Tuesday, March 25, 2014

time marches on

Y'all. It's been too long.

Moving was hard. Settling in was even harder. But I can honestly come to this space now, nearly four months later, and tell you that life is good. So, so good. We still miss our Ohio friends and family something fierce and those rolling hills will always hold a piece of our hearts, but Kansas is now home. And I LOVE that our family of friends is expanding and there is not much cooler than looking at a map and seeing all of the different dots that represent people and places that we love. I never in a million years dreamed that Wichita would be one of our dots, but God did and I fully believe that he has been preparing us for this time and place for years.

Our family just returned from a life changing experience, also known as Tulsa Workshop. Never in my entire life have I ever seen so many Christians gathered in one place. The singing.... there are not words to describe it, except to say that I felt a tiny thrill at the thought of what it will perhaps sound like when we all finally gather in heaven before the throne of God. It was amazing. And the speakers were inspiring, encouraging us to count the cost that is following Christ, but reminding us that there is no greater calling than to live our lives for him. But my favorite part? My most favorite part was walking amongst all of the booths representing different organizations from around the world that are committed to furthering the message and the love of Christ. Carpenter Place had a booth set up and Boss did a fabulous job of sharing his passion for what he does with others. There were also booths for disaster relief, and baby houses in Africa, and Adventures in Missions, and really, too many passions and callings were represented to name them all. There is nothing I love more than people who are following Christ, and within those bounds, following their own passions and dreams. It's beautiful to me, and it reaffirms that we are all here with different strengths and different callings, but for one purpose: to point to him in all we do. It was a great weekend and one that will be filling my soul in the weeks to come.

This coming Wednesday we will pack up our crew once more and head to Ohio for CCFSA's annual children's home conference. To say I am thrilled that Mid Western Children's Home is hosting the conference this year would be an understatement. I often want to pinch myself to make sure that this new life we are living is real. But it feels good and it feels right and I am excited to see what God has in store for our family in the months to come.

Did you know that our oldest son turned four last week? Oh yes, he did. Sometimes, when I am tired, I think about what life would be like if we had stopped having children after the girls. Can I admit this? There would be no more diapers and no more bottles. And no one would need help buckling their seat belt and we would all sleep blissfully through the night. Sicknesses would not hang around our home as long, with fewer people to pass the germs too, and sometimes Satan tries to convince my tired self that this big family idea is a crazy one. But then God gently reminds me that children were his idea in the first place, and if we had never had the boys then there would be less laughter in our home and far fewer kisses. I would not have a little gentleman who loves to open doors for 'his girls' and who dances with me in the kitchen when one of my favorite songs comes on. There would not be superheroes flying around my living room at any given hour of the day and I would never step on Lego's or Matchbox cars. Without my sons, life would be less loud and joyful and full, and I am forever thankful that four years ago God saw fit to make me a boy mama for the first time.

What else? Boss is working long hours, but when you are following your heart it never really feels much like work. The girls are happy. They are in ice skating and Kate is playing soccer for the YMCA (that's a cool story in and of itself that I will have to share sometime, reminding me once more that God is in the details). Luke has finally started crawling and it's pretty stinking adorable. Always needing to do things in his own way and in his own time, Luke has his own little way of getting around. He crawls with both of his hands and his left knee, but he drags his right leg along like a little gimp. He is the best and I often times find myself wanting to smooch him all over. I still dream of more babies filling our home, but only God knows how our baby story will wind up, and for the first time in a long time I can honestly say that I am content with letting him write our story however he sees fit. (As if he needed me to say that. Ha.)

So that's what we have been up to.... in a nutshell. Sometimes our days are full, sometimes they are slow. Sometimes we do school, sometimes we don't and opt for real life learning over the workbooks. Sometimes we are positive and hopeful, and sometimes we are weary and tired. But we are always trusting that God has a plan and that he is worthy to hold the pen in the writing of our family story. Thank you, as always, for sharing in our lives.

Friday, January 31, 2014

settling in

So. We moved.

We actually did it. Two months ago our family pulled away from our beloved Ohio hills and we now call the great plains of Kansas home. It has been an adventure, for sure. This jumping and trusting that God will catch you is not for the faint of heart. Tears have been shed, loneliness endured, and a general stretching has been felt by each person in our family. The first week we were here, I would rise early each morning with a pounding heart. The darkness would surround and I would wonder what in the world we had just done. What were we thinking to leave our family, our community, our safety net behind? But deep breaths and long talks with Boss helped to ease the pain and the fear deep within. And prayer. Prayer sustained me those dark mornings and I wondered once more where people who do not know God find comfort. Because amidst all of the change, my relationship with God and my family are my forever constants.

But other things (namely ice cream, ahem) helped, too. In a place totally new I can still hang a familiar picture on a wall and feel at home. I can walk into a church building, sit on pews and sing songs and read scripture that I know, and feel at home. I can still go to Target, order a tall Chai tea with soy, and browse the isles and feel at home. Because (in our family) home is more of a feeling within. Home is traditions, and comfort foods, and discussions with those that you love, more than it will ever be a particular place. This I am learning.

So that is what these past two months have been. A slowing down, an embracing of our more quiet days, a strengthening of our dependence on God and each other. And as we are slowly beginning to leave the moving fog behind, I can honestly see that though the process has been hard, it has also been good. And I am still confident that being right here in the center of the United States, has put our family directly in the center of God's will for our lives in this particular season.

You should know that Boss is perhaps the happiest I have ever seen him. He is more energized, more full of life, and more excited about how he now spends his days than ever before. It's amazing how dreams realized can inspire a person towards greatness! Sometimes we pinch ourselves to make sure we are not still dreaming, and then we smile because we remember that this new life is our real life. And we thank God for the blessings. The children have made some new friends and are hopeful for more to come. Each new week brings more smiles and fewer tears. Every Tuesday afternoon the three big kids lace up ice skates and head to the rink for lessons. We figured a bold new move required being bold and trying our hand at a brand new skill! I am so proud of how my children, despite their sadness at saying goodbye to the old, are embracing the new and are discovering more of who God has created them to be in the process.

I count my children as one of my greatest blessings in this life and I am most thankful for the closeness and the amount of time we have spent together as of late. Our lives were good in Ohio, but they were busy. And sometimes, amidst the crazy busy of all things good, it is so easy to lose sight of what matters most. But our new, quiet days are bringing us back to the very best, and that is time spent together. I am sure as the months pass and our lives and connections here begin to expand, the busy will creep back in, but for now I am thanking God for this current quiet season we are in.

As for me? I am enjoying lazy mornings with a warm blanket curled around and a big mug of coffee in hand. Having no place to go most days has done wonders for the stress the last decade of being a grown up had brought into my life, and I am enjoying my mornings with my children like never before. I am loving taking the time to stare at my tiny baby who is growing bigger. We practice standing, and crawling, and we laugh and clap hands. Clapping is a new favorite. My little guy has finally gotten his first tooth, and I am trying to relish it all.... the daily small things that so often go unnoticed in the busyness of a full life. We still do school around the table each day, and there is more time for explaining long division and reading aloud. I must confess that I have felt burn out on the teaching front, but as of this last week, we seem to have found our groove once more.

The move has been hard, but it has also been good. A clean slate, if you will. A chance to slow down, regroup, and press on towards those things that are most important. I just wanted to let you all know that we are still here and all is well. We are settling in to this new life we are living and we thank God daily for directing our steps.