Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cousins

It's not super warm out today (maybe 40?) and yet I have 4 boys playing outside...and they've been out for almost 4 hours! Sam and Gabe are here (Trev and Max are at Mimi's house) and Camden and Josiah are just having a blast. Add 1 neighbor boy and you've got a backyard full of fun! I made the boys wear hoodies and coats....the coats were abandoned almost immediately. The hoodies have been taken off too...

Hmm...fresh air, a warm bath and homemade pizza...sounds like some little boys should sleep well tonight!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Waiting

Do you like to wait? Does anyone? I don't know about you, but I'm am not good at waiting. When I was a kid I snooped for the Christmas presents. As a teenager (ok, so now too) I liked to drive fast and get where I'm going. I just don't like to wait.

Ah, but you know the phrase....good things come to those who wait. So I often spend my days wondering what good things are coming our way, because I am tired of waiting.

I am tired of waiting for a new ministry.

I am tired of waiting for our house to sell.

I am tired of waiting to decide what we're going to do about school next year.

I am tired of waiting on life in general.

My fear is that with all this waiting, part of me is missing life as it comes. I need to just live here and now, and not in some future part of my imagination. Oh, I have lots of things that I want for the future...but where I am right now is where I need to be.

God is never late. And I don't think I'm ready early, either. I just need to realize that His plan, in His time, is what is right.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

3G

My boys love to pretend that they are spies and detectives. Camden reads books about it, they all have code names, and they play with spy gear all the time.

Today, Camden taped this sign to our front door.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

March Madness

This morning I told Camden that he should wear a little green, since it's St. Patrick's Day. He looked at me with that, "Mom, you're so out of it" look and said, "Uh, it's the first day of March Madness, actually, so I should be wearing a basketball jersey or hat or something."

I love the fact that he gets into the Big Dance just like Joel and I do!

Right now Josiah is sounding out words on a phonics paper, Camden is working on his Language Arts worksheet and Trevor is playing Irish Angry Birds on my phone. The sun is shining, the weather is warming up and we're enjoying the day.

Oh yeah...the appraiser is coming tomorrow to estimate the value of our house...so I guess I should tidy up a bit and be ready for his visit!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Trev's Snowman Cookie


A few weeks ago, Trevor was asked to be the Cubbie of the week. He also got to bring a snack to share.

Joel forgot to tell me :).

So, last week we talked to his teacher and decided to try this again. At lunchtime today I remembered (I really should have written it down!!).

I pulled out a few cookie kits my Dad sent the boys and let Trevor pick one, whipped up some sugar cookie dough and we now have a treat ready for tonight.

A side note

I just want to mention something that has been going through my mind.

My last few post have outlined (briefly, long as the posts maybe have been)a trial that we have gone through.

But I know it's NOTHING in comparison to some things that friends and others have gone through.

We are healthy.
We are together.
We are safe.
We know Christ.
We have Hope.

I don't mean to diminish or belittle other people who have gone through far greater trials than ours.

I'm simply trying to not waste this trial...and really trying to remember some things to reflect on later.

The end of winter

"I am overwhelmed at the goodness of my God, and the graciousness of His people. Life may look differently today than it has for the past several years, but my God is in control."

This quote was my Facebook status on January 17th. The first few days with Joel home were weird. We had no solid leads for paying work, although he had been looking for a few weeks. We had no solid lead on churches that may want us, either.

Our church was providing Joel's paycheck through the end of January, so we could have time to look for work. Joel needed to clean out his office by the 31st, so he made several trips up to finish the job.

February came and still no work. No leads, no interest. Nothing. What is God doing? We got our taxes ready to file and took a hard look at our budget. Between the gifts from our now "former" church and our tax return, we could see that God was taking care of us financially. We were going to be okay.

We started attending another church in January and were really trying to get the kids acclimated. It took a solid month before there weren't tears every time we walked in the building. Honestly, it's nearing the end of March and sometimes there are still tears.


On January 29th, we listed our home for sale. We may not be living in "Our little blue heaven" for much longer.

At the end of February, Joel found work! I have never been so happy to see my husband leave at the beginning of the day. We are so thankful for God's provision through this job. While it's not ministry related and could be temporary, we know God provided the work.

Now we find ourselves a the end of Winter with Spring poking it's head around the corner. We're not sure what God has for our family in the future. Right now we are praying and just looking for direction.

I don't know about you, but I'm ready for Spring and the sunshine it brings.

Mid Winter

Mid-winter warning...another LONG post...

When I returned home, we put the boys to bed and sat down to figure out just what we were going to do. We had less than a month before we had to say goodbye to people that we dearly loved. We had little direction, few answers and hearts that just ached with what was to come.

We gritted our teeth and made it through Christmas. Our family sang together for the Christmas Eve service and I remember wanting to just sob! Nobody knew yet, so I had to hold it together and act as though life was just as it always had been. I didn't WANT to feel like this at Christmas. Christmas isn't about ME, but I had such a hard time focusing on the true meaning of Christmas...my mind wandered...my heart ached...and I was definitely sleep deprived!

I tried to talk Joel out of our traditional red-eye night on New Year's Eve (an all-nighter)but was unsuccessful. I threw myself into this activity, knowing that it was our last. I wanted the food to be perfect. I wanted the teens to have the best time possible. And yet, while games were played in the dark (it's tradition) I silently mourned each one as they ran past me. They had no idea that a little more than a week later an announcement would be made and that we'd slip out of their everyday lives. We loved these kids. We poured our hearts and lives into them and truly loved them the best we knew how. And this was it...the last activity after 7 1/2 years of camp, retreats, Where's Waldo and Red-eye nights. There would be no more roadtrips, no more hang outs, no more SNACS. I loved taking them to camp and hearing how God was changing them. I loved putting my arm around a girl and asking how her relationship was with her mom. I loved reminding them that God makes no mistakes.

God makes no mistakes.

I knew it was true, but found it hard to believe when it came right down to it. How is this best? How is this pain not wasted? How do I move my boys on from the only church they've ever known? THIS is BEST??

On January 9, a meeting was held after the morning service. The boys were at my in-laws house for the weekend (on purpose) so that we could tell them ourselves the next day and they didn't hear it at church. Pastor announced some changes that were taking place as far as the budget was concerned.

It was all I could do to not burst into tears too early. I barely made it.

He announced that the next Sunday would be Joel's last as youth pastor and that there would be a fellowship after the evening service to say goodbye. Goodbye. Really? Do I have to?

After the service, many came to us and gave us a hug, shared tears and expressed their disbelief. I ran out of things to say, but just found myself repeating that "God is good, all the time." Even as I said it, I struggled with not understanding how this is good, even though I know the statement is really true.

The next week is really a blur for me. On Monday evening we told our boys. First we told Camden, then Josiah and Trevor. We discovered that Trevor is a social crier (really!). I laid on my bed with the three while Joel ran out to grab pizza. I really didn't feel like cooking and we thought pizza might cheer them a bit. While he was gone, my boys and I cried together. I still can't get that sound out of my head.

Saturday we had lunch with our three seniors. It was bittersweet. These three had been with us since Jr. High!! I am so thankful that we had that few hours together, one last time.

On Sunday I felt a little numb. I had cried so much and tried to brace myself, but it was so hard. The farewell fellowship was very nice, although I don't really relish being the center of attention like that. The church family gave us some really nice gifts (my favorite is the Keurig, of course) and a few men shared some thoughts.

The gracious people that we had spent 7 1/2 years with took up a love offering for us. We were blown away by the generosity of God's people. Between the love offering and other personal gifts, God was showing us that HE would provide, that HE was still in control and that we needn't worry.

The ride home that night is a blur. The only thing I really remember is crying a lot, and hearing my oldest son wail in mourning.

I slept that night for the first time in weeks.

Early Winter

Winter Warning...this post may be long.....

I wasn't ready for Winter. Oh, I was ready for that first snow fall. I love the first one each year! I wasn't ready, however, for what winter would bring us.

In late December I drove to Cleveland to visit my Dad. He was there on business, so the boys and I headed down there after church on a Sunday afternoon. It was very impromptu, but I was glad to get to see Dad, and for my boys to see him. We spent the night at my brother's home and planned to stay until sometime on Tuesday.

On Monday afternoon I had the chance to see my Grandpa and his wife, Della. They came over to my brother's house and we sat at the dining room table and chatted for a few hours. My phone rang and I knew by the ring that it was Joel, so I jumped up to get it. My heart sank when he told me that Pastor and the Deacons had met the night before and had decided that they could no longer afford to keep Joel on staff, and that we would be done at our church in January.

I waited for Grandpa to leave (relishing the time with him, but wanting to escape) and then told my brother that I needed to go home. So I grabbed our things and headed home (it's only 3 hours). I was sooo thankful for sunglasses, because my oldest could see me in the rear-view mirror and I was trying to hide the tears from him.

What were we going to do? How were we going to find work in Michigan right now? What about our precious teens that we love SO MUCH? How were we going to tell our children? Where would we go to church? And Christmas?? Why did this have to happen right now, right before Christmas?

The next few weeks were ones of little sleep, lots of prayer and many, many tears.

Fall

This past fall held a major change for our family...we began homeschooling. Yikes! I am confident in my teaching abilities but teaching your own children at home is very different from a traditional classroom.

After much prayer and research, we decided to enroll our two oldest in the Michigan Virtual Charter Academy. I absolutely LOVE the curriculum! My boys are thriving educationally and I'm surviving this new way of life.

I'm not sure how long we'll homeschool...our main reason for doing so this year was financial. We weren't sure we could swing tuition for two. Camden attended Faith Christian School for K-5 and First grade...and he LOVED it there. However, tuition for both Camden and Josiah was really going to be a stretch and we just weren't sure about being able to do make that payment every month.

There are days that I love what we're doing, and days that make me remember why birds eat their young. I must admit that if we are able to enroll the boys in school next year (wherever we are...but that's another post!!) I would love to. I guess time will tell :).

Waiting on God

I was a little shocked to see how long it has been since my last post. I'm not even sure I have readers left anymore!!

The last few months have been really difficult ones, but we are learning a lot right now. In the next few posts I'll catch you up on what's been happening and what we're learning.

Stay tuned!