Saturday, October 30, 2010

It has begun....

Just wanted to offer you a little peak at our soon-to-be homestead.  We are so excited to FINALLY be getting started.  It feels like it has been an eternal process, but when I finally had the blueprints in hand yesterday, I jumped for joy!  It has been SO SO neat and fun to work with a precious friend (who was also a K-Life kid when we were on staff) who is now an architect and drew all our plans from scratch.  To see our dreams on paper yesterday was truly such a special experience!  We are hoping to close on the land this week (there have been SO many crazy roadblocks through this experience I cannot even tell you!) and we are meeting to get bids tomorrow.  So this may be starting super soon!  We did find out Bobby has to start CLEET training MONDAY rather than March as we had planned so that is throwing a few kinks in everything.  He will be gone 16 weeks and home on the weekends so it is going to make the start of the building process a bit tricky with our contractor 2.5 hours away!!!  But he has a few ideas up his sleeve so I know he will take care of it!  
Now for a few pictures...



The tree tunnel right before turning into our drive...

Our gate...

Pulling into the land...(do you see the trees in the back?  Our house will go right in front of those)

Abby Kate wanted to show you the trees up close, with her too of course!

Where our house will sit.

Daddy "trying" to drive.  The kids LOVE being out on the land because it is the only time they get to ride in the car without car seats. 

Behind our home, and road leading to back pasture.

Our backyard...the pond is HUGE.  It wraps around the trees on the left.

One of our inspiration exteriors.

Using these materials.  White siding, black wood shutters and exterior lanterns

LOVE the idea of galvanized buckets for kids bath sinks

Another desire.  LOVE the industrial sink for kids bath!

THE inspiration.  We will do this roof and ours has a deep porch, 4 dormers, ceiling fans on the porch and the white and black color scheme.

So that is a little bit of the inspiration.  Hope to have a very farmhouse, cottage feel.  My favorite features include a huge kitchen with a keeping room off the kitchen that will serve as both the nook and formal dining.  We hope to find a great, long farm table with reclaimed barwood and there is also a fireplace in that area.  I SO hope that is a feature that doesn't get cut when we get our bids back!  I have ALWAYS wanted a fireplace roaring next to the dinner table.  And there is a screened porch off our master bedroom, another feature I LOVE!  Liz, our architect, had to work super hard to get this to work, flipping the master bed and bath and restructuring the roof line so that we would have it directly off the master bedroom.  We went to Branson a few weekends ago and the condo we stayed in had a screened in porch and literally, my kiddos spent every second out there!  Bo would be outside every minute if I would let him so it will be SO SO nice once he drops his morning nap to trap him in our bedroom and let him play outside to his hearts content without any danger while I grab a quick shower.  Isn't that the beauty of a home?  Making it a place of safety, comfort, joy and fun?  A place God can use for HIS glory and to build character in His children?  I just cannot wait to use this house, not only for our family but open it for others.  I think we takes our homes for granted so often.  I have LOVED being with my parents in their home.  It has been comfortable, fun, easy and relaxing.  My Mom is very gifted at making everyone feel waited on in her home.  But I so miss having my own nest.  I had said in a previous post that it would be hard for me and it has.  But that said, I am SO SO thankful we have had this season.  So thankful God slowed down the building process, knowing my sweet husband was going to be away for 4 months and that I would have been in the middle of the country with 2 kiddos alone.  And a cops wife.  So now we get to be here with Mom and Dad to love on us and help ease the load while Bobby is gone.  And prayerfully, this house will be finished soon after Bobby finishes CLEET.  Just a GREAT reminder of God's faithfulness and that His timing is ALWAYS perfect!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sharpening...

I have just come to terms with the fact this blog is going to be piece-y at best. It is a great place to have an outlet and I love randomly having the time and a lesson to share here. Needless to say, these past months have packed more lessons for me than several years combined and so many of them have had time to permeate my heart and mind.
So to update you all a little....
The last post left you with us waiting on direction for our family, specifically Bobby a job.  Fast forward to Bobby applying for a patrolman position here in my small hometown, agility testing (and scoring super high), interviewing and being offered the position.  In that 48 hours, Bobby prayed as did Gideon in the Old Testament, laying out a fleece, asking if this wasn't where God had us, for Him to PLEASE not let him get the job.  We literally had more peace in that small window of time, knowing God had a perfect plan and all we had to do was wait (which we had gotten pretty good at :)).  After he was offered the job, we prayed HARD overnight, making sure this was God's plan.  We both felt it was and have been sweetly assured since.  In all 8 years of marriage, I have never seen my sweet husband so happy.  He comes home just grinning, relaxed and loving.  He is energized (even though he works 12 hour shifts) by what he is doing.  I was worried in the beginning about him growing hard and cynical but I had a sweet friend (and fellow cop wife) share that it had done just the opposite in her husband.  That he came home more tender, loving and gentle with their family.  Just thankful.  And it has done the same in Bobby.  He hugs us tighter, loves on us and shares his day with us.  My cup literally is overflowing.  And I am humbled, in awe and just breathless at my God Whose plans are ALWAYS worth the wait.  Always....
We are building a home as well.  It has been SO fun to do this beside Bobby.  I know this is generally a stressful thing but I have really leaned on Bobby's experience/expertise in construction and we have dreamed and talked but both have a similar heart to make wise choices within our means.  We want to be great stewards of what God has given us and want to have WIDE margin for our family.  Meaning we do not want to bump right up to what we make with what we spend.  We lived 5 years with narrow margin (no debt but NARROW) and do not want to go back.  I have had to daily pray for perspective and wisdom, not wanting my wants to get in the way of HIS wants for our family and others we could help with the freedom to give.  My Dad is in the process of purchasing 140 acres of investment property which he is letting us build on which excites Bobby and I beyond what I can share.  It truly has been a dream of ours since the beginning to have wide open spaces to raise our family.  For our kids (and dogs) to have a place to run wild, learn the importance of work ethic that being raised on a farm can bring, having the opportunity to have fresh, organic produce at a fraction of the cost grown in our backyard!  We are just so stinking excited I cannot even tell you.  Dad and Bobby also plan on running cattle, which will keep us busy (and fed :)).  So many of my friends have laughed saying, "NEVER in a million years did I think you would end up back here, married to a cop, living on a farm."  And they are so right!  But I am so, so happy.  Content.  Joyful.
However, parenting has been the biggest arena for lessons learned lately.  I love how God uses each stage to challenge, kick me out of complacency.  Marriage was hard.  Learning to compromise daily, communicate in a way that the other sex could understand/relate to, lay down my selfishness.  All HARD lessons.  And then I just laughed after I became a parent at the things I had thought I learned.  My selfishness was challenged in a whole new way.  Having this new tiny person so completely dependent.  Needy.  I truly believe one reason God created parenthood was to reveal our sin.  To show us in a way that we are urgent to correct it so that it is never replicated in our children.  The area I have struggled with for a while now is my lack of self-control/discipline.  I often wondered why God did not give me a compliant, eager to please first child.  Abby Kate needs boundaries.  She THRIVES with them.  She has a Daddy that is EXCELLENT at it.  Me, not so much.  I literally find myself daily looking around for someone to ask "is this a big deal?" "how do I punish this?"  And I hate it.  One encounter this week left me breathless and completely challenged.  I took AK to the library for some Momma/AK time.  We both ADORE books and love to come home with new treasures to explore.  I was attempting to get a library card in my "new/old" hometown and AK was into EVERYTHING.  I asked her to come to me and she said "NO!"  Now, I knew that this was blatant disobedience and it needed to be addressed and punished immediately.  However, in order to save face, I finished what I was doing, checked out the books and took her to the car.  She WANTED ME to punish her.  She said, "You do it, PLEASE!  Not Daddy."  She KNOWS I am a pushover.  And I asked her if she would have acted that way if Daddy had been there and she said, "No way."  I asked why and she said, "He would have immediately punished me."  And in that moment God showed me a glimpse of our future.  I could see the tumultuous teenage years ahead and if as a 4.5 year old she does not show respect for my role as her mother, then the relationship I crave for our future would be impossible.  So I have been DAILY praying for wisdom, grace and courage.  Praying fervently that God would redeem any mistakes I make in that day.  And the area of sin that I had been too lazy to fight, the gloves are on.  It will not, WILL NOT, win.  I am praying for the power of the Holy Spirit to overwhelm and redeem.  And through this, I imagine God just grinning.  All His perfect, beautiful intentions when making Abby Kate are challenging the areas of sin stealing joy from her mother...His daughter...Me.


What an incredible Artist, Creator, Friend.  "As iron sharpens iron, so does one man to another..."  Proverbs 27:17

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Redemption

I have no idea how 4 months have gone by without any updates to this blog.  I have had a post permeating in my mind for days, and sitting in church this morning I knew I had to sit down and write today.  Not only to share our lives with you, but also for my own processing.
We have had a rough past few months.  Bobby lost his job due to bad economy in May.  Our hearts were broken for our dear friends that B worked for/with and also sent us to our knees seeking direction.  The first month and a half was ripe with hope.  Tons of job leads poured in, daily even.  We pursued each that seemed to be a possible fit for Bobby but not finding one that led anywhere.  One of Bobby's subcontractors offered him a job, knowing it would be temporary, but also giving us some income, which was such a blessing.  We ended up putting a for sale by owner sign in our yard, thinking it would take forever to sell, and ended up selling it in three days.  Such a God thing.  But it also sent me into a panic.  I have been packing and purging and organizing almost daily.  We close on July 21st but will try to be moved out by a week from today.
Now to the personal.
I will tell you, this has been literally the hardest season I have ever walked through.  I was trying to pin point this weekend why that was....and I realized several things.
I am such a nester.  I have been even since college, when that is not as important to some, always wanting a "home" ...one that smelled great, was uncluttered, had great food ready and soft music playing.  It is a huge part of who I am, part of my personality.  Now I am also in a season where home is where I work as well.  I spend the vast majority of my time at home, and not having a place to nest is really, really hard on my heart.
I also have felt so far from God.  Throughout other dark, hard seasons in my life, I have always felt God so much nearer.  His peace and joy always flooded my heart and mind and I KNEW it was supernatural for me to feel those things in times such as those.  But this time has been so different.  I feel so disconnected.  I feel nothing.  But after some intense processing, I know God hasn't moved.  He doesn't change.  We do.  We move.  We pull away.  And I have been suffering from intense Elijah syndrome.  For those who don't know that story, Elijah was a prophet in the Old Testament.  He literally had the blessing to see some of the most intense miracles of all times.  And just following one of those, he fled, fearing his life because Jezebel, the King's evil wife pursued him and wanted him dead.  And after he finally stopped running, God asked him what he was doing there.  And Elijah replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too."  This has always seemed so comical to me.  Such victim mentality.  Here was a prophet, who had been used mightily of God and had a front row seat to see His power and might displayed, and yet he was fearing a mere human.  Furthermore here he was allowing his pain, fear and discouragement isolate him and make him feel like he was the only one feeling these things.  The only one left.  Doesn't that happen so easily?  We get knee deep in the muck of life and the second we take our eyes off the King of Kings and His power, we begin thinking we have it so rough.  That we are the only ones with it rough.  That there is no hope.  That is where I have rested these past few weeks.
And even more sadly to me, I have realized how much trust I have placed in the trappings of this world.  My home.   My stuff.  My comforts.  Bobby's salary.  Identity through a job. "When moths and rust and thieves and such will soon enough destroy."  And I know, I mean I KNOW, these things are of NO significance.  And I am so so sad that I was holding on so tightly that God had to gently pry them loose. What a fool I am.
But I am resolved.  I have absolutely no doubt that there is purpose in this.  Even if it was the realization of the above things in my heart and life.  They matter so much more than my comfort.
And finally, I think the ultimate purpose in this is a redemption story.  I truly believe there is nothing, I mean nothing, that encourages fragile humans more than stories of redemption.  Real, messy, imperfect stories of real, messy, imperfect people being redeemed.  Beauty from ashes.  And believe me, we have a pretty messy story, all being woven into beauty as we speak.  We have had a hard marriage, one in which often left us both gripping white knuckled as our relationship seemed to spin out of control.  We have tasted the fear, despair and heartache of infertility.  We have made incredible mistakes as parents.  Yet, in all of it, we see God redeeming the broken places.  And I believe with all my heart this season is just a continuation of that story.  And perhaps, preparing our path for this next chapter.  I simply cannot wait to see what He has in store.  He promises to do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine.  He promises plans to prosper and not to harm, plans for a hope and a future.  He is so so good.  And as I have said before, never, ever, ever wastes pain.  Gosh, I am so thankful for that.  So, so thankful.  So in the meantime, we are holding tight to His promises, waiting...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Quick Update

Thanks for the advice and for emailing me!  SOOOO helpful.  Just a quick update on it (if you care) and HUGE praise!  I lead a Bible study on Thursday mornings at our church and Bo ate early this morning so he would need to eat again during the study.  I threw in 3 oz bottle thinking if, and I mean IF, they could get him to take the bottle, it could hold him off until I was finished.  Well, they called me and said he had taken all of the bottle and was still hungry!  I was literally in shock.  AND, he slept wonderfully last night.  God is so good!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Advice...

I just posted this on the kiddos blog but I know I have different people that read each blog so I want the largest reading population possible so I can get the most advice possible!

I would love, love, LOVE any and all advice pertaining to the following...
So I leave in 1 month for 4 days with my precious best college girlfriends.  I literally am beside myself with excitement.  However I have a few items that MUST be taken care of before I can fly away completely without care.  And thus the needed advice.
1.  How do you get a 7 month old to take a bottle?  He literally just plays with it.  He chews and maybe sucks once or twice.  I usually can get him to take 1/2 an ounce.  BIG, big deal.  I need him to be able to eat while I am gone.
2.  How do you get the forementioned 7 month old to sleep through the night?  I am pumping enough milk to have a night feed but would SO love it to be eliminated before I go.  I know he does not need the calories.  He will not take a paci so there is not a little way I can soothe him.  He has had 6 ear infections since he was 3 months old so I have been told by my pedi not to let him cry it out.  I put him down awake for naps and most bedtimes.  We have a consistent bedtime rountine.  He knows how to put himself to sleep.  He takes 2, 1.5-2 hour naps.  He goes down about 6:30-7 pm and usually wakes anywhere from 10:30-12.  If he wakes on the early end, he usually wakes again around 4-5am.  The first waking is usually a 5 alarm cry.  The second I can usually leave him.  I have no idea how to help him nor do I know what is waking him.  Would love any help!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Big lessons, I mean big.

This post has been resonating in my heart for days.  Weeks really.  And as in all things that need to be done, I have been attacked on all fronts preventing it.  My kids are finally healing.  Both are in their rooms, one napping, the other playing during quiet time, so I am left with a little quiet time of my own.  I literally have no clue where to even start.   I have so many thoughts and they are all wanting to tumble out.  I have already forgotten to capitalize and punctuate the few sentences I have typed because the words are so desperate to be transcribed onto this page.

Oh. My. Word.  God is so big.  I mean really.  Here I am, 31 (about to be 32), having been a Christian for 20ish years, stay at home Mom (translated: daily carrying out mundane tasks and very little adult interaction), not slept uninterrupted in over 6 months, had very little quiet time or time in the Word in over 6 months and yet God is still teaching me new things.  Amazing things.  Transformational things.  Things that are still nagging at me.  Begging for a place in my life.  Begging for change to result.

And it all has come through intense suffering.  Not my own.  But others.  Some I am close to and love dearly, others I have never met but still love and deeply care for.  Two sweet Mommas that are my age battling with aggressive cancer, a young pastor I have never met but shepherds several friends battling with Stage 3 brain cancer, the Haitians, another dear friend adopting three siblings to add to their already darling family of 5 trudging through bureaucracy of another country separating her from her other kids for months and months all in attempts to bring these precious three children to their new home, 2 sweet friends dealing with the anniversary of their loved ones deaths...so much pain, weariness.  Yet in the midst of it all, I continue to hear intense, incredible hope.  And as a survivor of deep, deep dark valleys of the soul, my heart is incredible touched, sharing the one of the few things that all humans have in common...suffering.  And I want to battle it out for them, with them.  I want to go to the garden and pray without ceasing for healing, for peace, for progress, for hope, for joy.  I DO NOT want to go back to my place of complacency.  Ignoring anything that does not directly affect me.  I want to be an intercessor.  One that is lent to understanding and compassion and wisdom and stillness.

But even above that, I feel God calling me out of comfort.  As I have hurt for the Haitians, the forgotten orphans around the world, the hungry, deserted, weary and broken, I have felt God asking me an important, and to be perfectly honest, uncomfortable question of "How are you going to respond?  What are you going to do about it?"  I read the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan last semester with our community group and was intensely challenged with several of these questions.  Questions I have let resonate but have not picked up and looked at too closely for fear of what it might mean for my comfortable existence.  Questions like 
What does it mean to be the hands and feet of Christ?
With so much need, why do I have so much excess?
Am I willing to be uncomfortable so others may have food, shelter, water?
Am I willing for my traditions to be changed (ie: Christmas and the excess of gifts we receive) in order that others might receive instead?
Am I willing to live with significantly less?
And yes, the answers to those questions continue to haunt me.  I want to hold on to comfort with a clenched fist.  I want to have new clothes, and eat out whenever I want, and for my kids to have new clothes and be enrolled in activities that cost money and to have 2 cars and a nice home and to have a great savings account, 401K and to vacation twice a year.  I want.  Yet the money in my wallet (which is super rare because I rarely have spending money) is being waged over in my heart.  All my Christmas money is sitting there, screaming to be spent on new clothes (which I so want after being pregnant) and fun but yet so many needs are continuing to spring up and God continues to ask, "Are you going to be obedient and share what you have been given or keep it for yourself?"  My own heart and the world would argue that money is mine.  Period.  It was given as a gift.  Not to pay bills, not to be given away but to be spent on ME.  I mean, in the deep dark depths of my heart, I am screaming
Come on God!  I am in the throes of the most unselfish phase of my entire life!  I am meeting the needs of others all stinking day.  I am constantly wiping noses and filling up sippy cups and fixing and cleaning up meals and changing diapers and wiping bottoms and making beds and picking up clutter and laundry laundry laundry.  I WANT TO BE TAKEN CARE OF FOR A CHANGE!  
Yet though I sense God gently listening to my heart, I also feel Him shaking His holy head, just asking me to trust.  To trust that though these temporary things seem attractive, balm to a weary soul even....He has something better.
I still have so much to say.  But in an effort to not sound schizophrenic, I will end here.  And prayerfully have a pocket of time in the near future to share more.  But in the meantime, please pray for me.  I want to do what He asks.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

A New Year...

I have been meaning to post for so long!  I feel like I have been on a unintentional blog break.  So I am trying to get back in the game.  I have so loved reading others New Years posts and am going to both copy and throw out a few of my own thoughts.  So first for the copying, I have loved reading recaps of everyone's year.  God says, "Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them."  Deut. 4:9  This verse consistenly challenges me and in this instance, it continues to do so.  I want to remember what God has done daily in my life.  Remember His goodness.  And oh what a year!


We were able and blessed to travel, seeing Disney World through our 3 year olds eyes, a fun birthday trip to Las Vegas, have a relaxing 4th of July vacation (and pre-baby last hurrah!) at the Lake and ended the year in Dallas for the Cotton Bowl.  Each trip was such a blessing and was refreshing and renewing.


In February, Bobby turned 30th and I had a ball trying to think of a way to show him how special he is is in a way that would honor HIM.  I ended up compling letters from everyone he loved in a hardback book.  It truly was so special to him and after reading all those letters, I was reminded of how truly blessed I am to call him mine!


Of course, our biggest blessing of the year arrived July 28th in a 8 lb 10 oz package.  Bo has blessed us more than I can put in words.  Having pleaded with God for him and now have him in our lives each day, it is a consistent reminder of how great is His faithfulness!


We celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary in August.  Many say the 7th year is the hardest.  We attending a marriage conference in November which deeply encouraged and inspired us.  We learned new things and were reminded of many things we do not put into daily practice.  We walked away changed.


We began hosting a community group in our home in September.  We adore our leaders and have fallen in love with each couple that God has brought to us.  It was such a great reminder to Bobby and I that God has made us to share our lives with others.  


We fell more in love with our church this year (if that is possible) and learned so much through so many precious, God-inspired messages.  One thing I always pray for my pastors is that God would remove them and use their mouth, that I would hear Him alone.  This year, I feel so confident this happened.  One series in particular, Jesus Hates Religion, rocked our worlds.  It knocked us out of our legalism and reminded us of the true heart of Jesus.  Seriously, ROCKED our worlds.


So those were the high points.  But I love that God is in the mundane days too.  We have been so blessed.  We delight in our children, adore one another and pray daily that we can know God as He knows Himself to be....


As for my heart and prayers for 2010...
*That I would be fully present with my children.  I do not want scattered thoughts or silly tasks to call me away.  I want to be fully, completely with them as we play, learn and grow together.
*That I would become refocused and self controlled.  I know this is the work of the Holy Spirit and I pray that I would bear this fruit.  I have been so undisciplined, forgetful, scattered and unorganized since having babies.  I lose 20 things a day and often forget important things.  I so desire for my heart and mind to be clearly focused and intentional.  


I pray for us all that God would grow us, reveal Himself and show Himself strong in 2010!