in our bedroom is even more special. It is where our son Titus was born, my VBAC after 3 c-sections, my victory birth, my shock and awe…my last live birth almost 2 years ago.
Each room I pass through thinking about where the possessions will go in our new home and what has happened to our family in each room over the last 5 years. I am living in between the two. I vacillate between the future and the past, stopping momentarily in the present to pack a box.
Life in between.